The Little Voice Within: How I Hear My Intuition

Over the years and in so many ways in my creative journey I’ve been tripped up by the same thing: thinking I had to ‘get it right’. The absolute worst version of this has been when ‘getting it right’ also meant being something other than myself.

This year I have recommitted to listening to my own heart and following my own instincts. It’s like getting off the highway and instead following a barely perceptible path. It takes patience. It’s full of wonder, sometimes scary, and it makes me feel magnificently alive. I feel like myself again.

In order to find and follow this path, I’ve learned to listen for and to my intuition. One of the things that has helped me tremendously with this is my current morning practice. I’m going to share the intimate details with you today in the hopes that it will inspire you to create a version that helps you hear your own small voice within. Please know that it doesn’t have to be in the morning. It doesn’t have to include the same components. It simply has to be a repeated and recognizable moment so that your intuition knows you are listening and that it is safe and meaningful for her to share..

My Morning Practice

The first thing I do in the morning is feed the cats. Without that, there will be no hearing anything but insistent and persistent meows! Once my pride is taken care of, my practice officially begins.

First, I greet the day. If it’s warm enough, I go outside and greet the sun, the sky, the earth, the wind and all the directions. If not, I look out the window and do the same. I take a moment to notice the world and remember that I am a part of it.

I make an offering. I might put out a few nuts on a rock out back or light some incense and put it under our lilac tree. This morning I scattered the tulip petals that had fallen from a bouquet of spring flowers. I think the world was pleased.

Then I prepare a cup of tea or coffee, ascend to the studio and plug in my twinkie lights. I light the candle on my altar, setting the intention to listen and receive.

Then I dance. One song picked on shuffle. I trust the music, I move and I listen.

By now both the Universe and my spirit know that I am here and paying attention. I sit down to my journal and write. I follow seeds of ideas or questions that may have arisen. I ask for guidance. I let answers flow through my fingers. I notice what comes easily and feels fresh compared to what feels tight and all too familiar. I write until I feel complete.

Recently I’ve been following this with a simple 3-card tarot reading. I shuffle my deck*, again holding the intention of listening and receiving. When it feels right, I stop. I cut the deck twice with my left hand and I place three cards face up. First, in the centre, a card for ‘me’. Next, to the left, a card for ‘today’. Finally, on the right, a card for ‘guidance.’ I look for illumination on any present themes or concerns. I close with a little more writing to gather my insights and reflections.**

With gratitude in my heart, I blow out the candle and begin my day.

Then (and this is important) I follow the threads.

After spending time tuning into my intuition and seeking guidance, I follow where I’ve been led. I do my best not to slip back onto the highway of habit and the ‘way it’s done’. My insights guide my day. They lead my decision-making. Each day I demonstrate to that wee voice that not only am I listening but I am also acting. I will not take the wisdom I have received for granted.

With this practice, day by day, I am becoming better and better at finding and following that barely perceptible path that is truly my very own.

May you find and follow your path. I hope what I have shared today helps.


PS You might be thinking, “Jamie, all of that sounds nice but seriously, how long does that take?!!  You know, I love taking my time with this ritual whenever I can (it is delicious when it is languid and long) but it can also take about 15 minutes. And sometimes it actually saves me time. Instead of wrestling with questions and decisions, more often than not, I find I already have the answer!

PPS This is an excerpt from Letters from the Studio, which I send out on Sundays. Join the studio and I will send these creative inspirations to you. Plus you’ll get a discount on classes, a free workshop series and more!

*I recently shared that I have a new deck that I have fallen in love with, The Light Seer’s Tarot.
** These reflections often end up in the ‘insight’ section of my Studio Yearbook.

 

During Dark Times, How Do We Keep Showing Up? The Creative Living with Jamie Podcast eps 280

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 280:
During Dark Times, How Do We Keep Showing Up

When times are tough, personally or around the globe, how do we show up for our lives, our art and one another?

Take It to Your Journal

Here are some journal questions inspired by today’s episode.

  • What am I feeling right now?
  • What would be soothing for my body?
  • What can I do?
  • What good is available right now?

