Today I received an email from my dear cousin Cindi. She is a therapist and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Just being with her makes me feel more calm and gentle and centered.
What struck me about her email was the idea that we should pause and reflect on all of the experiences of the last year, both good and bad, happy or sad, exciting or depressing and that “most likely your 2016 was quite a mixture of many rich moments that make up daily living.” Isn’t that true? In our every day lives as humans and in our practices as artists. We have successes and failures, ups and downs, moments of creative genius and moments of frustrating blockage. It’s very easy to focus on the negatives. On what we didn’t do, or on what we did wrong. More productive, I think, to look at every aspect and go from there.
She went on to encourage the idea of intentions, rather than resolutions for the New Year. Here is Cindi’s description of the difference: ” Intentions come from the heart and are gentler ways of getting yourself to live the life that matters to you. Setting intentions is more about connecting with your values rather than some wished for outcome. Intentions help you to align your daily living practices with what’s most important, and they don’t set you up for failure the way resolutions do… How many years have you made the same resolutions, only to fall off the path before February? …When you set an intention, you are creating a scaffolding that always helps you to go in the right direction.”
So, I’d like to propose that you take some time to set intentions for your practice as an artist. Again, following Cindi’s lead, here are some questions that you might ask yourself in setting your intentions for 2017.
- Why do I make art?
- Who do I make art for?
- What is it about making art that I value?
- What do I wish for in my art making?
- How can I support myself in being an artist?
- What do I need to change in my life to make more time for art?
Answering these questions will help guide you towards intentions.
Here are some sample intentions that I created based on my answers to the above questions. Yours may be similar, or very different.
- May I use my day to create art and help others make art.
- May I remember that making art is more important than making art perfectly.
- May I be aware when I am using other activities as an excuse to avoid a difficult part of making art.
- May I be kind to myself when I make mistakes.
- May I remember that it is okay to say “no” to others to make time for my art.
In my case, I’ve printed these out and I’m putting them on the back of my studio door. The idea being that I’ll see them each morning as I enter the studio and close the door. They are meant as a reminder to help me refocus and set the tone for my studio time.
I’d love to hear about your intentions for 2017. Please feel free to post them in the comments.