How to create a regular creative or spiritual practice

10/11/11

There’s something about having a daily practice that is strangely comforting and secure. Having a practice means feeling a calm and clear pull of knowing what to do. A daily creative and/or spiritual practice is much like any other habit, with focus, mindfulness and a higher purpose. Even the word “practice”, and the very idea of it, simultaneously gives me both serenity and butterflies. However, as with creating other new habits, creating a daily practice often starts off promising – before we start to doubt ourselves, our intentions and ultimately give up the whole thing. I’ve found that there are a few ways of doing it that can make it easier and more compassionate:

Start small

One of the key aspects of creating a successful daily practice is to make it small and meaningful. Especially in the beginning, it’s valuable to start so small you barely notice the change at first. How about five minutes of meditation, one photo a day, write 100 words or recite a short prayer? When this is established, you can increase your commitment slowly until you reach your desired daily amount of goodness.

Make it authentic

When you start a new practice, make sure you spend some time investigating your reasons, both for why you want it to be a daily thing for you, and also how you are going to do it. No need to start a daily yoga practice, if writing is what you really feel called to do! Sometimes, it’s easy to fall for something we wish to be true about ourself, instead of acknowledging what is. It is also imporant to stay clear of the “should”s. Listen to yourself, are your intentions clear? Will it bring you closer to who you truly are, or push you away?

Experiment

It’s a good idea to experiment with life changes before you set them fully into the world (that’s what the Freedom Experiment is about, after all). I suggest experimenting with different practices for about a week or two at a time. Which experiment feels more compelling afterwards? Which idea did you give up on day 3? This is valuable information when you finally feel ready to commit for a longer period of time.

Do it regularly

It’s really helpful to make a decision to do something regularly. Daily is a good idea, since it then becomes sort of like a habit, and you won’t forget about the whole thing. However, having a daily practice might not suit your lifestyle. No matter how often you decide to do it, it will be very helpful to do it as regularly as you can. How about every other day, every weekend or once a month on a set date?

Commit

When you have found your thing, the whole point of having a practice is to fully commit to doing it, even though you don’t feel like it on the particular day. Look at it as a commitment to yourself and wow to honour it the same way you would with your best friend or a family member. Showing yourself the respect of showing up is so meaningful for your relationship with yourself!

Be free

Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two. Be compassionate and again, treat yourself as you would treat your best friend. A day or two off can be a good thing, just tune into yourself and listen to what your needs are. Is this the time for showing up, or for giving yourself some space? You already know the answer, just listen for it.

Share

Having a practice can be even more meaningful if you share it with other people. This goes especially for creative practices, but spiritual ones too. Sharing might create a community around what you do, and you might find a lot of nourishment from interacting with other people who do the same as you do. There are so many ways to share, and since you’re reading this post, you’re probably familiar with blogging. Other ways to share include sharing with a friend or family member, documenting it or starting a local group. Again, listen to your heart and share only what feels right.

Some ideas

One poem a day

As I’ve mentioned before, Bentlily does it beautifully.

One photo a day

One self-portrait a day

One drawing a day

Morning pages

This comcept originated from a book called The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. Basically, you write three handwritten pages every morning without editing of second-guessing your writing.

Journalling or writing a diary

Compliment someone every day

Write one “Today I’m grateful for…”-sentence a day

Meditate

Do yoga

Run

Read for a set period of time every day

Take a morning walk

Write a handwritten letter

Mindfully make a cup of tea

Take a daily or weekly foambath

 …

Do you have a regular creative or spiritual practice? Do you want to start one?

 

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Tereza November 11, 2011 at 6:13 am

I love this post! About six months ago, I started writing one sentence each night about the day. I really liked it and found that establishing one new habit or practice has a snowball effect…once you start one thing that brings you joy and peace, you can’t help but drawing more of that into your life.

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Marthe November 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Thank you!

Oh, that sounds like a very nice practice:) So inspiring!

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Halley November 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm

This is a fantastic subject to write about and you did it so well, Marthe.

I stop in the middle of the day (when it’s hectic) take a deep breath and appreciate the world around me. Plus counting my blessings and letting the people I love know how much I appreciate them.

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Colby January 6, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Cannot wait to chat about all of these and more next week – see you soon! xx

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Marthe January 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Really looking forward to meeting you! :)

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Foxglove Lane February 21, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Now I am delving even more into your posts, love love love your blog, thank you so much for sharing it;~)

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Alkyoni Pap. September 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm

This is a very helpful post. I’m trying to post a drawing each day in blog, even if they’re not perfect. That way I learn to expose my work to others and it also gives me reason to do a sketch for every day.

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Katy Fisher March 5, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I teach preschool so they are many times in my day where I feel deeply overwhelmed and weak. I recently started taking that moment to go to a corner and breathe, when my kids ask me whats wrng I tell them I am feeling a little overwhelemed and I need to take a minute to breathe. After I breathe I look at my kids and remind myself to enjoy this, enjoy the excitment they have and let myself be silly. Then, during there nap I write down how I was feeling at that moment and what got me to that point. Its been amazing.

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Emma March 14, 2013 at 9:46 pm

This is a great idea!
what I plan to do is lay down somewhere (anywhere)and just lay and think about whatever comes to me,I won’t over think though! And when i’m ready I will just write a little something (sentance, word, paragraph or even a doodle) it does’nt matter what it is about, a title, an idea, lyrics, a name, anything! I plan to do this whenever I am in need of some relaxing time, hopefully it will help make things clear
Thank you :)

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Ruthie May 25, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Hi,
I like to speak to my angels every day, ask for help and ‘tune into’ the benign force of the universe. They may not be ‘angels’ but that’s what I call it. It makes me feel supported and if I’m in a dark place I know I’m never alone. Angel cards are good too.
Ruthie, (Scotland)

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