I was going to call this blog post 'I don't have time for Art ... Bullshit'. But this topic calls for a gentler approach to making time to be creative ... And I think you might like to hear it.
One of the things I feel most gifted with, is the opportunity to create space for people to make Art in their lives. Women will come along to my workshops and more than anything, experience such a sense of gratitude for the day they've had all for themselves to create ... Especially Mummies.
It's got me thinking ... How can I support women to take more than one random day, for themselves? How can I help create a space for busy women, especially Mummies to explore their creativity, unhindered? How can I help others realise that they're worth spending time on their interests and dreams?
I've learned the hard way (and continue to learn it), that making time for myself is essential to my sense of wellbeing.
Granted, there are exceptionally busy periods in everyone's life - think: bringing home a newborn and getting no sleep for three months. Quite simply at those times, making art is the last thing you'd have time for on your list of to-do's. Your priority would be sleep, sweet sleep.
But these aren't the times I'm talking about.
The Making Time For Art I'm referring to here, comes about when there IS a strong desire within you; wishing you could have time to paint, or learn to cook, or whatever it is you'd love to do with your life. BUT, you tell yourself you don't have the time/space/money/insert-other-set-back-here, because there's more important things you need to do.
The truth is, if the nudge is there, the time is right to begin it .. Because your happiness is important too!
If there's one thing I've learned in my years of Creating with Feeling, teaching, art therapy and becoming a Mum, it's that our feelings are super-closely woven in with our dreams and life-purpose. In fact, they're inseparable. That little voice inside us that 'wishes' for something, is the same thing that propels us through life, day in, day out, sustaining our life-force and making us who we are today.
Those inner nudges we feel to 'try' something new, is THE perfect thing for our life - not in the future, but RIGHT NOW.
Every single time in my life, when I've taken a risk and followed my intuitive nudges, without exception,
Making time for my dreams has led to the perfect unfolding of a new version of me.
Saying I don't have time for myself, really means, I don't love myself enough to create a better version of my life.
It's sad, but it's true. I think everyone else is more important than me. That's NOT true. Ever. Our lives are our gift, to be lived.
The struggle we feel, I believe, is because we're sticking to who we think we are and need to be, instead of who we really want to become. An amazing, expanded version of ourselves is ready to go, and when we don't reach for it, the distance between our poor self respect and our dreams is so great, it actually hurts us. Gosh that feels good to articulate.
So, today I'd like to offer something up to the Universe and to you. There are ways we can find time to create a better version of us, for ourselves.
Whether you've got 10 kids, run a business, work full-time, or you're simply looking for space in your life, there are ways you can find snippets of time, just for you. I know - I've got a one-year-old, I work full-time running my business, I work part-time at a kindy, and I'm the sole breadwinner for our family, amongst other things. It's precisely these reasons I make time for myself ... And I couldn't live this way without it.
Here are some ways we can all make time for ourselves ...
WAYS TO MAKE TIME FOR ART
- Cut out watching TV for a week and paint instead - you'll be surprised
- Alternately, paint or draw while you're watching TV or a documentary - you'll be inspired
- Get out some paints and create with your kids, just to play
- Negotiate a baby-sitter for the kids for an hour or two a week/fortnight. Don't use it to clean, use it to paint.
- Get up an hour earlier if you're a morning person, or
- Paint when the kids go to bed
- Leave the dirty dishes dirty, for one night a week
- Even better, make Husband do them for you
- Get take-away or have a picnic for dinner, so there's no dishes to wash!
- If you're a clean-machine, hire cleaner, then make art with your spare time
- Take a walk to the park (with or without the kids) and take along a sketch book
- Take your camera phone on afternoon walks and take photos of inspiring objects for your art
- Go on a treasure hunt for natural objects you could paint
- Take a walk with your kids in nature and make sculptures using natural objects
- Limit social media to make more time for you (Truly - this WORKS)
- Sketch or draw on your lunch break
- Block time in your diary, ahead of time, for creative-self-nurture
- Make every Saturday night (or other night) your 'Me' night
- The most important one: ASK FOR HELP
Often, nurturing, kind, giving people have the most trouble giving to themselves.
Telling yourself, 'I don't have time to make art' can really be self-talk, disguising a fear that 'Others don't have time for me to make Art.'
Take this one in, you may see that it's true for you.
Don't be worried about putting-others-out, by making time for yourself. They'll still be there when you get back and you'll be fuller and lighter because of it. In other words, giving to yourself makes a better version of you, and the kids/husband/partner/boss/family/world will benefit from that too.
Sometimes, we just need to be willing to ask for help. I've fallen into the trap of thinking that it has to be me to do everything, because no one else knows how to do it my way. Especially parenting.
But when we ask others for help, we create space for them to learn how to do it THEIR way, which takes the pressure off us.
I used to fear leaving my son with my hubby/family for more than a couple of hours - especially when I was breastfeeding - because I truly believed my son needed me there 100% of the time. I wouldn't give him a bottle, in fear he'd reject the breast. After months of no-time for myself, I was completely worn ragged. I learned the hard way, that it takes a community to raise a child, and when I finally let others in to help me, they had the joy of caring for my son and I had some time for myself. Win-win. And he's still alive (and thriving).
To sum up, we all have our reasons for being who we are, and doing what we do. I just invite you, today, to reflect on your life and see if there's a place to make some room for You.
Speak with your partner or family or friends about how you're feeling and do the unthinkable - ASK THEM FOR HELP. Collaborate. I'm sure they'll jump at the change to finally give back to you. Create space in your life to make time for your art - whatever that may be - and watch how your inner heart blooms.
If you need help to get started, I invite you to join me.
Much love to you,