June 25, 2008

permission granted

painting_girl.jpg
A painting I did years ago, acrylic on canvas

How do we live a creative life and pursue our passions and dreams while still raising our kids, having full time jobs, caring for elderly parents, etc.? We speculate on how those people out there do it, those folks in the magazines who seem to be so shiny and happy. We assume that everyone else has somehow figured this one out and we are the only ones who are exhausted, depleted and undernourished by creative juice at the end of each day.

You are SO not alone people.

Here are some tips for creating more balance and creative nourishment for YOU:

#1. Permission
Give yourself permission to do your creative work. Yes, your work is important (even if you are not making money from it) No, it is not self-indulgent. No, it does not mean you are selfish or that you don't love your family.

For creative people (that means you) part of nourishing ourselves is making time for our art. It is our life blood. It is part of what makes us feel alive. Just like food, sleep and love, we need to feed our creative spirits to stay vibrant and happy.
Fact.

In the end we are better partners, better friends and better parents when we are nourishing ourselves on all these levels. When I don't have time to do my art, I am resentful, anxious and not very present. Ben gets a better mom when I take care of myself.

#2. Tiny slices
Stop waiting for some grand sprawl of time to do something creative. Use the little slices. Quiet those gremlins that tell you that you don't have the right supplies, you need a better space, you need to learn photoshop, you don't have the right camera, or you need to do laundry... and just make something. That is the best way to shut those gremlins up. They are no match for action.

My favorite way to write is in 15 minute "wild writing" bursts. I set a timer and write as fast as I can for 15 minutes. The only rule is to write quickly and never take the pen off the page. Everything I've ever written, good or bad, was done this way.

#3. Ask for help
Are you willing to ask for help? Seriously. Are you?

This is possibly the most difficult point for most of you, and the most necessary. We can't do it alone. And we shouldn't. (It's so much less fun.)

Allow others to help you. Receive the gifts that are offered. Create trades with friends and neighbors. Let go of trying to control everything and give others the opportunity to help you. Ask.

How would it make a difference in your life to have one day/evening a week dedicated to your creative work?

Don't ask if that would be possible. Ask yourself HOW it could be possible. (How puts you in a creative frame of mind and creative solutions will follow)

#4. Create time
Okay. Another thing. How many hours a night do you watch tv or movies? For most of us that's about two hours. How much time do you spend surfing the internet, reading blogs, checking email each day/night?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these choices, but we have to remember that they are precisely that- a choice. Get conscious about how you are actually spending your time. You might be surprised. You can even time yourself and log the hours for one week. Then decide what an even more alive choice might be.

#5. Polishing the silver can wait
Maybe while the little dude is napping you could let the house be exactly how it is and use that time for you. Maybe it's as simple as creating a collage from old magazines and a glue stick, doing a 15 minute wild writing exercise in your journal or pulling out the paintbrush and getting wild and free. The housework will be there when you're finished and you'll be all the richer in spirit at the end of that hour.

#6. Share your intention with your community
This might mean creating a pact with a fellow creative girlie, gathering a group that meets up regularly (in person or virtually) or even working with a coach to keep you on track. Declaring your intention has massive manifesting power and is inspiring to others! It also creates opportunities for loved ones to help you. (I am always shocked at how much others want to help me) Share with a partner or trusted friend that your spirit is thirsting for this change and inspire them to make this happen with you. Again, you do not have to do it all yourself!

This is all about choice, and it's yours to make. If you find yourself saying you don't have time but your spirit is aching for something more, consider a moratorium on that phrase and go nourish your creative heart instead. You have my permission!

Posted on June 25, 2008 10:31 AM
Comments

yesyesyes. this also. http://warriorgirl.blogspot.com/2008/05/secret-weapon-bathroom.html

Posted by: rowena at July 2, 2008 09:59 AM

I couldn't have read this at a more appropriate time. Thank you much.

