HOW TO RESTOCK IF YOU'VE OVERFISHED YOUR POND

When we are feeling listless and dissatisfied, it’s a sure sign that our ponds need to be restocked.

INTRO:

Today I have Karen from Profound Journey guest posting for Social Saturday. I met Karen through the AtoZ Challenge in April (it was the best Challenge so far for connecting with other fantastic Midlife bloggers!) Somewhere along the way, we just clicked - I think because Karen takes the time to write a thoughtful comment and to reply to those on her blog in a considered way too.

Karen is a deep thinker (hence her "Profound Journey") and today she shares how to re-fill your well when the levels feel low.

RESTOCK YOUR POND: A DIFFERENT TAKE ON ARTIST DATES

My blog is called Profound Journey. Lately, though, nothing has been profound about it or me, other than a profoundly deep and dark feeling of ennui—that soul-sucking weariness that makes every action an effort.

Have you been feeling that way? If you’re a person who creates anything, from a delicious meal to an inspiring blog post to a vibrant painting, chances are good that you too have had your share of dark days.


WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU?

Rest easy. It is unlikely that there is anything seriously wrong with you. Although you may feel like every creative effort is a slow crawl through a vat of molasses, you haven’t acquired a mysterious sleeping sickness. Nor have you come to the abrupt end of your creative life. Please don’t give up on your blog, your quilting, or that dream of scrapbooking your life story for your grandchildren.

All that has happened is that you have overfished your pond, and you need to restock.


YOUR PERSONAL POND

The pond metaphor comes from Julia Cameron, author of what her publishers refer to as “the Artist’s Way Kingdom” – dozens of books about living a creative life.

Cameron reminds us that every time we create, we dip into our inner pond of experiences we’ve had, books we’ve read, movies and images we have seen.

By Midlife, our ponds are well-stocked, but they aren’t limitless. When we are feeling listless and dissatisfied, it’s a sure sign that our ponds need to be restocked.



When we are feeling listless and dissatisfied, it’s a sure sign that our ponds need to be restocked.

THE RULES OF RESTOCKING

Cameron refers to the restocking process as going on “artist dates”. Her rules for these dates include:

1. Must be once a week. Any less frequent and the restocking will be too slow to be of use to you. Put your artist date on your calendar.

2. Needs to last a couple of hours. This is not a 15 minute activity you shove in between chores.

3. In fact, it can’t have anything to do with chores. Cameron refers to artist dates as “assigned play” and says they are meant to “fire up your imagination, spark whimsy” and “woo your consciousness.”

4. They need to be done alone so that you don’t have to consider anyone’s desires other than your own.


I PROPOSE ANOTHER RULE

A quick online search will result in a dozen or more lists of ideas for artist dates. But be cautious. I found several that ignored the rule about no chores. “Spend an hour working on something you’ve been putting off” will further drain your pond, not replenish it.

Personally, I’m also not a fan of artist date activities that would more appropriately be labeled as ‘self-care’. Taking a bubble bath, for example, is relaxing and restorative, but it doesn’t do much for me in terms of enhanced creativity.

So I propose a fifth rule. Here are six categories of activities that I think provide the fresh perspective, the feeling of enchantment that I see as the real purview of an artist date.


ARTIST DATES FOR ENCHANTMENT AND A FRESH PERSPECTIVE

1. Read in an area that you are interested in and know a lot about. If you don’t have time for entire books, type “quotes about….” into a search engine. Select the Goodreads option which usually offers longer quotes with more context as well as the book source where you can learn more. I can’t tell you how many times a pithy quote has opened up dozens of possibilities in my mind, whether for visual art or writing.

2. Learn about something you know absolutely nothing about. Go to a public lecture, watch a documentary, visit a place related to the topic. I’ve always wanted to learn about the Japanese tea ceremony, and am sure that my interest is an indication that a creative connection is at hand.

3. Give yourself limits. Take $5-$10 and go to a store: dollar, art, office supply, hardware, or international market. Buy something that you can do something new with. Use it right away.

4. Look with fresh eyes. Literally, give yourself a new perspective on the world by riding a carousel horse, a Ferris wheel, or a bus through your own locality. Go on a guided walk of your own town, or visit a local farm or business that offers tours. 

