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The Well: Cultivating Personal Strength and Creativity

How do you know if your internal well is full?

Many of us live perpetually empty lives and it is revealed in anxiety, poor eating and exercise habits, anger, or a foggy brain. Sometimes it is a more nuanced symptom specific to the individual, but she knows she runs on an empty emotional tank. This is so common in our modern lives that, for some, it is difficult to even imagine what it is like to have a full creative or emotional internal well. They do not know the well is even empty! Feelings of disconnection or constant striving are just always there. There is no one culprit, but a myriad of things that keep us from a full well: stress at work, family life, past traumas, and etcetera.

*Yes. I used the word “creative.” Before you stop reading here and start to whine “But I’m not creative! Only people with _______ (insert character trait) are creative,” please continue to read. I believe the definition of “creative” has been narrowed so much it has been rendered meaningless. It is actually broad and expansive – and it applies to you. These magical beings that you place on pedestals are only creative because they put the work into it, or they simply tap into their creative center. We can all do this.

Aside from these things the biggest barrier to obtaining a full well is – surprise! – our own mind. Constantly striving for a whole life becomes desperate flailing as energies are thrown about haphazardly. We do what makes others happy. We do what we think “good people” do. We do what our physical bodies need. We simply try to breathe above the proverbial water.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, there are many ways to fill that well. Certainly, spiritual experiences will fill the well. Absolutely. However, at a certain point, many of us ask, “Well, what now?” What do we do with the knowledge that we can live our lives in grace? In The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, Julia Cameron insists the participant spend two hours a week filling her well. Meaning, she takes time away from family members or friends to focus on her personal, emotional, and spiritual needs (these are all related.) The participant could potentially fill this time with anything she wishes to do, but believes she has very little time in her life to do it. Some of my own “artist dates” included: a solo hike in the mountains, exploring a local bookstore, reading poetry by myself, taking a two-hour yoga class. The point is to do anything you want – as long as you are by yourself and it is fulfilling to your spirit.

Finding a measly two hours in a busy schedule is remarkably difficult to do – even for an introvert like me who loves spending time alone. Partners, children, and bosses ask much of us, a messy home calls our name, tending to work tasks takes time, dealing with an overgrown garden is a necessity, or committing to volunteer/charity work pull us in many directions. Our friends need us or we might feel like we miss out on something if we do not participate in a (perceived important) social event. We even fill our time with a commitment to others that makes us feel good about our lives – something that seems noble – without taking time to fill up our own well.

See, we cannot give to our loved ones or give our all to responsibilities if we do not function with a full emotional or creative well. Even if they are worthy tasks they are secondary to making sure we function as a whole person.

It goes without saying that “vegging out” in front of the television is not considered “filling the well.” We must be mindful of what we do with our brains and bodies during this time. We must jealously protect it.

Maybe we are afraid of what might arise if we let the other things fall away. What would happen if we stop helping others all the time? What if we made ourselves unavailable for two small hours a week? Nothing. Nothing would happen. Well, except maybe the emergence of potentially difficult emotions. A full well will push these to the surface and we get to “deal” with them. Divine Love will not let you falter, luckily, and is your partner in this creative experience. You were meant to be this way.

I cannot tell you what to do to fill your well. I will not write that one must participate in The Artist’s Way in order to find the space to expand. You know what is best for your spirit, but it is simply imperative to step away from others in order to fill your internal creative well.

Everyone is a creative being. This is where our humanity originates within us. Living as a creative person does not mean that you will immediately pick up a paintbrush and form a masterpiece, though some blocked creatives realize this is actually their outlet. When we take the word “creative” as a description for ourselves, it alters the way we think of our position in our communities, in our families, and it thoroughly permeates our livelihood. We walk with the confidence that we can be active participants in our lives and not function at the mercy of someone else’s personal motivation. We become creative in our workplaces, in the way we eat, in the way we move, and in our words. It influences our hand while we make food because we know what we make is inspired. Living as a creator impacts our speech: it is difficult to gossip or speak negatively about others when we see our words as a creative outlet. We are architects of relationships. As a creator, we take ownership of our lives.

Finding time to develop a full creative and emotional well is essential to living a full life.

You can purchase Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity here.

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