I have a picture on my desk that says, “All my life I wanted to be an artist but did not envision many specifics about what that journey might look like. It was simply BE AN ARTIST.” I liked it because it summed up my repressed dreams and I didn’t know what to do. Anything requiring imagination and creativity is “art.” Hobbies are a form of art.
Having a hobby when we retire can be a lifesaver. I had heard women say when their husband retired all he did was sit in his recliner and watch TV. Some people have died shortly after retiring and as far as anyone knew there had been nothing wrong. I have known women who became very depressed. Sometimes we let our careers become our identity, and when we retire, we feel like we have lost our purpose.
It’s not that hobbies are just for old people, many artists are young, so art as something we enjoy is something vital for all ages. Art of any venue can be a hobby. I think art comes from the soul. Anyone can crochet an afghan from a pattern or make a birdhouse, but when someone puts their soul into these creations, there is something special about them.
Life is full of soul crushers, and almost anything can be a soul crusher when we give it a misplaced priority for too long. Whew! What am I talking about? I hate to say it, but our phones, social media, games become mindless ways to waste time and our life. None of them are wrong; it’s the priority we give them that could be a problem. I’m not preaching, but I am concerned about where all these misplaced priorities are leading us. The reason I bring this up is that I have done it myself. I have wasted hours on social media. HOURS!
I don’t think I’m an addictive kind of person, but I put a lot of time and money into my hobbies. Hobbies can become money pits. I bought some yarn today, and on my way home from the store, I thought about all the yarn I have and how I have run out of places to hide it. I believe that if I never bought any yarn again for five years, I would have yarn in my stash to make any project I might want to do. But I don’t have every color, and there’s always something new OR a sale.
Finding our Artist Soul
Julie Cameron in her course, “The Artist’s Way,” suggests two essential tools to discover your artist. The first tool is” morning pages.” She suggests that we write three pages in a journal or notebook every day. I use a spiral notebook and buy twelve of them in the fall when they are on sale for school kids. (we’re all just kids really) She has done this for twenty-five years, seven days a week. I do it too, on and off. That is my style—on and off. I don’t have to worry about spelling or punctuation because no one but me sees the pages. Julie calls it letting our mind siphon off the random thoughts we have. Thoughts about what I want to accomplish or what I wish I had done differently or kinder. You know what your random thoughts are. These pages are for letting them have their way, but as I write them on the pages, I can allow them to go. Sometimes I explore my feelings. I look at how I feel and look for a cause. I recall a memory and explore it. It’s healing! Ms. Cameron suggests doing them first thing in the morning. Your opening line may be, “I want to go back to bed,” but don’t do it! At first, it may not seem like a productive practice, but you will find that you discover something about yourself or your relationships or your spending that you hadn’t thought about before. It is healing in many ways. Three pages can seem like a lot of pages to write but keep at it until they are all filled. It’s in those desperate times of “what can I write” that I get to the bottom of a lot of my concerns or questions.
Soul, Freedom, Art
Another tool for finding your creative artist is to take your artist self for an artist date. This too is an idea from “The Artist’s Way.” It seems weird at first and maybe a waste of time or like you should have someone with you. Make a plan to do something you like to do and do it alone with your inner artist. (this is not weird, and you don’t have to do any incantations or meditation.) Perhaps you would like a walk in a park or trails in the woods, or maybe going to a concert or eating Thai food. The possibilities are endless. Maybe eating Thai food alone seems weird, but I bet you will taste the food a lot more by yourself than if you are trying to keep up a conversation or feel you must entertain. Artist’s dates may seem especially wrong if you are an extrovert, but on the other hand, you may find out some things about yourself that you wouldn’t with others around.
Think about your interests. Is it art? Go to an art gallery. Is it writing? Go to a bookstore and browse. Have you always wanted to draw but feel you can’t draw a straight line? Go to an art or hobby store and notice all the tools an artist uses to draw a straight line.
Doing morning pages can uncover some desires we didn’t know we had. Maybe you find you want to try crafting beer. There is a world of ideas out there, and you are made in the image of the greatest Creator in the world.
For more information on these great tools to reconnect or tune into your soul, read “The Artist’s Way,” by Julie Cameron.