5. Fill yourself with images. I don’t agree that you shouldn’t binge watch television when on an artist’s date. What matters is what you choose to watch. For example, I’m currently watching all of my recorded episodes of Genius: Pablo Picasso and am getting all kinds of ideas and encouragement for my own work even though I’m a) not a genius, and b) not a visual artist.

You can also fill yourself with images by watching a movie that is different from what you’d normally view--an animated film perhaps, or one with subtitles. Or take your camera when on a walk and challenge yourself to snap two dozen photos, or everything you can see that has the colour orange.

6. Mine your past for play memories and relive them. If blowing bubbles fascinated you as a child, pull out the dish soap and glycerin. Buy a hunk of modeling clay or plasticine and make something. Smash it and make something else. Playing like you did as a child has the power to enchant.


We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you needing to restock your pond? Do you feel a bit dry and lifeless creatively? Do any of these suggestions strike a chord with you?

Karen and Where You Can Find Her
 

Karen was all about her work as a teacher, workshop leader, and author until she finally burned out after too many flights, conference centers, and publishing deadlines. Although it didn’t feel like it at the time, her burnout was the very best thing that could have happened because it freed her up to start figuring out what her final thirty years might look like. She shares her ideas, research and musings with a wonderful community of similarly questing women on her blog.



When we are feeling listless and dissatisfied, it’s a sure sign that our ponds need to be restocked.

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66 comments

  1. oh ho so timely karen - just returned from NZed and family and so understocked I have got unwell - those moments when everything falls apart - teeth head arm leg etc and after a bit one can feel dispirited and creative becomes a foreign language - dark nightS of the soul - surely I am not alone - we have many of them.
    and the book you mention was waiting for me - so I begin and I remember how much I dislike Julia's method of writing although I enjoy what she is offering .
    Karen your rules of engagement are excellent and I might add that it is good to a/ plan a date so it is something to anticipate( which tosses up other perspectives as well? and b/ to latch onto the date that finds you in the moment - the paradox once again- and yet both serve us in different ways .
    thank you I am already cheered up and grateful for your profound journey insights karen and leanne your masterful sense of bringing the womens wisdoms together.
    xx

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    1. Hi Sandra, so sorry to hear that your well is running dry - and the health implications that always go with depletion of our reserves. I hope you restock and rest and feel your old self again soon - and despite the tiredness, I'm glad that you had the opportunity to spend time with family.
      Karen's insights are really spot on - I'm feeling like my blogging well is running low, so these suggestions are very timely for me too.

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    2. Hi Sandra,
      The body knows, doesn't it my friend. When we ignore our soul's demand for replenishing, teeth, head, arm, leg etc make sure we won't ignore for long. It's sounding like you need a double whammy, Sandra - first some self-care - a deep rest, and then an artist date or two. I do hope you've planned the date(s) for the latter and have already started in on the former. Take good care.

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  2. Some great tips here. As a writer I'm a fan of the artists date. Although I like to get out and about and read and take photos, sometimes the best way to revitalise my creativity is to spend a Saturday baking. It's something that I don't have to do - I usually send the proceeds to my daughter's work - but there's nothing like pottering about on a Saturday afternoon getting floury with the music blaring.

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    1. I think we all have our ways to de-compress and re-stoke our fires don't we Jo? I love that yours is baking - and I can understand it more in the light of your French cooking adventure. I'm not much of a baker but some fresh air and sunshine, or a good book always leave me feeling revived.

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    2. Hi Jo,
      Like Leanne, I'm not much of a baker, yet your description did revive a wonderful memory of really getting into making and decorating sugar cookies a couple of Christmases ago. I too had the music blaring and it was such a good time. Unlike you, unfortunately, I ate as many as I gave away so the experience wasn't great for self-care, but it was indeed a terrific artist's date. Thanks for commenting Jo, and enjoy your baking.

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  3. Karen - excellent post! I have not read one of Julie Cameron's books, but feel that between you and Molly sharing your insights, I have. Although I've never practiced artist dates, I would agree with the two points of not doing a chore and no self-care. Sparking creativity goes beyond daily maintenance. And this post is perfectly timed for me today. I'm feeling stuck on a few levels and have been pondering all day what might help me kickstart my enthusiasm and creative juices. I've been carving out weekends to have little to no obligations, so I think I'll try one (or two) of your suggestions this weekend. Thanks!

