Several of my friends are working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way online. One of the underlying themes in Cameron’s book is total emersion in art – all kinds of art. She also promotes what she calls “artist’s dates”. These are things you do to nurture the Creative Spirit. I worked through Cameron’s book more than 15 years ago and am still changed by several of her strategies and ideas. Allowing yourself to be open to inspiration and moved by the creative energies of others is indeed as basic and necessary to your own Creative Spirit as the act of creating. Since reading The Artist’s Way I have made it a point to seek art and opportunities to be in the midst of art and its creators. Sometimes it isn’t easy to make the effort to go out; it is often too easy to get caught up in the details and demands of regular life and to think of nurturing the soul as a “luxury”. Luxury activities usually get pushed to the bottom of the “to do” list. I’ve made a conscious decision to try and keep them at the top and even better, to make them a part of life and not something on a list of things I gotta do.
On the first Thursday of every month, our downtown shops and galleries stay open until 9:00 pm. This past Thursday I was really too tired to go to the “Art Walk” and could easily have just gone home to veg out alone in front of the TV. Fortunately my friend Sandi was already planning to take me so I had an extra boost to compliment my personal commitment to fostering the blessings of art in my life. She picked me up at work. I hopped into her car, tossed my shoes into the back seat and off we went.
Plates of hot brie, flaky cheese bread, gourmet dips and salsas made from ingredients grown by local organic farmers awaited us in the middle of one art gallery after another. The walls of each venue pulsated with creative energy from works made with metals, fibers, paints, and more. the streets were filled with student artists and their works, vendors of all kinds of wares, musicians, and even our friend Sherita was set up reading Tarot cards. Wine-tasting complimented hugs from old friends who in turn, introduced us to new friends.
When I lived in southern Kyushu in Japan, there was an outdoor public bathing place high in the mountains where my best friend, Kyoko and I loved to go with our children. The bathing pools were built into the side of the mountain so that as we sat in the steamy waters, we had a front row seat to God’s art show. At one end of the largest pool there was a waterfall. Oh how I loved to sit beneath it and feel the shower of the natural spring beat down on my head and blanket my whole being with cleansing renewal.
The first Thursday Art Walk was a comparable shower of the Creative Spirit – an energy that stimulates all the senses, beating down into the cerebral center and then penetrating into the soul.
We writers must court the arts in all aspects of our lives for this deliberate intention is what nurtures the soul and opens the gate to free the stores we were born to tell.