Resources & Mentions

Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, will wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.

Episode

Last week I started writing a piece for you and it ended up becoming last week’s Letter from the Studio, but then so many people wrote to me saying they found it helpful I thought I had to share it with you here too. 

You know last week we talked about what it means to be a highly sensitive creative. It turns out there are a lot of highly sensitive creatives in the Jamie Ridler Studios community. Even in my Devotion program, I asked the artists, “How many of you consider yourselves in HSC?” And you know how many of them said yes? All of them. 

So, no doubt, that’s part of the reason I have had so many tender conversations ever since the pandemic started, and all throughout about one theme in particular: 

How do we show up not only to our creative work but also to life when there is so much hard in the world? 

Now I want to be clear that I am far from an expert in responding to global crises, but I do think that during difficult times we must all share what we found to be helpful, share with detachment and with hope that something may be useful to someone else as well. It’s in that spirit that I share this with you today. 

So the first thing that I would say is… 

Feel your feelings  

When feelings well up inside of you don’t try to bypass them. Just putting on a happy face or shoving your feelings down or ignoring them simply doesn’t work. In fact, it can be damaging. It’s much better to cry and moan and rage and let that energy go. It’s better to dance it out or draw it out or throw some clay about. And that takes me to suggestion #2. 

Turn to your art. 

As artists we have this incredible gift available to us. We may feel overwhelmed, our friends and family might not want to or be able to hold the massive geyser of emotion that we need to pour out but our art can, and it will every single time. Turn to your art. Let it process that pain into compost and the promise of something new. 

Also, soothe your body. 

What will soothe your physical being back to a state of equilibrium? A timeout in a quiet room with the lights low, a cleansing, calming bath, nourishing comfort food, maybe some breathwork. What about a butterfly hug. Do you know what that is? (I’ll leave a link in the show notes.) Maybe an early night under a warm blanket. Start to build a repertoire of self-soothing strategies. 

Do what you can do. 

Some situations, like global crises, are by very definition overwhelming. The sense that there is nothing we can do feeds a sense of hopelessness and despair. It’s true that you cannot solve the whole problem. No one person can. But what can you do? Can you make a donation or raise funds or awareness? Can you lend an ear? Call your local representative? Vote with your feet? Practice loving kindness? Offer it to others? 

Please don’t diminish any contribution you can make. One of the things I’m coming to understand is that problems that we can’t solve alone ask us to come together and that’s a beautiful thing. Make your contribution. Trust that it matters.  

I’ll tell you that when my mom was sick and unknowing but very considerate man gave up his seat to me on the subway and that was everything to me. It’s years and years ago and I still remember how that felt. Which brings me to my next suggestion. 

Let the good in. 

Sometimes I know it feels like a betrayal of our humanity to experience joy or goodness when others are suffering. If war and injustice and the global pandemic have taught us anything, it’s that life can change in a heartbeat. We will all experience sorrow and joy, loss and life. So let the darkness remind you of what is precious and good. The nights you’ve been safe in your bed. The times you’ve laughed until you cried. The delicious meals you’ve shared with friends. The quiet joy of painting for hours. The wonder of sunflowers that are taller than you. Revel in it for yourself and remember that it matters for everyone. 

And lastly, keep your heart open. 

Don’t abandon yourself or others. Maybe, just maybe, we can use this time to learn how to take care of ourselves and one another. 

Let’s start now. 

Okay. I hope those are helpful and before we go, I want to share with you a bit of Studio News and then a short story from Pema Chodron that I keep tucked into my heart. I keep it there to remind me to stay soft to stay open and to stay present in the world as best I can. 

But first studio news. 

Studio News

I love that song. I know, I’m sorry if it’s a bit brash after such a tender topic. In that spirit of tenderness, I want to share with you that during the pandemic I made five short workshops on simple creative practices that I knew could support people during difficult times. These are available to you now, absolutely free. There’s one on journaling, one on collage, meditation, doodling and even dance. 

