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  • Suzy Bashford

Want to live a more big, juicy, creative life? Take yourself on a playdate then...

I first read about the idea of Artist’s Dates from Julia Cameron in her brilliant book on reawakening your creativity called The Artist’s Way. But they’re not just for Artists, they’re for anyone who wants a big juicy life. Here’s her definition:

“The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic”– think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy”

The idea is that these experiences fill our happiness wells and so we feel more inspired. This inspiration doesn’t have to feed directly into something you’re creating, it can purely feed into your life. They feed our senses so we feel alive. And we don’t lose ourselves in the hum drum daily grind of life.

At the lowest moments in my life I have completely lost this vital, life-enhancing connection with myself. I’ve flailed about trying to find myself again, but usually done this by looking at others, crippled by comparisonitis, looking to them for clues as to how to be happy. Perhaps by being busier? Or thinner? Or prettier? Delete as appropriate.

(and if that is resonating then definitely check out the Big Juicy Creative podcast, episode 8, on comparisonitis with Lucy Sheridan – she will sort you out)

Looking at others won’t give you the answer to your happiness. Only looking to yourself will. And artist’s dates are a great way to have fun with yourself, relax and be able to dig into what actually makes you happy.

Julia Cameron quotes STARHAWK, a Theologian, in her book on artists dates, and I absolutely love this quote:

“Your younger self-who can be as balky and stubborn as the most cantankerous three-year-old-is not impressed by words. Like a native of Missouri, it wants to be shown. To arouse its interest, we must seduce it with pretty pictures and pleasurable sensations- take it out dining and dancing as it were. Only in this way can Deep Self be reached.”

On a recent trip to London, I took myself on an Artist Date to the V&A museum and the British Museum. And bearing in mind Julia’s instructions to ‘think fun’ and ‘not duty or what you should do’ – I just wandered quite aimilessly around following my fancy and my intrigue (so, now you can see that the naked David photo accompanying this blog was not merely a gratuitous inclusion!).

For more inspiration on what to do on an artist date, read my next blog.

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