Thursday 22 October 2020

How Do You Nourish Your Soul? - Heather Dyer

Something to ponder as the nights draw in: how do you nourish your soul? 

I’ve been thinking ahead to possible lockdowns this winter, and wondering what I can do to keep my spirits up and stay inspired. I might re-read my favourite childhood books, take virtual gallery tours, buy a fire pit and start taking a flask on my walks. I’ve also just discovered Storygraph, which finds books for you, based on your preferences. 

Creatives talk about ‘filling the well’. Julia Cameron (in her book The Artists’ Way) tells us to take ourselves on an ‘Artist Date’ once a week. Some of these options aren't going to be available now, though: 

The Artist Date, an hour or longer weekly block of time spent on yourself and with yourself, doing something ‘festive’, is intended to engender release. Release, in turn, engenders inspiration. 

In Manhattan, a particularly magical Artists’ Date for me was a visit to the Compleat Traveler, a small, treasure-laden store on the corner of Thirty-fifth Street and Madison Avenue. Filled with everything from maps of Ireland, Polynesia, and the Isle of Wight to vintage books on Marco Polo and the Himalayas, it is a world where time and distance conspire and conjoin. 

Aquarium stores, museums, cathedrals, flea markets, or five-and-dimes… vintage films, lectures on the odd, the improbable, or merely interesting … musical performances by traveling Tibetan monks, a trip to a quiet, riverside spot – any of these can function as an Artist Date. 

An Artist date is about following your bliss – allowing yourself to be drawn to activities or places simply because you have an inner pull towards these things. You don’t need to think about the reason why you love looking at old maps, or knitting, or taking photos of industrial estates. You’re following your hunches and allowing your curiosity to lead you. 

However, I suspect there are certain things about a hobby or an interest that ‘answer’ a need in our unconscious. Nourishing our souls by ‘filling the well’ can inspire and inform our exploration in other, unrelated areas. 

This winter, we might have to do more solitary, indoor things to nourish our souls. I asked a group of students this question last week and their answers were: jigsaws, long walks, cold water swimming, films, tarot cards, scrabble, working with clay, painting, drawing… 

My neighbours have bought a hot tub! 

I also hope to get some work done. What about you? 

And on the topic of winter and creativity, here's an article I love by Jeanette Winterson, who explains why she ‘adores the night'.

1 comment:

Penny Dolan said...

Heather, true confession time!

I got very annoyed with Julia C at times because her neighbourhoods, landscapes, life-style and even her early mornings seemed to be totally unlike the life I was experiencing at the time or since tbh. And the quirky little shops trips seemed to hint at cash I often didn't have to spare.

However, I also know there are good points and good practice in her approach, so I DO appreciate your interpretation of artist's dates for our current autumnal situation and did enjoy Jeanette Winterson's evocative piece.
Thank you.