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    1. I'm with you Janet on feeling the need for a little inspiration and also in trying to keep my weekends free from all the little obligations and chores. It's refreshing sometimes to be able to have time to spontaneously devote to something interesting that pops up.
      I haven't read her books either but feel like I have a pretty good understanding of them from other bloggers' insights too.

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    2. Hi Janet,
      I've had the feeling that you've been feeling a bit stuck lately. It's not surprising - you blogged daily in July and did home renovations and put thousands of miles on your car. I'm glad you've chosen self-care by keeping your weekends free, and now a gentle artist date or two might be just the ticket. I'll be thinking of you!

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    3. Thanks Karen -- I'm particularly feeling stuck professionally for a few reasons - and figuring it out might take a bit more than an artist date. That said, I'm confident it'll work out - just not certain how quickly.

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  4. Leanne, thanks so much for inviting Karen to write a guest post. I think she needs a wider audience to share her wisdom.

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    1. I completely agree Janet - she has so many insights to offer doesn't she? I feel very honoured to have so many great Midlife bloggers gracing my Saturdays (yourself included!)

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    2. Ahhh, thanks so much Janet. I appreciate the virtual hug.

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  5. Hi Leanne & Karen! I'm a big fan of Julia Cameron but I agree...much as I love her morning pages I haven't ever gotten into her "artist's dates." Of course, with that said, I do regularly try to find inspiration and "recharge my batteries" or refill my "well" by trying new things. Travel always inspires me :-) and I also like to read new books about topics that I may or may not know anything about. And YES to watching certain different shows....like that show about Pablo Picasso was/is VERY inspiring!!! Thanks for the inspiration! ~Kathy

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    1. Hi Kathy,
      I should have guessed you'd be watching Genius too. I just finished the final episode two nights ago. And now I want to read books about the man, and look at his paintings, understand his world. All of those things are perfectly good artist dates, in my opinion, and I know that you do all of them quite regularly. I think the thing that puts me off about Cameron's take on artist dates is her insistence that they be taken alone. I suppose that's important for women with families or women who fill their lives with social commitments, but we are not those women. In the profound words of an excellent blogger and friend - "We get to make it up." See? I do pay close attention to your posts and emails. :)

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    2. Now I feel like I have to investigate this series on Picasso if you're both so complimentary of it. I've never understood his art (or really liked most of it) so it would probably do me good to get a better understanding of it.

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  6. Hi Leanne and Karen,
    I love this...I am so in need of a restocking. The fact that artist dates must be like 2 hours long and not something you cram in between chores in 15 minutes is fantastic. Right now I am handling a lot of stuff because others are away and a lot falls on my shoulders. Once everyone is back in a couple of weeks I am taking my turn at a three week break. They can handle my jobs for those three weeks and see how easy it is. LOL ;) Karen I think your sixth rule is spot on....I used to like coloring.Yes, I do believe I will take that $5 or $10 and go to the dollar store and get a nice big coloring book and a big pack of crayons. I am feeling rather old these days and a flash back to my childhood sounds wonderful and invigorating. Thanks for the reminder to play. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the whole adult responsibility trap that we forget to replenish our own well.
    Thanks Leanne for hosting Karen on your blog. Karen has some great ideas and interesting research topics that bring a fresh perspective to everyday life. :)

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    1. Hello CatzRgr8 - I too color! It was all the rage here in the U.S. a few years back with fancy diagrams and such -- but I still enjoy the simple, old-fashioned flower/dog/beachball type books too.

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    2. I imagine you are counting the sleeps until your three week break, the way we used to count the sleeps until our birthday or Santa Claus.
      Good for you for planning ahead to get yourself a colouring book and crayons. I suspect we're similar in that I like to keep my head down and focus on 'clearing the decks' before I take a break. But if we're not, and you're willing to give yourself some relief now, maybe you'll buy the colouring book and crayons sooner rather than later and find a couple of hours this weekend or next?
      Thanks so much for the compliment about my blog. It means more than you know.

