Archive for January, 2012
Recently I was asked to consider what nourishes me. The question was asked in regards to my personal relationships but it got me thinking about how that same question applies to my art making. Besides, isn’t my art a personal relationship too? Maybe it can’t speak back to me with words, but it certainly speaks back to me emotionally.
Lately I’ve been in a bit of a funk.
Perhaps it’s the short New England days, and the fact that I spend so much of my daytime indoors on my computer that I barely get any natural sunlight. I think my whole life I’ve always had a touch of SADD during the winter months and now I’m just putting the pieces together. Could that be why I love the summer so much, I get to be outside in the sun? I certainly know that being outdoors nourishes my soul. Even in the winter, getting to Cape Ann and spending time along the shoreline of Gloucester and Manchester nourishes my soul. Being near a large body of water with an expansive horizon always tends to reset my perspective. It get’s me out of my head and in touch with the broader aspects of life. I connect to the piece of me that is so much more than my physical being.
Since the New Year I have been attempting to adopt a set of new morning habits/rituals. Shortly after getting up I meditate for twenty minutes, read for 30-60 minutes and then exercise, which for these winter months consists of spinning on my LeMond fitness trainer, for 30 minutes. The three things together seem to nourish me in a way I can’t fully describe. The meditation helps keep me calm and balanced, while the spinning get’s my blood pumping and my metabolism raised to help me physically attack the day. These are things that help my body and mind, yet I believe it’s the reading that helps nourish my art more than anything. I could be wrong about that, but it’s the one thing that I’ve let drop off over the past year or so. With an increasingly busy schedule it’s hard to find time for critical reading. For me that means theoretical books, not the morning paper. I learned when I was in graduate school that my sweet spot for reading was in the morning. I was kind of surprised by that because I always had the impression that reading made me tired. I discovered that was only because I would always try and read at the end of the day when I was tired.
Lately, (meaning the last few years), I’ve been in a rush to get to my computer. To open my email and start work as soon as I can. Now I’m trying to take the 2+ hours in the morning to commit to these new routines. I’ve always deemed them a top priority yet somehow always put them last on the daily to-do list which means on most days they don’t happen.
Why should it be so hard to do the things I consider important; the things that nourish my soul, my art, and not to mention the rest of my life?
Anyway, back to reading. I’ve always described myself as a book hound. Some girls like to buy shoes, well; I have a thing for books. My eyes are always bigger than my stomach and I buy books with the full intention of reading them all. When I buy one I can’t wait to digest it all in one sitting. But I never have the time.
I never take the time.
And so books get started and then never finished. For instance, right now I have at least five half read books sitting on the nightstand next to my bed, five more half read books on my desk, and three more half read books sitting on the coffee table. That’s thirteen books! And that doesn’t even count the nine that are in the bookshelf that I’ve ear marked as critical next reads!
(Now I’m up to 22!)
I guess in the sense that “we are what we eat,” we too “are what we read.” So here’s the list of my half-read/soon-to-be-read list of books (and in no particular order) that reflect the complexity of who I am, and what shows up in my art:
- The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, by Lewis Hyde
- Being in Balance, by Wayne Dyer
- How to Get Control of Your Time and Life, by Alan Lakein
- Guide to Getting Arts Grants, by Ellen Liberatori
- I’d Rather Be in the Studio, by Alyson Stanfield
- A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle (reading for the second time)
- The Healing Code, by Alexander Loyd
- The Language of Letting Go, by Melody Beattie
- The Vortex, by Esther and Jerry Hicks
- The Light Inside the Dark, by John Tarrant
- Buddha Is as Buddah Does, by Lama Surya Das
- On Women Turning 50, interviews by Cathleen Rountree
- The Heart of… (oh wait, I can’t list this one, it’s too personal)
- The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2010, edited by Freeman Dyson
- The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self, by Thomas Metzinger
- The Biology of Belief, by Bruce Lipton
- The Fabric of the Cosmos, by Briane Greene
- Quantum Shift in the Global Brain, by Ervin Laszlo
- The Shadow of the Object, by Christopher Bollas
- Technoromanticism, by Richard Coyne
- Insights of Genius, by Arthur Miller
- Art and Visual Perception, by Rudolph Arnheim
This is a long list. More than I can handle in a year, given my schedule and time. But if I can keep up the morning routine of reading for just 30-60 minutes (focusing on one book at a time I might add) my guess is that I can get through a lot more than I think. And I’d reach a goal that I’ve set to read more this year, as it directly informs my art, and the expansion of my life.
I’ll have to check-in next January and see how well I’ve fared.