The Magic Behind An Artist’s Date

I’m reading The Artist’s Way for the second time to help break through emotional blocks. My former post explains this more, but to summarize, I visited home for three weeks, started focusing on my breathwork business, felt detached from acting, signed up for an acting class, got called out for my lack of emotion, and went deep into a self-doubt spiral.

Ironically, when I completed The Artist’s Way 12 week program in 2019, I felt more lost than ever. I even considered becoming an event planner instead. And yes, I’m great at connecting people, but I’m also helplessly unorganized (I’ve gotten MUCH better, but still far from where I’d like to be). Thankfully, this absurd urge passed.

However, it was replaced by a new level of global insanity: The Pandemic. Since I live with a sober, loving partner and already have healthy coping mechanisms in place (unlike the majority of the world — which came to light in a big way), the pandemic didn’t turn me into a fat alcoholic on the verge of suicide (which would’ve been my reality if COVID-19 struck a few years earlier). Instead, I took the pandemic as an opportunity to better myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. I spent the majority of 2020 discovering YouTube HIIT workouts and developing my craft in Chris Field’s monologue and script analysis classes.

Chris’s gentle, wise, and magical approach helped me rediscover why I’m pursuing acting in the first place. Yes, the “entertainment business” plays a huge role in your “success,” but at the end of the day, it’s the life or death need to tell stories that propels you through rejection, depression, and inevitable questioning. No matter how dark the tunnel, if you know your ‘why,’ you’ll always find the light again.

So, it’s no surprise that after taking Chris’s classes for a year, I moved to Atlanta and booked like crazy. But after a few months of low-budget non-union films, projects that never came to fruition, background commercial jobs, and no Southeast reps to speak ok, I knew I deserved more.

And promptly the universe said, “Okay then, time to level up!”

To which I responded:


And then, my personal favorite, directed at everyone in my life:

“IT’S YOUR FAULT!!!!!!!!!!”

Speaking of blaming people, I’m almost done with the Fourth Step in Al-Anon and I have over 100 people on my Resentments list. If I’ve known you for more than a week, you’re probably on there.

Anyway, the black hole of depression ensued. And I can already say it has been one of the most important experiences for my career and overall wellbeing.

So, here we are — today. Let’s get to the Artist’s Date.

What is an Artist’s Date and how do you go on one?

Julia Cameron, author of the Artist’s Way, describes an Artist’s Date as assigned play. Each week, you pick a place to explore by yourself for two hours; no cell phone, no girlfriend, no dog. ALONE. Some examples include walking in nature, visiting an art museum, taking yourself to a fancy restaurant, going to a concert, seeing a movie, reading fiction in a coffee shop, etc. If you and your inner child find it pleasurable, it’s a go.

On the surface, an Artist Date seems easy. You probably spend more than two hours a day on Instagram, so just take two of those hours once a week and go to a park. But unfortunately, many of you will never go on an Artist’s Date.

You may have felt excited initially reading about it. Different possibilities popped into your head.

“You know, I’ve been wanting to try that sushi place, but my husband hates seafood. Maybe I can go by myself and bring a mystery novel!”

But then, another voice creeps in. The ego. And the ego wants to keep you safe, comfortable, and in a predictable routine.

“You’re too busy. And didn’t Richard say someone got food poisoning there? Maybe that was a different place…either way, just to be safe, let’s eat canned soup again. Or maybe you could go with Susan? Eating alone is weird…do you want people to stare at you and wonder if you’re newly divorced and lost all your friends?”

Listen to me, young grasshopper. If you’re still reading this, you probably want to better your life. So, let’s start here: stop giving a flying f*ck what other people think. Does anyone in that restaurant care about you or your mental health? No. But I hope you do. And you’re the one who is going to be left with regret if you don’t value, love, respect, and nurture yourself.

Also, if you struggle spending time alone, you DEFINITELY need an Artist’s Date. Maybe even an Artist’s Week. Once you confront your thoughts (I know it’s scary) and learn to love your beautiful, imperfect self, you’ll be a lot happier. I promise.

How do you learn to love yourself? Well, regular Artist’s Dates are a good place to start.

Do you know what you truly love? What brings you joy? What connects you to your highest self? If it involves a loud bar and vodka, you’re lying to yourself. If it involves a reality TV show or mindless social media scrolling, you’re lying to yourself. If it involves judging/ talking shit about other people, you’re lying to yourself. If it involves binge eating, you’re lying to yourself. Hate to break it to you, honey.

You can enjoy those things every now and then, sure. I know I do! But after an initial serotonin spike, “activities” of this nature tend to leave us feeling worse off. How you feel after a situation / state of being will tell you if it’s contributing to growth or stagnation.

Okay, back to me! Yesterday, I took myself on a date to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. I turned off my phone, took notes, observed, and allowed myself to experience all the emotions. I particularly loved the Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe temporary exhibit. I could write a whole blog about her, but I’ve digressed enough for one post.

When I went to turn my phone on, I realized my already cracked screen had completely stopped functioning. I couldn’t enter my passcode, I couldn’t turn my phone off, and worst of all, I COULDN’T ACCESS MY GPS.

Here I was, a directionally challenged person in a brand new city with no road map. I knew to head Northwest, and that’s about it. This all happened after taking 15 minutes to find the right parking garage WITH A GPS, for God’s sake.

So, I began my journey. My knuckles turned white as I gripped the steering wheel. Heart racing, eyes squinting, I thought back to the first time I drove to Boston after getting my license in 2007.

I missed turns. I cursed God. I told Him I was going to tell everyone I had a terrible Artist’s Date. I cried. I screamed. I judged the people talking on the radio. I stared at other drivers and mouthed “HELP,” but no one acknowledged me.

“Another person having a breakdown on the 85 North,” they must have thought to themselves.

And then, after about 45 minutes, something in my gut said to turn around on the side road I had taken.

Part of me thought, “You can’t trust yourself, you’re terrible with directions! Just go into a gas station!”

And the other part of me whispered, “It’s okay. It’s safe to trust yourself.”

So, I turned around, got on the 285 West, and prayed I’d see a sign for Cobb Parkway. And sure enough, it appeared like magic!

I laughed. I fist-pumped. I apologized to God / Universe.

And then I said, “thank you.”

I’ve been doing all this inner work (breathwork, journaling, meditation, affirmations, etc.) to form a better relationship with myself. And as you know, the foundation of all healthy relationships is TRUST.

God / Universe answered my prayers by forcing me to trust myself. It was uncomfortable, frustrating, and downright infuriating, but I survived. During that very long hour, I developed a deeper sense of trust in myself. The Universe helped me realize I could have something “bad” happen, express my feelings about it, and still come out on top. My day wasn’t ruined because one thing went wrong. Quite the opposite, actually.

To conclude, Artist’s Dates will change your life, growth comes with pain, and the Universe has a plan for you. Just trust yourself.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: