The Inspiration of an Artist Date

Twenty years ago I read the book the Artists’ Way by Julia Cameron. I then helped form a group of women to read it together while keeping each other accountable and in action. It was so much fun. My favorite part was doing a weekly Artist Date.

An Artist Date is a date with yourself and your internal muse. You go out and play. You can go to a coffee house and write, or go to a museum and relish the art. Or you go outside and relish nature’s beauty. You get to choose the destination that cultivates connection with yourself and invites your creativity and play to the forefront.

I love giving this homework to clients, especially when they are in the phase of “I don”t know” or “I am stuck” about what is next for their work life. Especially in today’s “busy addiction” culture, taking time to slow down and be connected to our higher self and creativity is a powerful contradiction that can spark inspiration.

Recently, I was personally reminded of how magical this can be while in Chicago with my daughter.  The Art Institute of Chicago holds a special place in my heart, as it a place I went to often as a teenager and in my 20s. I know the museum and the art well, but I had not seen the new Modern Wing of the museum. As my daughter and I strolled through I came across an art exhibition created by a Middle Eastern Woman named Mounira Al Solh. (Definitely, check her out, she is amazing!)

Mounira Al Solh has interviewed hundreds of refugees from Syria. She wrote their stories on yellow legal pad paper and drew them sometimes literally or sometimes abstractly. The images and the stories were powerful. Many of the stories were written in Arabic, but just the image alone spoke to my heart.

What this outing awoke in me is the power of art, the power of story, and the power of witnessing and acknowledging someone’s experience. I can not tell you how deeply I dream of a world where every human being feels heard and validated. This exhibit brought light in the darkness of these individuals pain. This exhibit brought visibility to the suffering of this horrific war. This exhibit brought forth humanity.

This exhibit reminded me how deeply I want to see a more peaceful and humanitarian world. It also reminded me the power of the Artist Date, the power of letting yourself wander and be drawn by your curiosity.

I want you to know if you are in the “I do not know” or “I feel stuck” phase it will pass. You will find clarity. In the meantime, go out and explore, go out and play, go out and let yourself be surprised maybe even inspired.