we cannot create from depletion so we must find ways to fill our spirit
The concept of "filling the well" comes from Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way", a book designed to help us enhance our creativity.Cameron points out that we need an inner reservoir to draw from if we are going to continue to create. She describes our reservoir or well as a creative ecosystem that we need to care for and she points out that, "If we don't give some attention to upkeep, our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant, or blocked." Cameron suggests we set aside an hour or more weekly to do something that nourishes our creative self. It might be a trip to a museum, a walk in the country or even watching an old movie. The important thing is that we do it alone so we can enjoy and absorb what the experience brings without concern about others. She calls these weekly activities our "artist's date" as we are taking our artist self out for the afternoon or evening.
Sometimes it's not so much a lack of enriching experiences that does the damage but a matter of just plain too much going on. Too many commitments can be a big factor in depleting our "well". So perhaps instead of thinking of additional things we'd like to do, first we might take a careful look at what we are already doing. I suspect most of us are involved a number of things simply because we feel we should be. If we give it careful thought we would probably find only a few of these activities are things we really want to do because they are important to our work or our family. Most likely we can all find several obligations that are simply filling our time and robbing us of energy. We must learn to firmly say "no" to these things in order to clear the slate for the activities that are truly important to us. We need to face the fact that when we are depleted within ourselves we can give little to others. Nourishing our own creative self is the best thing we can do for friends and family as well as for ourselves.
Another way we rob ourselves of time is by habitually spending part of our days doing such things as reading the newspaper, watching TV or surfing the net. I don't mean we should give up favorite TV shows or websites, more we need to stop and evaluate if we are being nourished by these activities or if we are simply filling time. It seems strange that we ever waste time like this with our busy schedules but we do, often because we are too fatigued to do anything else. If we can decrease our obligations we will have more energy to spend our time in creative endeavors rather than simply letting time filling activities steal our hours.
I also find that the act of creation itself is nourishing to me. Not the frustrating parts of the process but the times when creativity is flowing and time seems to stand still. So it all becomes a balance of many things. First of all clearing the space, then letting in new inspiration and most importantly taking time for 'moodling', which simply amounts to puttering about doing something we enjoy whether it be sitting on the porch watching the birds or working in our garden. Take a look at the article " Moodling or How to Let Those Alpha Waves In" to see how these activities enhance creativity. Once we are no longer depleting our well but actually filling it we will find there is an additional reward, for the very act of being creative will "fill our well" even further.
Exploring Women's Creativity © 1999 Judy Anne Breneman
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