Posted by: Vanessa Voss at June 29, 2008 07:12 PM

http://buyhomefree.com/

Posted by: kori at June 29, 2008 02:30 PM

ask for help ! I've just done the applications for two jobs recently and my friend helped me out by making me sell myself much more pointed out all the achivements I'd failed to put on the application. I've helped her a lot too listening to her talk about her freelance career so its not taking advantage its a free trade !

Posted by: m at June 28, 2008 08:10 AM

ask for help ! I've just done the applications for two jobs recently and my friend helped me out by making me sell myself much more pointed out all the achivements I'd failed to put on the application. I've helped her a lot too listening to her talk about her freelance career so its not taking advantage its a free trade !

Posted by: m at June 28, 2008 08:10 AM

ask for help ! I've just done the applications for two jobs recently and my friend helped me out by making me sell myself much more pointed out all the achivements I'd failed to put on the application. I've helped her a lot too listening to her talk about her freelance career so its not taking advantage its a free trade !

Posted by: m at June 28, 2008 08:09 AM

thanks for the permission. Love you and your blog.
God Bless
eric

Posted by: eric at June 28, 2008 07:39 AM

you must be a soul sister...your posts so often answer a dilemma i am having, almost instantly- i really was just lying in bed wondering, pondering, filled with questions and ideas all about this very subject...
thank you for being you.

Posted by: Cheryn at June 27, 2008 08:41 PM

I really needed this today. Thanks!

Posted by: Katie McTiernan at June 27, 2008 05:17 PM

It's amazing how the universe works! I just yesterday was almost in tears wondering how am I going to do it all. I have a 2 1/2 yr old and I am a striving interior designer at the beginning of my career. Thank you for this amazing post!

Posted by: Tonia at June 27, 2008 01:10 PM

This is so encouraging and inspiring for an aspiring mama to read! Thank you, thank you, dear Andrea.

xo Christine

Posted by: christine at June 27, 2008 09:12 AM

Great! You capture the broadest strokes without being the least bit prescriptive. One of the leaders at my very first coaching workshop talked all weekend about how "it's all made up" - so, so true. We make up the obstacles as much as the possibilities.

xo Jena

Posted by: Jena at June 27, 2008 05:56 AM

I just wanted to let you know that I have been reading your blog for about 6 months now, and I have read all of your archives.
You absolutely amaze me.
I was actually going to write you sooner, and tell you, but I think that now may be the best time.

-Claire.

Posted by: Claire at June 26, 2008 09:05 PM

Wonderful post Andrea! Thank you for this.

Posted by: Miss J at June 26, 2008 08:40 PM

This is an amazing post that really hit home for me.

I have the hardest time with the permission part. Anytime and every time that I think I could spend a few minutes doing something creative for myself, the green goblin that accuses me of self-indulgence rears its ugly head. It ruins the entire experience. Every time. I have always known that spending time on yourself is important but I somehow managed to talk myself into believing that the rule applied to everyone but me. This is the first time that giving myself permission makes sense. I love the words you chose: Nourishing this part of ourselves is what makes us feel alive. I can’t tell you how much I miss that feeling.

I think I’m going to follow the lead of some of the other readers and print this one out.
Thank you.

Posted by: Micheline at June 26, 2008 12:02 PM

You are so right, about all of it...I always enjoy your beautiful thoughts, thank you!

Posted by: Lori at June 26, 2008 11:54 AM

utterly fabulous post-- to be printed and enlarged and hung on the wall-- utterly fabulous!

Posted by: Elizabeth at June 26, 2008 10:47 AM

Dear Superhero,
This goes straight to my artist's heart. For a year now I've been working very hard on my illustrations, but not at all with the idea of selling them -- only with the intention to improve them. So the "even if you don't earn money" part was a welcome breeze. Your post is refreshing and well written. Thank you.

