Do you have a favorite Goddess? Lately mine has been Brigid, who is an Irish goddess of (among other things) poetry, inspiration and song. She is also a goddess of healing. In my mind, it is no accident that these three attributes go together.
If there is one thing that has become abundantly clear to me over the years, it one of the best things we can do for our mind and spirit is to find regular creative outlets. I know for myself that when I don’t have them, I find my spirit starved of nourishment and shriveling up like a desiccated flower. I start hating my decidedly non-creative day job and feeling stuck, devoid of purpose, and mildly depressed.
Even worse, during the odd times I do make a half-assed attempt to do something creative, my analytical brain gets in my way. It starts offering critiques like “not good enough”, “who are you kidding?”, “what’s the point?” and the ever popular “sucks like an industrial grade hoover”.
On the other hand, when I actively seek out regular opportunities to express myself creatively, suddenly I start to feel more happy and playful. I begin to blossom. I get silly ideas like the disco file cabinet that matches nothing in my office space, but makes me want to sing Abba songs every time I look at it. And, let me tell you, it’s hard to take someone who is doing their best to stress you out as seriously when you have Fernando running through your head as when you don’t. I start feeling a firmer sense of who I really am and what I love about life.
And that is why I am really excited about the 100 days of bad art project my friends Jen and Bec and I have embarked upon between now and December. The point of it is not to be brilliant, but just to create something every day. The rules are loose (because that’s how we roll) and you can pretty much do anything you want. While I originally thought that I would do more with music or writing (my go to Arts), I’ve been focusing largely on sketching, which has been liberating.
You see, if there’s one thing I don’t consider myself good at, it is visual arts, especially drawing and painting. This eliminates a HUGE amount of pressure. There are no expectations on my part that what I produce be “good”. Good is not even the point. Doing is the point, so I am free to play around. Funny thing is that when I remove ego and expectation from the equation, I find myself constantly surprised by what I can do.
If you’d asked me a week ago, I would have never believed I could draw even a semi-reasonable representation of Nefertiti. Now she is my favorite sketch thusfar and I keep thinking: “If I can do this in a medium for which I never thought I had an aptitude, imagine what I could do if I applied the same focused sense of play to one that comes more easily? And, oh my gosh, what if I really can paint? Or sculpt or do any number of things I never thought I could do, because I never bothered to allow myself time to play with them?”
I’m telling you, it is liberating and fun and I am so thankful that a casual conversation between myself and a friend evolved into a project that is slowly beginning to wake me out of my stupor and remind me of the things I really love.