Come on by openthedoor.ca right now and sign up. You’ll get these creative practice workshops, one every day for five days. You’ll also get my Sunday morning Letters from the Studio, plus 10% off creative classes and the Studio Yearbook PDF, which is available right now. I hope you’ll come on by and become a part of Jamie Ridler Studios now. 

Last Words

Before I go, I promised I would share with you this wonderful story from Pema Chodron. She shares it in The Places that Scare You: a Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times. It’s really good read for right now to be sure so I’ll be sure to leave a link in the show notes. 

As I’ve mentioned, this little story reminds me to keep my heart open. I hope it does the same for you. Pema wrote, 

“When I was about six years old, I received the essential bodhicitta teaching from an old woman sitting in the sun. I was walking by her house one day feeling lonely, unloved and mad kicking anything I could find. Laughing, she said to me, “Little girl, don’t you go letting life harden your heart.” 

I know we have some serious things to contend with. I hope that this little story from Pema and the strategies I’ve shared with you today are helpful. 

Here’s just a quick review:  

  • Feel your feelings. 
  • Turn to your art. 
  • Soothe your body. 
  • Do what you can do. 
  • Let the good in and… 
  • Keep your heart open. 

Feel. Art. Soothe. Do. Good. Open. 

Have a great week in your studio and remember your life is your studio. I’ll see you next week. 

The Worst Kind of Comparison

We’re used to hearing about comparison in the context of comparing ourselves to others. Today I want to bring up a different kind of comparison, one that can rob us of years of our life: comparing where we are to where we want to be.

I don’t know about you but I have a visceral reaction just thinking about all the ways this shows up.

I thought by now I’d be…
I used to be able to….
I hate that….
What if I never…

This way of thinking has shut me down many a time and I have witnessed how often it has shut down the creatives that I coach.

I have learned to do three things in order to move through this painful comparison towards something else.

Acknowledge the truth.
Mourn the losses.
Open to the belief that even here there is goodness.

Many of us are facing, have faced and will face difficult and devastating circumstances. Many of us are facing the fact that our lives are simply different than we expected. Whatever the distance between what is and what we hoped for, if we lock ourselves into comparing the two, we can stay stuck in a loop of suffering for years.

Creativity lives in the present and, in an unexpected twist, it’s magic is strongest when it works with what is real.

Instead of losing years locked into comparing the way it is to the way we wanted it to be, let’s find the good that is available and get creating exactly where we are with exactly what we have. Who knows what we’ll achieve, experience and become on the adventure ahead!

PS This is an excerpt from Letters from the Studio, which I send out on Sundays. Join the studio and I will send these creative inspirations to you. Plus you’ll get a discount on classes, a free workshop series and more!

You’ve Got Nerve(s): The Creative Living with Jamie Podcast eps 279

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 279:
You’ve Got Nerve(s)

Often artists are highly sensitive people.  Learning to navigate the world and our work through the gift of our sensitivity can open a whole world of possibility and healing for the creative soul.

Take It to Your Journal

Here are some journal questions from today’s episode about being a highly sensitive creative.

  • I find that I am highly sensitive to…
  • This has been hard because….
  • It’s also been a blessing because…

Resources & Mentions

Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, will wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.

Episode

Hey everybody. So I titled this episode you’ve got nerve… s and it is especially for my HSCs out there, my highly sensitive creatives. And let’s face it, if you are creative, chances are you are highly sensitive, sensitive to nuance, sensitive to subtext, to colour, to meaning, to energy, to sound. In fact, I’d love for you to take these three prompts to your journal. Yep, we are getting right into it. I’m going to give you all three. These are each sentence stems so I want you to finish the sentence. When you’ve done all of that, come back.  

So, the first one is, “I find that I am highly sensitive to…:

The second is “This has been hard because….” 

And the third, “It’s also been a blessing because…” 

Trust whatever comes out of your pen and then come back and we’ll chat a bit more about what it means to be a highly sensitive creative. 

One of the reasons that I love to give you journal questions right off the bat is because I want you to look inside first. As a sensitive creative soul, you take in a lot of information and sometimes it’s hard to know what’s yours and what you’re taking in from the world around you.  