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    3. I'm a huge colouring fan! I have a couple of beautiful adult books by Johanna Basford and another one of unicorns and fairies. I love using gel pens for the vibrancy of the colours and just find the whole process so relaxing. I actually used to colour before it became something that adults admitted to - now everyone seems to enjoy the sense of simple pleasure that you get when your only decision is what colour to choose next!

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    4. Janet Mary Cobb - thanks for admitting that you color too...it always helps knowing you are not alone! :) I am a fan of both types of coloring; the fancy intricate mandalas type of thing but also the little kid Bugs Bunny, beach ball, and flower/dog type with the large pictures meant for little hands that are still trying to get the fine motor coordination thing going.

      Karen - I am counting the sleeps actually. This Sunday we have a guest worship team playing at our church but ah, next week our regular worship leader AND the man who runs the laptop is back then too. Right now, and for the past two weeks, I have been dealing with all of it in the sound booth. I need a break and actually think your idea of purchasing a colouring book and crayons sooner rather than later sounds wonderful! We are similar in the keeping the head down clearing the decks and planning the break thing. I am way too committed to just take off with no warning...I give people the heads up and then do it. You are welcome for the compliment about your blog - it is well deserved.

      Leanne - Those adult colouring books especially the unicorns and fairies sounds wonderful using gel pens. Wow, I can just imagine the colour that POPS from doing that. I think that is the draw for me too...the assortment of colours and picturing in my head which colour would look the best in this space or that one.

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    5. I think that's why time disappears - we just get in the "zone" and it's all about colours and prettiness and the world fades away - which is why it's sooooo relaxing!

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  7. Wonderful post and I'm saving it for that eventual day I will feel uncharged. A comment about Karen, though. You introduced her as "Karen takes the time to write a thoughtful comment and to reply to those on her blog in a considered way". That is also what attracted me to her, even before I fell in love with her posts. It's rare.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kali. I really appreciate your kind and thoughtful comment.
      How fortunate and how wonderful for you that you don't routinely have that experience of feeling uncharged. If you feel inclined, I'd love to hear about what keeps your pond so well and consistently stocked. I'm always looking for great new ideas.

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    2. She does write an excellent comment Kali - giving consideration to what others have taken the time to write, and responding in kind is such a gift - and Karen has it down to a fine art :)

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  8. Hi Karen! Lovely to see you here. I liked your comment about how artists' dates don't necessarily NEED to be solitary. I've had a hard time putting this element of Julia's into practice, although I have done a few. I think it's given me a nudge to do things on my own, but still it's not a regular occurrence for me. That said, one thing I did recently was purchase a book I recall my mom reading me. It came up in the memoir work... not at all sure why I recall the name of this book...but I do and it's still in publication and I bought it. My next artist date is reading that kiddie book. And seeing where that takes me.

    Also, I like coloring as well. I have a mandala coloring book that is delightful. And while I loved the idea of going to buy more colored pens (gel ones like Leanne suggested or PrismaColor ones my great-neice swears by) I can't give myself permission to buy any more art supplies (even if just $5-10) because I have so much already, unused.

    I adore how you took Julia's artist date idea and made it "real"... things real people can do. I'm planning to steal the "quotes about" element for some future blogging.

    Thanks Leanne for hosting Karen!

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    1. Hi Pat,
      I just did that about the kiddie book! No surprise there, right? I have a book on my shelf of 365 Bedtime Stories that I remembered loving when I was a little kid. Each story is just a page long and each deals with one of the half dozen families that live on one particular street. There's a map of the street inside the front cover. I reread the entire book when I was working on the ages 0-5 part of my memoir writing and found two things: 1) Whew, did I grow up in a time of racial prejudice and myopic thought - the black Aunt Jemimah type housekeeper, the family with two children, both blonde, and the dad who shows up at dinner time in his suit and tie. And 2) I actually fully remembered half a dozen of the stories and LOVED reading them again. I felt the feelings I had at the time - usually pleasure and laughter. In one story, the kids make little women out of candy and crepe paper. I asked my mother if we ever did that and she doesn't think so. I think I wanted to do it at the time and now, for an artist date, I'm going to!