Posted by: Caroline Crayon at June 26, 2008 10:30 AM

Wow! Thank You for writing down what I've been thinking about all this week. It's funny how the universe has a way of answering the very things we put out into it.

Posted by: Karla at June 26, 2008 09:13 AM

...and #1 is THE hardest one...

Thanks for this.

Posted by: Leslie at June 26, 2008 08:16 AM

Andrea, you totally rock! I can't thank you enough!
Tears are streaming down my face because I can't tell you how long I have been wondering "how do those people out there do it?" and feeling like I will NEVER be able to do it or be as good as they are. I am printing this post out as I type this comment and it is going on my fridge!

And is it OK to ask, "How do you do that?" I always feel like people won't divulge their "secrets"...especially to little ol' me. Perhaps my biggest challenge is going to be asking for help...and letting my house be as it is. ;)

Posted by: Lisa at June 26, 2008 06:12 AM

This piece is fantastic and l know its going to help me. What l would like to ask is could l use it on my blog as l think there are others that would like to read it here in the uk
jILL

Posted by: jill at June 26, 2008 02:51 AM

This post could not have come at a better time...I've been for the last few months, sinking fast in the mire of kids, housework and a disappearing self. It's like getting sucked into a black hole. This kind of emptiness is scary... Never having time to 'feed' myself, being too tired, feeling resentful, endless interruptions...and feeling like a failure.

I received a 'good news' phone call from a far away friend today. She was paralyzed with creative depression for months, but started to do little bits (slivers). The bits turned into the return of her creative energies, the completion of some very personal pieces...and an invitation to be published. This, along with your post...I think the universe is trying to tell me something here!

You amaze me. How did one so young become so wise?
No doubt I will read and re=read and 'do' this until I get it right...
Thank you.

Posted by: Stephanie T. at June 25, 2008 11:27 PM

this is splendid & gorgeous.
not to leave out delicious.
thank you so much.

Posted by: shuna fish lydon at June 25, 2008 11:02 PM

This is such a good post - I may have to reread it everyday. Thank you!

Posted by: marybethvolpini at June 25, 2008 09:53 PM

How in the devil did you crawl into my head like that? You are so right, I can't believe how right you are. Thank you for the encouragement...and the ideas.

Really...thank you from the heart. I think I really needed to hear this. :)

Posted by: Abra at June 25, 2008 08:36 PM

thanks so much the boost!

Posted by: heather at June 25, 2008 07:23 PM

You are FABulous! Thank you for such an insightful and realistic write-up.

Posted by: rak at June 25, 2008 06:45 PM

Leave the house...as it is? Brilliant! No one will see the kitty hair tumbleweeds as much as I do anyway.
I recently hired a cleaner with the intent to use those cleaning hours to get all up in my creativeness...whoo-hoo!

Posted by: Cynthia at June 25, 2008 03:39 PM

Wow! You must have a window into my life! I am SOOO.. dying to paint again and play with color... and where has my studio space and time and supplies gone???
Well...all packed up and into the black hole that is my garage.
You see; my (now 83 year old) mom lives with me, and I am also doing the single parent thing, and the full time teaching special ed. thing, and my time has been so taken up doing for everyone else, and just paying the bills, and keeping the house from looking like a war zone etc, etc... that my painting just got pushed aside (literally).
And the worst part is that painting and mixing colors and getting them onto canvas was what kept me sane though, divorce, family illness, money problems, and working on (and finishing) a graduate degree.
I really NEED to paint!!!
Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU! for giving me permission.
I so very much needed someone outside my own immediate circle to say, "it's ok."
I'm heading out to the garage to find my easel and un-wrap my box of canvases, and to un-pack all my acrylics.
I even think I may set up a make-shift studio space in my dining room where the best light floods in from a huge bay window.
We'll just eat in the kitchen from now on...

Thanks again Andrea.
Blessings to you.
:)

Posted by: Julia at June 25, 2008 03:25 PM

Amen, sister!!

