In her famous book on creativity, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron writes, “Creativity is a spiritual endeavor. This does not mean we have to subscribe to someone else’s view of God and the order of things … we will flourish more as we honor the spiritual side of our own beings.”
Honoring “the spiritual side of our own beings” might mean that sometimes something speaks to us that doesn’t speak to others. We are unique, individual creations. We are meant to celebrate what moves us—not change to fit someone else’s idea of cool.
But don’t worry. Cameron has a prescription for those of us who’ve lost pieces of ourselves to the desire to fit in. Her Artist’s Way books and workbooks are bestsellers because too many of us have strayed from our unique, authentic selves.
One of the activities she recommends to get back in touch with yourself is the “artist’s date”—a time you set aside for yourself to play, to enjoy what you enjoy without apologies.
“Your artist is a child,” she writes. “Time with a parent matters more than monies spent. A visit to a great junk store, a solo trip to the beach, an old movie seen alone together, a visit to an aquarium or an art gallery—these cost time, not money. Remember, it is the time commitment that is most sacred.”
Slowly and intentionally, I’ve started putting things back in my life that seemed silly as I got older: Coloring, cloud-watching, reading the poems I like just because I like them.
Are there things that spoke to you once that you’ve put behind you for one reason or another? Get them back. Write a poem. Doodle. Try a different route home from work. Play.
“This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot,” says Ecclesiastes 5:18.
The Spirit speaks to us in the things we love, the things that touch us. Honor those gifts. Celebrate them. “For this is our lot.” Life is short. Go have some fun.
Sarah Carson is a former managing editor of Gather magazine. Her book How to Baptize a Child in Flint, Michigan will be published by Persea Books in Fall 2022. Read more of her work at stuffsarahwrote.com.