      So I have lots of unused art supplies too. What I've done that is getting me using them more, is that I've sorted my supplies into two batches - wet and dry. So watercolour crayons and pencil crayons go in the wet section, along with acrylic paints, and oil pastels that you can use wet. But that's not the big part. The big part is that within each batch, I've further sorted according to colour. So all of my wet reds are together, my dry reds are together etc. What I've noticed is that I'm using the materials more often because I only have to think of colour. When I was focused on the medium - watercolour, oil pastel, pencil crayon etc. - I got intimidated by the options really quickly and didn't feel very capable of using any of them.

      Can't wait to see where your artist dates take you, Pat.

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    2. Hi Pat - I think you should start suggesting gel pens and prisma colours for your birthday or Christmas presents - guilt free accumulation! I also have a couple of childhood books that always make me feel the same pleasure as I did when I read them in my youth - I'm not a hoarder, but I've kept them because they always make me smile.

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  9. Hi, Leanne - Thank you for featuring Karen here. I haven't read Julie Cameron's books. But like Janet, I 'm familiar with some of her concepts through the blogs of Pat, Molly, Karen, and others. For me, the most significant boost to my creativity is getting enough truly restful sleep. Without it, my brain quickly becomes haggard and dull. With it, I often wake up with a full blog post already written in my mind...and I have to quickly grab my computer before the sentences fade away! Great post.

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    1. You do that too? I often wake up having written the first paragraph or two of a blog post in my sleep. I'm so relieved to know that it's a shared experience, Donna!

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    2. I'd love to wake up with a full blog post in my head Donna - but I will admit to churning thoughts around when I go for my morning walk - and that often gives me some fresh ideas and inspiration for posts later down the track. And a good night's sleep is the Midlifer's best friend :)

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  10. I so agree with this! When the container's empty, refill!

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    1. For sure, Diane. And hopefully before it gets completely empty. I've found that when the container is completely empty, I'm too exhausted and despondent to take myself off on an artist's date. Far better to catch it at early stages.

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    2. It's figuring out what to re-fill it with that I'm mulling over atm Diane - more of the same or something totally different? - hmmmmmm

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  11. I like your ideas better than the ones regarding chores! And, yes, as an artist myself, I have experienced days when the spark feels gone for good. But then I try to be patient with myself, knowing that it will return in due time. You just can't be on full volume all the time! Right now, I'm in need of a change of scenery, which is coming up soon when I travel to northern England to hike Hadrian's wall for 10 days.

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    1. Now there's an extended artist's date if ever there was one! Have an amazing time hiking Hadrian's wall. I didn't even know that was a thing - I'm off to look it up.

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    2. Jean I hope there'll be a blog post and pictures from your walk - I love reading about all the great walks people go on - the Camino Trail, the coast to coast through England, and the Lake District walks (from bnb to bnb) sound fabulous too.

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  12. How lovely to see you on Social Saturday, Karen. As you know Leanne is my BBB (Best Blogging Buddy) and I've also appreciated connecting with you and growing our friendship over the last 6 months. I love the idea of the 'pond'. You know that lately I've been in a state of flux and I realise from your post that I do need to 'restock my pond' because it is definitely doesn't have many fist left! I also love your ideas of ways to restock our pond and whilst I do love to relax in a bubble bath and still feel this type of self-care is important for me, I also agree with the 6 points you have written about. You have given me ideas that will educate me as well as re-stock my pond. Thanks you for your advice and I'm feeling motivated and inspired to get started. Thank you Leanne, for having Karen as a guest as she certainly provides wisdom for us to continue to be nurtured and grow. Have a beautiful weekend, ladies. xx

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    1. Hi Sue,
      I do know that Leanne is your BBB and I feel really privileged and honoured to hang out occasionally online and via email with the two of you.
      I think it's a case of self-care AND artist dates, not self-care OR. Doing both is, I think, what not only restocks the pond but makes it a pleasant place to visit - if that's not milking the metaphor beyond all reason!
      P.S. I also love bubble baths. We can't ever give up on those Sue!

