As a creative who is immersed with my own art making ventures it is important that I take the time to be clear on what I want, what matters and what doesn’t. Since we are on the cusp of spring, I am taking time to revisit my intentions and goals for my creative practice. I have found in the past when I did not take the time to “feel” my way into my intentions the grounding doesn’t happen and I end disappointed and a bit frazzled at the end of the year.
I talk a lot about the importance of setting some intentions and goals in relation to your creative practice. Today, I wanted to share a tool that I use to make sure that I keep on track with what I have set for the year, quarter, month or week. One of the methods I have been working for the last four years with is the Desire Mapping process, which helps identify the “feelings” you want to experience with all aspect of your life, rather than tangible, concrete resolutions or goals for any given year. As a creative individual, this process appeals to me because it allows me to look at major goals and opportunities based more on energy/vibes than a check mark for my resume. The Desire Mapping process focuses on “Core Desired Feelings” or CDFs that you identify after a fairly lengthy process which focuses on what you want to feel about all aspects of your life.. At the end of the year, I completed my CDFs for this year and much of what I decide to engage in or be informed by will be based on these CDFs.
I also use the Desire Map planner to review my progress toward my goals and make sure that my CDFs are in alignment with my plans for the week, month or quarter. The planners are very attractive and provides helpful quotes and prompts to guide you in making the best decisions that align with what you desire to feel.
What process do you use for setting intentions or goals? How do you track them? Do you use any special planners or guiding imagery or words to keep you on track? Please share in the comments.
When many of us think of "self-care" we tend to think of activities such as massage, yoga, physical activity, hanging out in nature, sleep, meditation, etc. We don't think much about doing art or some other creative activity as a form of "self-care". But I invite you to think of it in this way.
For me, my creative practice is one of my favorite self-care activities. Of course there is "work" involved, looking at composition, the images, thinking of what I want to convey, etc. But it is my favorite form of work....I get lost in it...I forget about the craziness in the world...my only focus is that art piece. I put on music that soothes my soul, scents that inspires and relaxes me whether it is essential oils or incense and I become one with my art.
A creative practice connects us to another place and a product of this connection is what ever we produce as a result. It is also a stress reliever and can be a way to deal with anxiety. An asociate of mine, who found himself caring for his elderly parents full time, would spend his time either in nature or creating art...using alcohol inks on small tiles, creating the most beautiful abstract pieces. At my last count, he was approaching somewhere between an impressive 80 and over 100 pieces of small abstract art as a result.
In a recent blog article from PsychCentral by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. on this topic included some ways that art and creativity can be utilized as a source of self-care from artist Stephanie Medford and Natalie Foster, LAMFT, ATR, an intuitive mentor and registered art therapist. I share a few from this article below:
"Collage your emotions. Self-care includes acknowledging, honoring and holding space for our emotions. When Medford is stuck on a difficult emotion, she creates a collage about it using old magazines and found papers. She looks for images, colors and shapes that express how she’s feeling. It’s a quick and messy process. Which is the point: These collages “are more about processing the feeling than making ‘art.’” "
"Play with clay. “Clay is a very kinesthetic and grounding media that helps us feel in control when things are not so orderly in the ongoings of our lives,” Foster said. Crayola makes an air-dry clay, or you can get non-drying modeling clay and store it in an air-tight container, she said."
"Draw your mood daily. Medford has a journal that contains pages with 2 x 2 inch squares. Every day she fills in one square expressing her mood that morning. “A big part of working through my anxiety is noticing how it feels in my body, and what images and colors it brings to mind,” Medford said. “Paying close attention to my experience, and drawing what I find, helps me to take some of the power away from the feelings and gives it back to me and my creativity.”
"Tell your story. Foster suggested creating an altered book. For instance, every day or once a week, you decorate the pages in any way you like. You might include important mementos or personal photos. “Over time the right story will come out—whether it’s your whole life story, or the story of your growth in the past year.”
"Write About Your Art. Writing about your art can spark important insights. Foster recommended journaling after you’ve completed a piece or project and then returning to it weeks or months later: “How have you changed since making the piece? How do you still think you need to adapt in order to reflect what you are creating in your life?”
Again, I invite you to explore how art and creativity can connect you to your emotions. What other ways has your creativity has helped to address your own self-care needs? Feel free in the comments below!