I missed this space. I'm grateful for my Creative Retreat, but I'm happy to have turned the page on January.
I've realized something about January. It's not my favorite month. And winter is not my favorite season. Looking back at past Januaries, I can see a pattern. Each year it's a similar story. With the arrival of the new year I'm filled with ideas and excitement, but once we get into the month I lack energy. The weather makes me want to hibernate. It's cold. Snowy. Icy. Dark. I get irritable. Depressed.
And that's ok.
We all have ebbs and flows of energy and ideas. I've come to realize how important it is to honor my feelings. To honor my energy, not fight it.
(Subconsciously) it's one of the reasons I took the month off this year for my Creative Retreat.
Even so, I think I was hoping that giving myself the time and space to create would magically transform January into something that it's not.
I imagined that my Creative Retreat would mean immediate, beautiful (successful) paintings, drawings and sketches. That creating would be effortless, easy and fun. That I would come to LOVE January.
I have a great imagination.
It WAS a creative month. I did paint and draw and play and write. Every day. I wrote a lot in my journal. Which was so helpful. I had a lot of insights on those pages. And yes, I had fun, too. I created some art that I liked. But I also created some art that I didn't like. Some of it even ended up in the trash can.
Again, that's ok. It's natural. It's necessary.
I think what I needed more than time and space to create was time and space for rest. Time and space to nourish myself. Time for quiet reflection. I needed to be easy on myself during a time of year that's difficult (perhaps even more difficult this year with the constant, overwhelming news headlines).
Maybe you could use a little NOURISHing, too?
You don't need to set aside a month-long retreat to do it. You can nourish yourself a little bit each day.
Here are some ideas:
- have a pajama day (or partial pajama day -- try putting them on as soon as you come home at the end of the day)
- sleep in and enjoy a long, slow morning with good food, coffee (and/or tea) and good company (this doesn't have to be a person; a good book or your journal can also be good company)
- take a leisurely soaking bath with essential oils and/or epsom salts
- curl up with a cozy blanket and a good book
- give yourself a foot bath followed by a foot scrub and massage with a healing salve or lotion
- drink more water -- add a squeeze of lemon, close your eyes and imagine the sunshine
- get more sleep
- mist your face with rosewater and pretend you're sniffing flowers in a garden
- write in your journal -- make it a daily ritual; it's a good way to start or end your day
- take the time to cook and eat good food (slowly!)
- make art with the censor turned off*
- play with a new medium
- take a creative class or read an art or craft book
- make sure you have some flowers in your home -- blooming plants and forced bulbs are a good alternative (or addition) to cut flowers (for me they're a good source of creative inspiration, too!)
- light a fragrant candle or some incense
- give yourself a honey facial mask (especially nice while in that long soaking bath)
- plug in some twinkle lights
- go for a walk
Many of these additions to your day won't take a lot of time and won't cost much money, but they make a big difference to how you feel.
One day I realized I hadn't plugged in the twinkle lights in my studio because I didn't want to take the time to bend down beneath my table to do so (and then have to bend down beneath my table to unplug them again later). How much time and effort did that really cost me? Not much. Now I make a point of always plugging in my twinkle lights and lighting a fragrant candle on dark days in my studio.
We all need to be gentle with ourselves. With each other. With this world. Start with yourself. Ripple outward.
I have a lot of good stuff coming up here this month. An Artist Interview (on Friday!). A gift for you. An invitation of joy and love. Some new paintings. A sale. The return of Sketchbook Conversations... it's going to be a good month.
*read Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa for some inspiration for dealing with that critical voice and other hindrances to your creativity.