A few years ago while I was living in southern New York, a friend and I decided it would be fun to have a psychic read our futures. I’m what you call a “skeptic,” in that I’ve long ago given up on spirits and spiritualism, religion, or anything else that pulls from ancient mythology as a source of faith. I am, however, a little on the “hippy dippy” side in that I seek the peace of nature and animals, and believe in cultivating human goodness and goodwill. In other words, I would never believe a psychic who claimed to know my life, but I’m open to one with some good advice.
I don’t remember her name, but her practice shared a building with an ice cream parlor with a massive cone sculpture in the parking lot. An old sculpture with a hole in it, like you see at aging mini golf putt-putts. Her room had all the usual trappings of spiritualism: crystals, mandalas, other Orientalist decor. She was tired and had been planning to close early, but she stayed to read for us.
Amidst the rather general things the psychic told me about my life, things she probably would tell anyone, was an admonishment that cut through a lot of the anxiety I’d been feeling at my job, in my relationships, and generally in my life. She asked me about my balance between mind, body, and spirit.
I was raised in a Pentecostal faith. Talking about my “spirit” isn’t as weird to me as it would be to most. “What are you doing to stay balanced?” she asked me. “What do you do for your body?”
“I try to eat well, and I go to the gym,” I said.
“For your mind?”
“I’ve been in therapy for years, and that’s helped a lot.”
“Good. The advice of professionals is good.” Her answer surprised me, since psychics are supposed to be all mumbo-jumbo. Her logic was showing, but it didn’t prepare me for– “But what about your spirit?”
I understood the question, but..I didn’t understand the question. Like I said, I’m not very spiritual. I’m definitely not religious. And if a psychic I just met was asking me whether I talked to a god, well, we would be having a less-pleasant conversation shortly–
But instead she talked to me about personal wellbeing, quieting the mind and taking time for self-care. She talked about yoga, meditation, and self-reflection as a necessary part of a person’s life balance. The things she said, surprisingly despite skepticism, made a lot of sense.
So I went home and began learning to meditate.
Now why do I bring up this somewhat bizarre personal story in a blog where I mostly rant about writing? Personally, I think that psychic gave a piece of advice anyone in any field could utilize. For those specifically in a creative field, their art may be a type of meditation. But it’s a form of meditative focus that takes from you rather than replenishes you. Some days when I’ve laid it all out on the page, I’m exhausted. To continue tapping into my source, I need rest and focus, and to remember who I am separate from the world of my work. Meditation and self-care has helped me a lot in this area, and it’s something I recommend for anyone feeling drained by their own work.
My meditative practice is still creative. I find visually-guided meditation to be most helpful, because my brain likes to think in pictures. But the world I pass through in order to seek restoration is mine alone. It isn’t for the page. It isn’t for anyone else. I’ve never told anyone except my therapist about it in detail. Similar to my post on finding a special place of your own to write, I find it’s best to keep some things to myself, so that I always have a part of myself to hold on to.
You may find a meditative practice outside of literal meditation. For the spiritually inclined, that might be a walk in the woods or a religious practice like prayer. It might even be taking the time for a massage, to paint your nails, or engage in another peaceful form of self-care. But to beat the personal drain that creativity puts on you, I highly recommend finding an activity that restores you to your fullest so that you can continue pouring yourself out again, one page at a time.