A couple of months ago I went to a workshop where the facilitator caught everyone off guard, handed out a piece of paper and asked us to write down who we were. More than half the group sat there stumped and confused. Some questioned the exercise and a couple of people even had tears. Those reactions might sound extreme but it really happened. And there was a time in my life where I would have had a similar reaction, not being sure what to write.
As we go through life many of us learn who others want us to be instead of who we actually are. Maybe their voices were louder, it was safer to listen to the expectations of others or for whatever reason we might have a belief that if we live the life of who we truly are others will not approve. Sometimes it is just that we have not had the opportunity in life to discover who we are. I believe the first step in nourishing our soul is to find out who we truly are. By knowing who you are you are able to identify what it is that makes your soul sing and fills it with joy.
In her book "The Artist Way" Julia Cameron asks the reader to do Artist Dates. Whether or not you think of yourself as an artist this is a great way to get to know yourself and if you already know yourself it is a great way to honor and nourish yourself. The Artist date is a period of time weekly that you block off for a date with yourself. That means without your loved one, family or friends. What comes up for a lot of people is either the time issue and trying to figure out how they can make time for this. The other thing that puts off some people is doing this is the thought of doing something on your own.
The truth is many of us do already "necessary" things like grocery shopping on our own. Being alone during the artist date gives you a chance to process it in your own way without the filter or expectations of others and can be a very liberating experience. If time is an issue, keep in mind this doesn't have to be an extravagant outing. Julia Cameron recommends a couple of hours a week but even thirty minutes a week can make a difference. An artist date could be exploring a new park, trying a restaurant you've always wanted to go to- or treating yourself to an old favorite, visiting an exhibition, doing arts and crafts, or whatever makes your heart sing.
This is just one way to nourish the soul. The key is to listen to the voice inside and follow its guidance. The picture attached to this blog is from one of my Artist Dates a couple of weeks ago. What are you doing to feed your soul this week?