In her Artist’s Way series of books, Julia Cameron talks a lot about nurturing your inner artist. I believe artists (and all creatives) are like musical instruments that must be carefully maintained to stay finely tuned. Part of the care of musical instruments is to be protected and repaired from the effects of the environment. The care and upkeep is not always daily, but if neglected, even electronic musical instruments will eventually stop being able to make music. Keyboards need to be kept free of dust and away from heating vents. Guitars need cleaning and polishing, fret dressing, and occasional neck adjustments. Reminds me of my visits to the chiropractor – when my neck gets out of alignment, I start to drag a bit. After an adjustment, I feel better, sleep better, think better, and get more done!
As artists we are played by the creative forces of the Universe. When we’re in tune, creative forces flow easily in and out of our lives; inner movements spurring creations of books, paintings and songs, and outer movements expressing our creations to the world. Early societies created songs and chants accompanied by simple instruments made from wood, gourds, clay and leather. People have always found a way to play the melodies and rhythms that they heard in nature and within themselves.
When we get out of tune, we have to recalibrate ourselves. It can take time to correct bad habits. In her book, Finding Water, Julia says, “My sanity requires daily maintenance.” At some point we learn to anticipate our needs so well, that we commit to doing the ongoing maintenance to keep ourselves “in tune with the Infinite.”
A commitment to daily maintenance or self care, which for us includes creative expression, is a serious thing. You have to make time for it, which is not easy at first. But the more you do it, the easier it is. Being a multi-passionate creative, I sometimes feel like I squeeze in my writing and music among chores or forego exercise to do art. But the payoff is actually having more time (less time recalibrating) and more energy, resulting in more creative and inspired ideas and actions. Like athletes who train daily for peak performance, a well tuned artist enjoys more effortless creation.
Recommended reading: Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance. Your purchase through our link helps support this website. Thank you.