2.21.2009

Filling the Well

This morning I sat down to work on my novel, but no words came. Then the baby woke and my time was up.

My kitchen remained dark all day with the exception of an easier-than-pie (literally) apple cobbler, which I served alongside leftovers at dinner.

It was a quiet day, spent lost in thought, without direction and void of creativity. I could practically see the bottom of my well.

Having learned the concept of needing to refill your creative reservoir many years ago from Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way, I pulled out my ragged, old copy. I found the section on filling the well and these words jumped out at me:

"The artist brain is the sensory brain: sight and sound, smell and taste, touch. These are the elements of magic, and magic is the elemental stuff of art."

- and -

"Our focused attention is critical to filling the well. We need to encounter our life experiences, not ignore them."

Aha! Have I slipped a bit in my mindfulness practice? Am I forgetting to be in the present moment, giving my focused attention to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes around me?

So it's time to fill the well. Cameron suggests feeding the brain images. Seeking nourishing scents. Listening to music. And regular, repetitive actions, like cooking, sewing and swimming.

I've been depleted before. And I remember now just how much fun it is to restock the pond. Some of my favorite ways include:

Spending time in nature (the beach is my top pick).
Listening to soulful music.
Filling my home with fresh flowers.
Watching enlightening, artsy or hilarious movies.
Cooking nourishing food.
Gardening.
Reading home magazines.

And you? How do you fill the well?

2 comments:

Kangaroo said...

sewing.
knitting.
reading fiction.
SLEEPING.
good coffee.
fresh jam from a friend.
new moon circles.
the smell of my babies' skin.
LOVE.

Rose said...

Good advice for me today. My well has been dry all week; today not being much better than Friday.

What do I do?

Stitch in all its various forms.
Watch Amelie.
Spend some time ALONE in SILENCE.
Cook.
Eat chocolate.