Monday, January 5, 2009

Being (creatively) Kind to Yourself

Figuring it Out
One of my greatest “ah-ha” moments was when I accepted (and subsequently incorporated into my life) the phrase, “Being Kind to Yourself Makes You Strong.”
I was studying “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron at the time learning about creativity. The whole AW course was begun in response to my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I was feeling helpless, critical, and angry.

My first reaction to the being kind premise was that it sounded very selfish and self-indulgent. I had a vision of myself in fluffy high heel shoes and a lounging gown eating bon-bons. After all, I was heavily influenced by generations of hard-working, long sacrificing women who believed idle hands were the devil’s playground. Something wasn’t worth doing unless it was worth doing for the benefit of someone else.

Insert Light Bulb on Top of Head
What I finally grasped was that being kind to yourself doesn’t mean being selfish, it means nurturing yourself which ultimately benefits you and those around you. When you can give fully of yourself because you have been kind to your body and soul—everyone does benefit.

There are scads of ways to be kind to yourself. Simple, yet hard to achieve at times, activities such as exercising, taking in proper nutrients, resting, going for a walk, reading a meditation, and, of course, creating for creativity’s sake. Create something you will enjoy without regard for other’s opinions or tastes.

Doing projects like my art journal, pages of words and images created for myself, inspires me to create more traditional projects for others. Handmade gifts for the holidays are a staple in my life. They allow me to do more than I could if just buying things in the store.

When I create a gift for others though, I do give thought to the recipient’s tastes and décor since I want to communicate love in ways they understand. By allowing my self free reign in my journals and scrapbooks, I can better create for others as gifts.

Try a Project Just for Yourself

This year Sir Henry and I made handmade calendars for our generation and parents along with customized potato chip cans for nieces and nephews. I’ve created a web page with instructions and more photos of both projects:

Hybrid Calendars -
Digital Snack Can Covers -

We couldn’t show these projects before Christmas because we understand we have a few blog readers in the family (love you). So here are the projects now with the encouragement to creative souls to try them for YOURSELF and enjoy the freedom of no-restraint art to start your year off right.

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