First, I just want to end the year with a hearty thank you. A massive missive of gratitude to you. I am continually humbled and profoundly nourished by your generosity, love and support. You mean the world to me and your presence in my life is a dear gift. I mean it.
This year has been a crucible. Big, heavy, complex and brimming with the kind of painful losses that awaken raw clarity. Clarity that has forced me to make some incredibly difficult decisions. I can’t really say I’m sorry to see 2011 go, but I definitely tip my hat to it for pushing me to this place. Right now. Where I’m ready. So ready to take my work and my life to the next level of amazing. And to help you do the same.
So I put together this wee list of wicked ways for us nourish ourselves, and our artistic genius.
Oxygen is THE primary nutrient. Get as much as you can. Take long deep breaths before, during and after you go to bed, get out of bed, speak, respond, make a decision, eat something, drink something or smoke.
Don’t smoke. But if you do, breathe more than you smoke.
Hang around trees. They are making oxygen all day long and giving it away for free. They are also willing to teach you how to be still, silent and patient, to have deep roots, a strong spine and arms that reach towards the sun.
Drink water. Drink more water than any other liquid. Have a glass of water right after you breathe and before doing any of the things above. Go have a glass of water right now.
If you drink coffee or wine or scotch, be moderate. Stop with the first flush. And always-always-always drink only the finest coffee, wine and scotch you can afford. This is non negotiable.
Eat Food. Real food. Beautiful food. Vibrant food. Living food. Eat many plants because plants are so smart they figured out how to turn sunlight directly into food. Eat that miracle every single day.
Eat food with people you love. Even if you’re alone.
Do not eat the inedible stuff that is pre-made, packaged, frozen, canned, is an unnatural color or comes from places of unspeakable cruelty and disease. But if any of this is, for whatever reason, the best of your available options…eat with grace and graciousness. Allow it to nourish you anyhow.
Same goes for meat, dairy and sugar. Not much. But if and when you do, with grace.
Move around. Find exercise you enjoy and do it. Try yoga.
Be still. Try meditation.
A strong, flexible, well-fed body with a wide range of motion and a tolerance for stillness will give all those ideas you’re going to have in 2012 a sound container to percolate in. It will make sure those ideas are so clear and righteous that they spring forth from your forehead fully formed like Athena from the forehead of Zeus. Immortal ideas, darling.
Feed your immortal ideas with music, art and literature that is so breathtakingly beautiful that your body hurts from the experience. Then write to the artist and tell them what their work meant to you.
Consume more art than news.
Do not stay in toxic relationships. Period. Sometimes you have to love people from a distance. That’s all I’ll say about this.
Do cultivate healthy relationships. Make time for people that inspire and uplift you. Consider these meetings with your brilliant friends and collaborators the most important part of your job.
Consider belly laughing till tears stream down your cheeks to be the most important part of your job.
Also consider time alone to nurture your immortal ideas the most important part of your job.
And if you hate your job, for the love of all things, please do something else. Don’t let “the economy” or any one or thing guilt you into being thankful for a job that is killing you. There is always another way.
Being an artist in the world- whether you write, paint, take photographs, grow orchids, craft wedding cakes, practice healing arts or create your own entrepreneurial income in any format is a big responsibility. It requires a tender sensitivity, exquisite bravery and deep, rhythmic tenacity. It can be, at times frightening and painful. Ask for help when you need it. Be alone when you need it. But do not, under any circumstances, stop. Because your work is crucial. In fact, the whole wide world waits with bated breath for your unique light to shine upon it.
This is your one precious life. You have arrived.
Photo credit: “Take Off” by my dear friend and artist Julie Blackmon. Find more of her work at julieblackmon.com as well as various galleries all over the world. And also, just cause it’s cool and I want want you to know – the boy in the image is my very own son.