Posted by: Jennifer/The Word Cellar at June 25, 2008 02:16 PM

Thank you so much for this! It is exactly what I needed to hear right now!

Posted by: Yogamum at June 25, 2008 01:57 PM

Yes grab those moments. In one temp job I took my knitting and stood outside and knittedin my lunchbreak. I take photos when I walk to work or when I'm out doing errands.

STOP DOING HOUSEWORK !

Posted by: m at June 25, 2008 01:03 PM

Thank you for this. Recently I've been feeling overwhelmed and this gives me a little perspective.

Posted by: Sheryl at June 25, 2008 12:41 PM

Thank you - SO timely for me! I got into a really good space with this stuff about three months ago but lately I've disappeared under a pile of laundry, germs, potty-training, bad weather and The Day Job. I was wondering if I'd ever find my way back so thanks again for this map.

Posted by: Jo at June 25, 2008 12:38 PM

Thanks for the tips and inspiration, I value the fact that you're not afraid to share your wisdom with other creative minds seeking for inspiration or just plain sharing. ;o)

Nancy

Posted by: Nancy at June 25, 2008 12:03 PM

Thanks for the tips and inspiration, I value the fact that you're not afraid to share your wisdom with other creative minds seeking for inspiration or just plain sharing. ;o)

Nancy

Posted by: Nancy at June 25, 2008 12:02 PM

Thanks for the tips and inspiration, I value the fact that you're not afraid to share your wisdom with other creative minds seeking for inspiration or just plain sharing. ;o)

Nancy

Posted by: Nancy at June 25, 2008 12:02 PM

Thanks for the tips and inspiration, I value the fact that you're not afraid to share your wisdom with other creative minds seeking for inspiration or just plain sharing. ;o)

Nancy

Posted by: Nancy at June 25, 2008 12:01 PM

Thanks for the tips and inspiration, I value the fact that you're not afraid to share your wisdom with other creative minds seeking for inspiration or just plain sharing. ;o)

Nancy

Posted by: Nancy at June 25, 2008 12:01 PM

Thank you for this guide list. Parents do often have so much on their plate and such high expectations for themselves, their house, their children, that many of us don't even begin to consider that cultivating our creativity through practice is as essential as eating. So far, the understanding that has motivated me most to write, drum, paint, sing, dance(around the living room for no apparent reason or with a child in my arms) etc(since having children and less leisure time)is that along with, healthy food, a clean house, kind structure, loving attentive parents...children need parents who are striving to live a healthy, balanced happy life, always growing and developing the gifts God gave them. We can be their heroes, their role models if our lives are vibrant and creative(even and especially in the face of adversity).

Posted by: heidi at June 25, 2008 12:01 PM

Thank you so much for offering this.

Posted by: Connie at June 25, 2008 11:45 AM

Hi Andrea,

I am so excited to be the first to respond. I've been deliberate in intention of late to set aside time to write each evening by setting up my laptop in my bedroom (right now it has clothing on it!). I also decided to limit my television viewing to five hours per week starting this evening so this will free up a lot of time. Christopher and I will be reading more books, playing more games, discovering in lieu of watching videos. I also decided to just check email every other day. Now that I've written it, I will be following through. It does make you more conscious of your time when you want to express your creativity and suddenly have an 'aha' moment of how you allot your 'time'. Thanks for my timely wake up call!

Trish

Posted by: Patricia at June 25, 2008 11:08 AM

Andrea,

I am excited to be the first to respond. I have my laptop set up in my bedroom, intentionally wanting to write each night. I have also decided this week that I am limiting my television watching to five hours for one week. That will conciously free up a lot of time in the evening! I've decided to do the same with Christopher, we'll be reading more books, playing more games and discovering more without the tv/video to entertain us. I was recently encouraged to write and by the timing of your post I starting to do this, tonight! Thanks again for a timely and relevant post.

Trish

Posted by: Patricia at June 25, 2008 11:04 AM