As a creative, what you have to offer the world is something unique to you so learning to hear that voice within and then to trust it and then to use it is powerful work for the creative heart. I hope you take the time to listen to yourself before you listen to me. 

Let me tell you a little bit about my own experience. In my family, many of the women have what we call “nerves.” I would define that as a tendency to react strongly to stimuli. That could look like sensory overload. It could look like anxiety rising and trying to anticipate every possible outcome and then a rush to plan for every single one. It could look like supreme unfettered delight in taking in something beautiful or delicious or fun. It’s like we’re finely tuned instruments resonating with the pluck of the world. Only sometimes we don’t want to be plucked! 

Can you relate? 

Some of the gifts of this sensitivity is that we tend to see to the heart of things, recognize what’s unspoken, identify patterns and revel in the arts, both the making of and the drinking in. We do so in deep ways that include both struggle and bliss. 

As you’re listening, maybe you’re hearing, like I am, all the voices that you’ve internalized along the way. What makes you think you’re so special, little snowflake? Stop being so sensitive! Toughen up. It’s not that bad. What are you talking about? Nobody actually said that. You’re just being oversensitive. I’m sure you have your own version of these critical reactions. 

Some of you may have heard how I feel about dentists. In part, it’s because I had some awful experiences as a kid. I won’t go into them. Don’t worry. But I do want to say what a relief it was for me when a kind dentist told me that I did have a complex array of surprisingly tiny little nerves. Even now I feel a deep release in my body when I think about it. I was not playing it up. I was not being dramatic. I was having a normal and appropriate reaction to my unique set of circumstances. 

Now, isn’t that familiar? This happens all the time, in all different ways. The world gets frustrated when we do anything, want anything, need anything or are anything that is outside of standard operating procedures and those standard operating procedures were usually not made for us. 

Do you know Patty Digh? She’s a wonderful, creative soul. She is an author and an educator who works in the area of diversity and inclusion. Please, go ahead and check her out. She’s amazing. 

Recently she shared the story of going to the doctor and being told she was having a panic attack when, in fact, what she was having was a serious coronary event. (I’ll link to her post in the show notes.) Thank goodness she ended up trusting her instincts and getting help when she needed it, and one of the things that Patty said allowed her to save her own life and how you can save yours is by valuing your life enough to make hard, and what might be unpopular decisions. 

So, okay, how did we get from talking about being a highly sensitive creative soul to talking about life and death and what does this have to do with art? 

Have you heard this saying, “How you do one thing is how you do everything”? Well, I don’t always agree with it, but in this instance, I do think it points the way to something important. Our art gives us the opportunity to practice with how we want to do and how we want to be. The more we learn to navigate anything in our art, in this case our sensitivity, the more we’ll be able to navigate it similarly, in our lives. One of the reasons this is so helpful is because with our art, the stakes are so much lower.  

What if we get used to speaking our truth in our journals (like the real truth, even the unacceptable truth)? 

What if we got used to trusting our own choices in our work? Color choices, no choices, phrasing choices, costume choices, anything. 

What if we learned to tend to our nerves, our beautiful, sensitive, nervous system, learning to ride the waves of adventure and risk and failure and success, rejection, visibility, vulnerability and more? 

There’s a reason that we sensitive souls are drawn to the arts. They are a path for us, a pathway to understanding ourselves, one another and the world. What we learn on that path can grow our resilience, deepen our self-trust and build our confidence so that more and more we can bring to life into the world all the gifts we are here to share. 

I’ve got some resources for you to continue exploring these thoughts about sensitivity and our tender nerves, and I’ll share them right after Studio News. 

Studio News

This season in the studio we have two wonderful things to bring to you. The first is the Studio Yearbook, a guided fill-in-the-blank journal designed to bring your creativity to life and includes all the practices I use myself to support my creative life, from working with focus areas so I know I am spending my precious time and energy on what really matters to creating full mentoring boards so I can stay attuned to my wildest, deepest, most precious and most current dreams. 

The Spring Studio Yearbook has just begun, so it is not too late to get yours and all the wonderful bonus lessons that come with it. Come on over to open thedoor.ca and check it out.  

