Do you regularly spend time alone with yourself, doing something that lights you up? Time spent on your phone or social media doesn’t count! Socially we’re told spending time with others is the priority because it’s important to nurture close relationships. But what about the relationship with yourself? You could argue it’s the closest, most important relationship you’ll ever have and therefore should be nurtured as much — if not more — as other relationships. One way to do this is to spend time with yourself and schedule an artists date.
Julia Cameron in The Artists Way suggests a regular artist date with yourself: “An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours a weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist, in its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers. You do not take anyone on this artist date but you and your inner artist.” The idea being you are “opening yourself to insight, inspiration, guidance.” What should you do on this date? Cameron advises “Your artist is a child. 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 art gallery -— these cost time not money. Remember, it is the time commitment that is sacred.”
No time to venture far from home? Read one a new, favourite or childhood book. Make art at home, spent time gardening, cooking, crafting, writing or journalling. For further afield, visit an art gallery, go for a walk through town or nature, sit in the park or visit a cafe. Whatever sounds like a lovely way to spend time, go do that thing. It’s highly recommended you completely disconnect from your phone during your date so switch it off or put it onto aeroplane mode to avoid any distractions.
Finding the idea of a date with yourself tough? Cameron points out “You are likely to find yourself avoiding your artist dates. Recognize this resistance as a fear of intimacy — self-intimacy… In order to have a real relationship with our creativity, we must take the time and care to cultivate it.” It’s not easy at the start, but the rewards far outweigh any initial discomfort you might feel spending time alone.