Your routine: Get up, go to work, come home, flip on the TV, nuke dinner and go to sleep. Repeat. You used to have energy, ambition and ideas for making your life richer and more fulfilling. Now, though you’re just too tired and brain dead.
You know it in your gut: You’re in a rut.
In “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Creativity,” Julia Cameron provides inspiration for change. And you don’t have to be an artist to use the advice.
The premise is that creative expression is the natural state of being. If you’re stuck, adding specific practices to your day will nurture your inspired self. But this is more than a fake-it-until-you-make-it program.
It’s a series of simple exercises designed to banish limiting beliefs and behaviors, such as boredom and self-doubt, and replace them with confidence and creativity.
The reason it works, says Cameron, is that it reconnects us with the creative energies of the universe to which we are all linked, and continues to flow – with or without us.
Begin to conquer self-defeating inertia by doing “Morning Pages,” three pages of daily writing about whatever comes to mind. (As writers know, it’s rare to be certain what will result when embarking on an assignment, even if the topic is known. The process provides the insights.) And it doesn’t matter if the last time you wrote something – outside of work memos – was your teenage diary.
Face the paper, or screen, and be fearless: Just do it.
This begins to silence internal censors to your percolating ideas, and builds a habit that will help you tap into your imagination.
The second activity is called the “Artist’s Date.” This is a two-hour block of weekly time for pure observation, sensing and experiencing. Park yourself somewhere public – a cafe, a park or even a building atrium.
Soak up what you see, what you feel and the details and nuances you notice. What thoughts are triggered? What ideas pop into your head?
We find that this practice can even be accomplished on the treadmill at the health club. Observe others on the StairMaster, the weight machines. Glance at the clouds or cars passing by the windows. Maybe it’s the blood pumping, but we swear this always leads to fresh ideas – even if we only initially come up with jumbles of words, a color, a phrase.
Cameron recommends you continue the exercises for at least 12 weeks so they become as habitual – and as stimulating – as the jump-start you get from your morning java jolt.