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Art as Alchemy

Making art of any kind is an alchemical process. Making art, we turn the dross of our life into gold. Making art, we re-create ourselves. When we work on our Memoir, revisiting our own personal narrative time line, we transform the events of our life into golden adventures. As we write, the ordinary becomes extraordinary; […]


Morning Pages

The bedrock tool of a creative recovery is something I call Morning Pages: three pages of longhand, morning writing about absolutely anything. They are to be written first thing in the morning, and shown to no one. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages. I like to think of them as windshield wipers, […]


The Spiritual Power of Routine

Recent retirees tend to speak of having mixed feelings about routine. On one hand, they enjoy being free from the externally-imposed schedule of their work lives— they may choose to sleep later, to travel during the week, to eat meals when they fancy them instead of hewing to a strict timetable of meetings and business […]


Clearing a Path: the magic of decluttering

With more time on our hands, we may find ourselves at home much more than we have ever been. Spending time in our homes, we notice the things we want to improve: the unfinished doorframe, the “junk drawer” in the kitchen that always seems to be jammed shut, the worn doormat that we’ve been meaning […]


Using Our Time

It is all too easy to put undue pressure on ourselves and criticize how we use our time. We rush from this to that. We call ourselves “lazy” when we “waste time doing nothing.” We don’t have “enough” time or we have too much. We regret past uses of time— time spent worrying about things […]


Healthy Risk

Many of us have lives that are, in some areas at least, risk-free. We may have even cultivated these risk-free lives because we think we want stress-free lives. But while stress from negative situations can be damaging, stress from confronting challenges or taking a healthy risk can be energizing and motivating. When our lives feel […]


Humility

When I am asked what is the biggest block to creativity, I find myself answering, “a lack of humility.” Dreams remain dreams, nothing more, when we insist on their being fulfilled instantly and perfectly. We measure ourselves against masters and we tell ourselves that we will never achieve our dreams. But masters began as beginners, […]


The Drought of Self-Doubt

It is important to remember, when we are suffering, that we are not alone. Every person experiences self-doubt at one time or another. In the throes of it, the prospects look dismal. We are in what feels like a drought, crawling forward, hoping for water, seeing nothing promising the horizon. If we give in to […]


In the moment of creation, we are ageless

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In the moment of creation, we are ageless. We feel both young at heart and old and wise. “Artists work until the end,” my photographer friend Robert said to me yesterday. Yes, they do. This is why retirement from one career— even if it is our major career— is not, by any means, “the end.” […]


The Wish to be Original

The root of the word “original” is origin. We are the origin of our work. It is the ego’s demand that our work be totally original-— as if such a thing were possible. All work is influenced by other work. All people are influenced by other people. No man is an island and no piece […]