I’m also excited to share that this summer, the one and only Journal Club is back. We will gather together weekly live for an hour of inspired and intuitive journaling. You’ll discover so much about who you are and, in the process, also connect to a really encouraging creative community, not to mention a creative mentor. That’s me. Journal Club is one of the all-time most popular offerings at Jamie Ridler Studios and I’m excited to bring it back this summer. 

Registration will open soon, so make sure you’re on our newsletter list. You will get first notice (not to mention a discount!) So again, go on over to open thedoor.ca. 

Resources for the Highly Sensitive Creative

Okay before we go, here are a couple of sensitivity resources that I promised. The first is the book The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron. It includes a self-test at the beginning to see if you relate to such statements as:  

  • I seem to be aware of subtleties in my environment. 
  • I have a rich complex inner life. 
  • I am deeply moved by the arts and music. 

So do you see why we’re looking at the relationship between creativity and sensitivity?  

The second book is one I literally just stumbled across today as I was preparing for the podcast. It’s one that is current and includes the context of things like COVID. It’s called Sensitive Is the New Strong: The Power of Empaths in an Increasingly Harsh World. It’s by Anita Moorjani. 

Now I’ve only read the very beginning of the book but I am trusting that it showed up today for a reason. Maybe that reason is you. To give you a sense of what Sensitive Is the New Strong is about, here’s a short bit from the introduction: 

The tools and suggestions I offer in this book are not the type of tips you may have read before. I’m not going to tell you how to build rock solid boundaries and shield yourself from others. This book isn’t about walls, barriers and protection. If we hide behind walls to protect ourselves, we’ll never go out into the world and shine our light. 

This book is about expansion, liberation and connection with your own divinity. It’s about speaking out, honouring yourself and loving yourself. It’s about embracing all that you are, chipping away at what you’re not about, undoing, not doing. Once you learn how to honour and develop your own gifts, I encourage you to get out there. Shine your empathic light. Take on leadershipr oles and become role models. 

That touches my heart. Perhaps it touches yours too. 

And before we go, really please remember also the wise words of poet Mary Oliver who says in her poem Wild Geese,  

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves. 

Love what you love this week, kind listener, and include in that loving yourself exactly as you. 

Thanks for hanging out with me today. I love being back on the podcast. I really appreciate everyone who let me know that you’re glad I’m back too. Scout is sitting here too. He’s one of the soft animals that I love. He’s sending along purrs and comfort too. I’ll see you in the next show. 

When You Make Something You Hate

I’m working on the painting above for a class. This photo was taken after my second pass at it. When I had finished my first pass, I took one look at it and thought ‘blech‘. I was ready to drop it, paint over it and use the board again. Then I realized something…

Hating the piece gave me permission to be reckless.

Suddenly I felt totally free. I couldn’t wreck this piece – it was already awful! I could do anything, try anything. I felt like a little kid with big messy markers who just wanted to go for it! Scribble, scribble! Glop, glop! If I was going to paint over it anyway, why not experiment? And that thought revealed the second gift of creating a piece you don’t like.

Let the unloved piece be your teacher.

The feeling of disliking our own work is so uncomfortable that we mostly want to just walk away. We want to forget we made anything so hideous! We’re afraid of what it means about us. We’re afraid it signals to ourselves and, now that it’s visible, to others that we’re not artists at all. We’ve been fooling ourselves. I mean… look at it!! Would an artist get it so completely wrong?!? The answer is yes. Artists get it wrong all the time and one piece is never the sum total of you. If you can calm your nervous system and not believe its hype, a piece you don’t like can be a tremendous teacher.

With this piece the turning point for me came when I showed the work to my sister Shannon, who I know to be a perfectly safe person to discuss my bad art with. I was able to talk out what I thought wasn’t working and find my way back in.

Here are some questions for when you don’t like a piece:

  • What specifically isn’t working?
  • What might be a resolution for that? (Bonus points if you try it!)
  • What do you like?
  • How can you build on that?

