What if this year you could create something that is as nurturing as it is fulfilling?
It seems like only yesterday I was concocting the ultimate iced coffee, and now I’m sip’n on the comforts of a homemade pumpkin spiced late. Alas, with the winds of change also comes the opportunity to lay a new foundation. What if this year you could create something that is as nurturing as it is fulfilling? If I could give you one gift this fall (besides my delicious fall recipes) it would be a daily artistic practice.
I used to have a “forever goal”, a goal that I always had but I never seemed to be able to accomplish. I wanted to have a daily practice. I made it out to be this HUGE thing. It would have to be a long, hard and rigorous. I sweat so much in the planning of my daily practice I never actually practiced any thing.
Then two summers ago I read “Creating a Life Worth Living” by Carol Lloyd, and I was inspired to rethink my method.
Lloyd calls a daily practice, “the daily action” and she suggests it be ‘fifteen minutes of focused activity performed every day at the same time of the day” (p. 4). She explains that “[…] the daily process is by far the most crucial. For it is in the present moment that creative work happens, and without a rigorous relationship to today, the power of tomorrow is no more than a shadow puppet casting elaborate shadows over all our endeavors.” (P. 4)
I decided that every morning before I did anything else, I would sit outside and drink a cup of coffee, alone.
Living downtown in a busy city I often find it hard to connect with nature, which is a big source of inspiration for me. Drinking my coffee in the morning outside gives me the chance to sit with my thoughts, without any pressure, and let myself be inspired by the fresh air. These 15 minutes are not a meditation. Rather, I let my mind be open, granting myself “fifteen minutes of emptiness within the blur of living.” (Lloyd)
Rain or shine, or tour or on vacation I take my 15 minutes. Even in the winter you will find me, bundled in my double layered down jacket sitting on my back step, watching the snow fall.
I believe that this ritual has unlocked a secret weapon inside me. By taking 15 minutes to be alone with my creative self, before anything else (that’s right I don’t even peek at Facebook) I’m sending myself the message that my creativity comes first.
I’ve been committed to my daily ritual for over two years now. I started my daily ritual in March of 2015 and I have stuck to it ever since. This level of commitment is not because I’m some sort of super human with unyielding dedication. I committed to these mornings because they were short, easy, and enjoyable.
“Don’t say you’re going to stop biting your fingernails, say you’re going to stop biting one finger nail.” – Sonny Krasner
One of the reasons I didn’t follow through with my goal of having a daily practice before was because I didn’t think it was possible. I couldn’t commit because I believed that “to practice” meant to work in the studio for 4-6 hours minimum a day. Sometimes putting all these requirements on our creativity actually limits our playfulness.
“Imagination will come to you when it knows that door is open” (Lloyd, p.7)
I work a full-time job on top of running a theatre company and training 12-16 hours a week. Sometimes these sacred 15 minutes are my only moments where I can be free. Through this ritual I’m “silently teach (my) mind (my) creative life comes first” (Lloyd p.9)
Since starting this daily ritual I have gone on to create great things! For example, I have written and will soon be performing in my own solo show, titled Persephone Bound, that features aerial circus, text and live music. I did not consciously think about creating this show in my morning practice; however, I there were many moments of inspiration in my 15- minutes, and those inspirations have weaved their way into several aspects of my show.
The weight of winter is lifting.
I’m ready to let the sun melt the frost on my heart.
Are you?”- Persephone Bound
If your creative spirit is calling out for more. If you would like more structure, self-discipline, and would like to strengthen imagination I highly encourage you to create your own “daily practice”.
For more information on the “daily practice” read: “Creating a Life Worth Living” by Carol Lloyd.