- Julia Cameron -
Having a hobby or a creative outlet is crucial to growing older happy and content. I believe that people with a hobby are happier, worry less, and are more content with their future than those who don't have a hobby. While spirituality is vitally important to healthy aging, we shouldn't underestimate the value of a creative outlet. It can be cooking, sewing, gardening, art, fitness, anything that brings us joy and keeps our minds engaged in a positive way. If you don't have a hobby now, find one.
A couple of years ago I found a book about unblocking your creativity. The name of the book was "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. Julia takes the reader through twelve weeks of recovery from a blocked or unrealized artist to a thriving creative soul. It may help you find your creative side. I thoroughly enjoyed this book the first time I read it and worked through the twelve weeks.
While I don't agree with every spiritual belief she presents, I do find value in reading her beliefs and comparing them to my own. The tasks at the end of each chapter (or week) are thought provoking and often challenging. It's a good book to reignite your creativity or help you find your creative self.
So, I just finished my second reading of the book and working through the twelve weeks for the second time. This time was even better, because it reinforced what I had learned about myself the first time I worked the book. One thing has stood out as very important to me - one thing that makes the whole process worth it - the morning pages.
The morning pages are three pages of free writing I do every single morning of every day. I get out of bed, grab my cup of coffee or hot tea, gather my notebook and pens, and then sit in silence for about thirty minutes and write. Just writing, writing about anything that comes into my mind. I even write about nothing if that's what I feel like writing about. It's extremely therapeutic.
I have learned through this writing process, that if you literally "brain dump" everything on your mind first thing in the morning, it clears your mind to accept what the day will bring. Before I started keeping morning pages, I would wake up with something on my mind and it would stay with me all day. Depending on what it was, it would also control my thoughts for the day. Now when I get it off my mind and onto paper first thing in the morning, it's done with, I am finished thinking about it. It's like sitting in a therapist's chair and pouring your heart out except it's a lot cheaper and no one knows what you are writing except you (and God).
There are four basic parts of the twelve week program:
1. Reading the chapters.
2. Writing three pages first thing every morning - The Morning Pages
3. Tasks - at the end of each week's chapter to be done throughout the week.
4. Artist's Dates - time set aside each week just for you to explore your world, your creativity, or what ever strikes your fancy. (Can be 15 minutes to as long as you need, but should be done alone.)
Within each chapter you will sometimes find extra work you can do. I call this 'extra credit'. It may be completing a sentence, making a list, or just thinking over a specific topic.
Once you have completed the twelves weeks, if you have put the work into it, you should feel more confident in your creativity, more peace in your daily living, and maybe some other benefit that only applies to you. The first time I worked the book, I was fired up and ready to do all sorts of things and I followed through on most them. I finished my granddaughter's Napsack for preschool, a quilt, three paintings, and several ink drawings. Then as I let my morning pages fall off, my creativity fell off, too.
This time, I want to continue to work the morning pages. I intend to make them a regular part of my morning routine. There is real value in writing your thoughts down each and every morning...even if you burn them afterwards.😊
Do you have a hobby? Are you retired and participate in your hobby regularly? Do you find it has a positive effect on your emotions and satisfaction with life? Have you read "The Artist's Way"? Did you work the program? Do you still do the morning pages? How did the program help you? If you haven't read the book, are you going to try? It doesn't help everyone or everything, but it helps a lot of people and I really like it. Give it try!