Give It Time

Sometimes we may need a break to really see our work. First, to soothe and remind ourselves that all is well and our artist’s life is not over because of this piece. Second, to give ourselves perspective. Artist Lynda Barry says it best, “There’s the drawing you are trying to make and the drawing that is actually being made – and you can’t see it until you forget what you are trying to do.” What would be different if you let the work be what it is?

Honour the Work

Honestly, I always feel uncomfortable when we generate ill will towards our work, like we’re berating a child for not living up to our expectations.* It also seems to me that it’s going to frighten away the next piece. I mean, who would want to arrive to that kind of reception?

I’m certainly not saying that you have to like all of your work. I sure don’t like all of mine, the above piece included. But I do believe that in order to move forward as an artist, to find our way and our work, we must respect each piece for what it is – maybe our teacher, maybe a step, maybe something whose value we are yet to discover.

Instead of chucking out your piece with despair, anger or frustration, ask yourself what creating it has contributed to your artistic journey, offer it your sincere gratitude and then go ahead and bin it!

(Note: This is originally from my Sunday  morning Letters from the Studio. Subscribe here if you want inspiration, Studio news and discounts!)

Embracing Yourself as an Artist

Creative Living with Jamie Episode 278:
Embracing Yourself As An Artist

What would be different if finally you embraced yourself as an artist? What if there was a creative path that involved no gatekeepers, one that was just one decision away?

Take It to Your Journal

Here are some journal questions from today’s episode

  • What would happen if you fully embraced that have always been an artistic soul?
  • What were the signs that were always there that signaled you were creative at heart?
  • What will help you accept that you are an artist?
  • What will be different when you do?

Resources & Mentions

Transcript

Introduction

Welcome to Creative Living with Jamie. I’m your guide Jamie Ridler and on this podcast you and I are going to go on a great many adventures together. We’ll explore all aspects of what it means to live a creative life and we’ll embrace ourselves as artists. We’ll get curious, will wonder and we’ll follow inspiration. We’ll wrestle with tough questions and we’ll brave challenges and sometimes will ask our friends for help. Along the way we will discover our courage, our confidence, ourselves and one another. We’ll come to know our artistic hearts and from there we will create. And that’s when the magic happens.

Episode

Hey there! I wanted to start off this week by saying thank you to all the people who let me know they are so excited about the podcast coming back. I am thrilled to hear it and I’m so glad to be back too. Yay!

Now I mentioned in the new trailer that, at least for the first little while, it’s just going to be you and me. There are so many things that I want to share and I want to share them directly with you.

So let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start.

OK corny, I know. I know. I know. But my mom loved the Sound of Music and so there we have it.

I think we should start by thinking a little bit about creative living, about what it means to live a creative life and to live as a creative and not only what it means, but also why it matters.

I’ve been coaching creative people for almost 20 years, and one of the things I’ve witnessed again and again is the great sense of freedom and relief that people experience when they just allow themselves to finally accept that they are creative by nature, when they just let themselves be.

What would happen if you fully embraced that you are and always have been an artistic soul?

Maybe that means you were always drawn to writing or painting or puppets or poetry. It might also mean you were sensitive to stories, that you noticed colours that you got lost in music. Maybe it means you love diving down rabbit holes and following your curiosity, always learning, always exploring. What does it mean to you?

What were the signs that were always there that signaled you were creative at heart?

Take some time to journal that out or find a supportive friend to talk it out. If you want to put me on pause and do it, put me on pause.

So many of us started out that way and then it seems that even though we had a creative spirit somewhere along the line, we got the message that art, whatever the medium, wasn’t for us, it was only for the “gifted”. It was only for the “talented” (Can you hear my air quotes?” It was only for the skinny ones or the pretty ones, or the teachers favourite.

As school became more and more focused on gaining a career, the arts continued to become less and less accessible.The gatekeepers became fiercer and fiercer along the way. The positions became fewer and fewer. Better to be smart and get an English degree or learn accounting or, well, pretty much anything else than pursue your art. Maybe, if you really insist on sticking with the arts you could be a teacher.

