While massive rainfall this past spring did wonders for my garden, it did nothing to grow imagination in my household. In fact, countless days spent indoors turned my tween-age boys into bug-eyed videogame deadbeats. And while I hate to admit it, I was getting as bored as they were, with little inspiration to do any of the projects I'd been saving for a “rainy day.”
So when a friend’s email came through suggesting we take a two-day workshop on tapping into “our personal artist” – led by best-selling author and creativity guru Julia Cameron – I jumped at the chance. Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, has sold more than four million copies worldwide and has spurred an entire creativity movement. It didn't hurt that the workshop was taking place at Kripalu, a picturesque yoga and health centre located among the rolling hills of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Once there, I found myself seated in a room with some 60 (mostly) women of all ages looking to find or reclaim their inner artist. There were healthcare professionals, writers, business owners, office administrators and even a minister. Cameron assured us that unleashing our inner artist was essential to finding fulfillment, no matter what our professions. She also insisted that there were no excuses (i.e., lack of time, financial constraints) to stop us from making it happen. When I cornered her during a break, she also told me being more creative would most definitely rub off on my kids. I was intrigued. (Cameron has also published The Artist’s Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children.)
What ensued were two long days of group activities – based on the 12-week program outlined in her book – that were at times entertaining and also draining. She encouraged us to use affirmations such as, “I am a talented person” or “I have a right to be an artist,” and showed us how our own inner critics and sensors can prevent us from being creative.
I left the session determined to use her tools at home too (all outlined in her book as well). Here are some highlights:
Rosalind Stefanac is a Toronto-based writer and says she and her sons are now finding interesting things to do even on rainy days.