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    2. Hey BBB! I think we have an extended sisterhood that Karen is part of these days. Isn't it interesting how you just connect with some people right from the start - and Karen is certainly one of those people. I've decided to make her an honourary Aussie because she'd fit right in down here :)

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  13. I love this post, Karen, and the metaphor of fishing and restocking the pond. I'm certainly aware of that empty feeling when the pond is dry ... like now, trying to string a sequence of words together into a coherent comment.
    Although my usual go-to strategy is to get out and be active - preferably in nature - to stimulate my creative thinking, lately I find myself journeying 'inner' instead.

    Occasionally our individual profound journeys take us into deep, dark places. I'm starting to appreciate that this is a normal part of the cycle to reflect, refocus, and renew. What we need during those periods can vary but I'm learning to respect the lethargy that comes with it.

    As you know, I've recently started these 'play dates' with myself. The hardest part has been giving myself permission to turn a blind eye to all the 'shoulds' demanding my attention, but I'd like to think it's getting easier. I can't say I'm any closer to being restocked, but at least I feel like I'm stretching muscles ... and we all know that stretching is good ��


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    1. HI Joanne,
      A dream from a couple of nights ago had me labouring away in a cave - speaking of deep, dark places. That's the image that comes to mind when I read your comment, but instead of working in that cave I imagine you as a bear emerging from hibernation - feeling the lethargy yes of where you are in the current phase of your profound journey, but also stretching those muscles as you prepare for your emergence. I don't know what you are emerging to but there's one thing I'm absolutely certain of - This is gonna be good!!

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    2. I really like Karen's picture of an awakening after hibernation - it has the sense of being dormant and then waking up, stretching, and re-engaging with the world in a refreshed and invigorated way - something we could all do with more of!

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    3. I don't know why I missed this reply until now. As always, I like the way you paint a picture. The imagery of the lethargic bear coming out of hibernation is pretty powerful. It matches well with this sense of trying to wake up my potential.

      The question I have is how did you feel about being in the cave in your dream? My cave dreams are never pretty {shudder}

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  14. Hi Karen - I agree with your six suggestions. They work for me. I think self-awareness about our own 'pond' capacity and what's happening to it will help us take a proactive restocking before the pond is dry. I'd like to thank Leanne for featuring your great post here.

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    1. Hi Natalie,
      I certainly agree that self-awareness is crucial. Without it, those pond levels get dangerously low.
      I too thank Leanne for featuring me on Social Saturday. Leanne, it was a great pleasure being on your site and chatting with your crew, my tribe, our mutual community.

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    2. Hi Natalie - I love how we cross paths in the blogging community - Karen knows quite a few of the same bloggers that I do and that makes guest posting so much more fun. We all have something different to offer and it's been great sharing different posts on Saturdays.

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  15. Great ideas! I'm trying to make time every night to read before bed, because I feel that it helps me become more creative when I'm able to let everything from the rest of the day go and get immersed in a story. But I do like your idea of picking something cheap up from a dollar shop and doing it that day. I think I'd like to try paint by numbers, because I'm not artistically talented at all, but I like the idea of being able to paint something.

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    1. That's why I like colouring in - you don't have to be creative at all, just splash lots of colours around and enjoy the experience. I started off watching people do it properly on youtube and then decided to take the pressure off and just do it my way and I love the freedom and the fact that it's something nobody else sees - a quiet pleasure!

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    2. I think we put such pressure on ourselves to be artistically talented like 'real' artists. Let's do it for ourselves - because it is so soul-satisfying. I've found that buying a few paints from the dollar store - colours you love - and spreading them around the paper is so satisfying in and of itself. Paint has such a wonderful texture to it. And hey, what have you got to lose? A few dollars for a pleasurable hour. Not a bad tradeoff!

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  16. I definitely need to restock my pond! We have been moving the last two weeks and it is exhausting! I am not finding much to be creative about in the actual moving process. Mostly I just fall asleep immediately after my head hits the pillow. Now that the stuff is in the new house- the creative part can begin. Every empty wall and every missing chair is an opportunity for me to discover something new or different. I am hoping that the decorating will inspire me. I have a nice office too- and am excited to think about how to decorate it.

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    1. Michele after reading about your backwards-ing and forwards-ing across the road between houses, I'm not at all surprised that you're mentally drained! Decorating is going to be such fun for you - especially your own office space - so much scope for your creative juices!

