Planning a Date with my Inner Child

"The most potent muse of all is our own inner child." Stephen Nachmanovich

In Julia Cameron's book, THE ARTIST'S WAY, she describes the idea of nurturing creativity through an "artist's date."

According to Cameron, an "artist's date" is a block of time, maybe one or two hours a week, especially set aside to nurture your creative consciousness. Some ideas include a long country walk, a solitary expedition to the beach for a sunrise or sunset, a sortie out to a strange church to hear gospel music, or a visit to an ethnic neighborhood to taste foreign sights and sounds. Or your artist child might like bowling.

I didn't think my inner artist wanted to go bowling, but it did make me wonder. How might I plan time to nurture my creativity? So this week the Muses turn our attention to describing what that time might look like for each of us and, in the process, challenge you to do the same.

When I first started thinking about this, my mind immediately went to blocking out time to meet various goals. I've been struggling lately with balance between my day job and my writing life, so it seemed natural to think of ways to support my writing time. Spending a good chunk of time devoted to working on my editorial letter for SKINNY would be perfect. I thought about going to the mountains to write, or a local coffee shop, or even my backyard. That's nurturing, right? But this exercise wasn't supposed to be about supporting my writing life, it was about supporting ME. I went back and reread.

"In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty."

So I thought some more. Eventually I came up with something that seemed totally counter intuitive to everything productive that needed to be done, and I made a plan.

I decided to float.

Around the corner from where I live is a lake (see the picture above) and that is where my "date" will take place. The first step of my plan involves blowing up a cheap air mattress. The smell of the plastic, the slightly light headed dizziness of blowing really hard, and the rhythmic sound of the air inflating the float, instantly connects me to some of the best memories of my childhood. Then, I will throw it out into the water, climb aboard and just float. I won't answer emails, or make phone calls, or have meetings... or even write.

I will just float.

It's a completely radical, and childish, idea.

Floating doesn't make much sense in my adult world. Something so unstable as water should not be able to offer such strong support. Something so mindless as drifting shouldn't be able to help me center my thoughts.

And that's exactly why I deemed it the perfect play date.


Floating is good. And preferable to not floating, I s'pose...

I'm thinking mine would involve pillow forts, flashlights, a book of campfire stories and some microwave s'mores...

Wonderful you have a lake so close by to float on. I often throw a raft in the kiddie pool while the kiddie is at preschool. Something about floating that definitely takes you out of your everyday world and commands a different mindset. Unless you're visiting an overcrowded day spa whose floaties and chaises come with yellow jackets...ouch...2 days later the welt is still with me...

Floating. I like it.

I can see why it took you awhile to find a good activity for this exercise...every single thing I think of has to do with writing.

No! I've got it. I'd go yard-saling. I always want to stop at yard sales, because I'm nosy I guess, not because I need anything. But I never stop, because I'm always on my way somewhere.

Love this. This addresses a problem that I have constantly - letting go of the "should do's". Our inner mind has its own reasoning and its own path and we'd do well to listen. Great article, Donna.

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