Saturday, October 27, 2012

Routine, regularity, and ritual

One of the things I value most about writing and creativity retreats are their basis in what Eric Maisel calls the three “R’s” of creativity: routine, regularity, and ritual. When I write every day on a retreat, it becomes routine, and in a good way. My mind, spirit, and body expect it, and I have grown to need that form of satisfaction in the same way that I used to “need” a drink. When I do my art regularly, it creates a groove in me and in my day that makes me happy. And when I include a small ritual in opening and closing my creative session, I add a touch of the sacred and the spiritual and I have closer contact with my Higher Power.

Some small creative rituals

 1.    Light a candle to begin your writing session and blow it out when you are finished.

2.    Ring a small bell or chime to begin your session and ring it again when you have finished. When you ring the beginning bell, sit for a few seconds and honor the creative impulse in yourself that has brought you to the session. When you ring the closing bell, sit for a few seconds and honor the perseverance that has kept you creating even through disappointment or frustration.

3.    Create a small altar in your creative area. Your altar can be as simple as a piece of colored construction paper that a votive candle sits on or you can lay down a small cloth for your candle, your bell, and several inspirational objects. You can also build or keep your altar in a shoe box or other container when you aren’t creating. 

4.    You may wish to pick a talisman for a creative project. Maybe there’s a photo that represents the writing you are doing or a postcard of a painting by an artist who inspires you. Maybe it’s a stone or a rock or a feather. A writer of my acquaintance always drapes a shawl made by her grandmother over her chair when she sits down to write.

5.    You may wish to listen to sacred music while you create. I like Gregorian chants for painting and Japanese flute for writing.

6.    Some artists meditate before beginning a creative session; some say a prayer of thanks or dedication.

How we make the space and activity sacred is as individual as we are. But taking that extra moment to connect with something deeper can go a long way in making our writing or creative practice a bigger part of our lives.