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    2. Hi Michele,
      I envy you the blank canvas of your new home. What a wonderfully rich, creative opportunity - and you seem to me to be at the perfect point in your life to take full advantage of this time. Can't wait to read about what you discover about yourself and life through your creations.

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  17. Greetings from the molasses vat! That's exactly how I've felt all summer, for whatever reason. I'm frustrated that I haven't gotten more done, but old enough to know that sometimes this just happens and I will eventually move past it. Karen, I love how you've personalized the suggestions for restocking the pond! I'm definitely going to take $10 and buy something new. I feel like it needs to be intricate, so maybe some kind of puzzle. Perhaps I need to work on something that will shut my brain up for a while :-)

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    1. Hi Jenny - lovely to have you visiting - and yes Karen's suggestions are so do-able aren't they? And for people like me (cheapskates at heart) having a $5-$10 suggestion in the mix is great. I'm contemplating taking up ukele lessons to use a different part of my brain - I don't have a musical bone in my body, but who knows what will happen if I buy a ukele - and they come in purple too!

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    2. From the molasses vat. You have such a vibrant way with words, Jenny. Something intricate - that's interesting that you feel the need. What a great idea of going that route to "shut the duck up" rather than plunging cold turkey into something that is supposed to be 'calming' - and never is, becoming just another thing we beat ourselves with when we can't calm down.

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  18. Hi Karen and Leanne,

    Finally getting around to commenting. Excellent post with many great ideas as usual!
    I wanted to share this - which you may find funny (I do) - but I get many creative ideas when doing mundane household chores. I joke that my best ideas come to me while scrubbing the toilet, but it is actually no joke - it is often true!
    I think because I find housework so damn boring, my mind rebels by taking flights of fancy. Might not work for everyone, but perhaps worth a try?
    Plus bonus of cleaner house...

    Deb

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    1. Housework is one of my least favourite things in life Deb - my husband does a lot of it these days because I think he got sick of hearing me whinge about it for 30+ years! I find my inspiration comes on my morning walks when I have nothing going on in my head and I walk the same route so I have time to ponder.

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    2. Hi Deb,
      I guess your focus on housework is like my obsession with 'clearing the decks'. But since I tend to do reorganizing and computer stuff rather than scrub toilets, I don't get the benefit of mental flights of fancy. So I'm buying that what you do actually works as an artist date for you... but don't think I'll ever follow suit :)

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  19. What a refreshing post and even though I knew what Julia Cameron's book was about, I see here that I perhaps need to do a little more towards taking me out of an artist's date.

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week's optional prompt is a photo-based one: Share Your Snaps 27/8/18. Denyse

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    1. I think your Mandelas fit into this Denyse - they are creative and use a different part of your brain to writing. It's interesting how we all have different things that engage our minds and switch us on or off depending on what we need at the time.

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    2. Hi Denyse,
      I agree with Leanne. Your mandalas seem to work as a terrific artist date for you, and they have the benefit of being something you do every day. You don't even have to put them on a calendar! That said, doing something new and different in addition to your mandalas? Nothing wrong with that either :)

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  20. I think the pond is a great metaphor for life in general, and I just love that quote "overfished your pond" - I think I can see that making its way into my repertoire. "It's okay, I've just overfished my pond. I need to go restock", lol.
    When it comes to ideas for blog writing, I find reading widely gives me new and interesting things to focus on, but there's nothing like writing about my own experiences and what I've learned from these.
    Great to "meet" you Karen, and thanks Leanne for another interesting guest post xx

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    1. Hi Sue,
      Great to meet you as well. I too love the overfished pond metaphor. Dealing with an overfished pond feels somehow manageable in a way that just saying we're feeling overwhelmed does not.

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    2. I like that an over-fished pond can be restocked, whereas a well that's run dry takes a bit more effort to get flowing again. It's such a great thought that we can fill our ponds over and over - and with different types of fish, depending on what we fancy at the time!

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  21. Add the construction of coloring in a picture, and you've got
    an ideal mix of creativity and comfort.

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I love it when you leave a comment and I reply to them all.
If you'd like to have a conversation, feel free to email me any time - leanne.lecras@gmail.com