Another thing that sometimes happens is that we’re allowed some of the arts, but not all. It’s like it was OK for us to so, but not to sing. We could knit but forget about dancing. Chances are whenever we were allowed, it was because it was either useful, like you were making something practical like sewing your kids’ clothes, or it was play, something you did if you managed to have some free time, after you had done all the things you really needed to do.

But I want to tell you that there is a whole world in between. Society has really given us an extremely limited view of what it means to be creative, what art can mean in our lives and what it means to be an artist, to live a creative life.

The truth is there are millions of artists out there living in entirely different reality.

There are people out there dedicating their hearts and souls, their energy, their resources, their love, their passion, their creativity, their thought to putting on theatre, to singing in bars, to writing memoirs, to going on photo shoots to mastering an instrument, to painting up a storm, to learning carpentry.

Their work matters in a deep and profound way.

It is how they express their spirit in the world. Art, in whatever form, is how they understand themselves and how they relate to the world. It’s what they’re called to do, and they answer whether they’re paid for it or not. Whether anyone else gets it or not, they build a body of work that comes out of their very heart. They show up and learn and revel and struggle and create because it is who they are, because it is what they do.

This is available to you.

Giving your time, your effort, your resources to art because it calls you is a valid and meaningful creative path. I call it the path of devotion. Maybe you’re on it already. Maybe the idea is new to you.

Consider the thought: What if there is a deep and meaningful path for you and your art that has no gatekeepers?

That is one decision away, the decision to declare that you are an artist and making your work matters.

I’ll leave you with that thought, but just before I go, I want to give you a little bit of studio news.

Studio News

We’re just about coming up to spring and that means it’s time for the Spring studio yearbook. The yearbook is a fill in the blank creative journal designed to help you bring your creativity to life this season. You’ll learn to look for inspiration, acknowledge your achievements and bring powerful focus to the way you spend your days. You’ll tune into the rhythms of the season and you’ll dream under the full moon.

This simple journal holds all the practices I have personally followed to build and live my creative life. I know it will support you in creating yours. Check it out over it openthedoor.ca.

One Last Thing

OK, one last thing before I go, I’m going to leave you with a quote to noodle on. It’s from Anne Truitt’s wonderful memoir Daybook: “I’m not sure that I can grow as an artist until I can bring myself to accept that I am one.”

So gentle listener, what will help you accept that you too are an artist. What will be different from the moment you do? Have a beautiful week in your studio and remember, your life is your studio. I’ll see you next time.

Is Making Art Worth the Time?

When I was a little girl, I was blessed with a creative mom who believed in the magic of art and art supplies. I grew up in an environment of books, puppets, paints, maracas, markers and construction paper. Even so, sometimes my mom’s approach would shut me down, like the time I proudly showed her some drawings and she said, “That was too fast. Real art takes time.”

Real art takes time.

What a terrifying thought.

Now before I go further, let me say that as an adult it occurred to me that what my mom really meant was, “Jamie, I literally just set you up to do some drawing. How can you be finished already? Do more! Take longer! I have my own things to do!” But at the time, I just felt shot down and confronted with the concepts of ‘real art’ and ‘time’.

I think time may be one of the things that confounds us creatives the most. There’s never enough of it and knowing that, we sink into a panic about whether we’ll ever make the work we want to create in this lifetime.The problem is that the worry slows us down – even paralyzes us at times.

Time is so limited we look for guarantees.

We don’t want to start unless we know we can finish – better yet, if we know we can finish and the work will be good. And not only good but good enough that other people will love it. Even better, other people will love it so much they’ll pay for it and then we will finally know that time invested in making art was worth it

Is making your art worth the time if it doesn’t make money?
Is making your art worth the time if other people don’t appreciate it?
Is making your art worth the time if sometimes even you don’t like it?
Is making your art worth it if you run out of time before completing every project?

When is art-making worth it?

My answer is, “Always.”

I have dozens of projects I want to bring to you in the studio and 5 books so real that I can call them by name. It’s hard to make some wait in line while I work on others but I know that’s the way for me to make progress. I have no idea how many of these projects I will be able to bring into being during my lifetime, nor do I know how any of them will be received. All I know is that I will use the time I have to create what I can. I hope you’ll do the same.