“You Are Loved” collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.

 This directive is similar to “The three good things challenge”While working on my Morning Pages, I was listening to a Commonweal podcast of Rachel Naomi Remen describing the “discovery model” curriculum for medical students. The whole podcast is a goldmine of lovely suggestions which would benefit every art room and every human interaction, but Remen’s emphasis is on how to encourage medical students to be present with their patients. 

The directive that caught my ear was one Remen got from Angeles Arrien, about how to take time in our day to ask ourselves three questions. (A written description can be found here.) I’ve adapted these three questions for the art room. Sitting quietly with our art materials, we can think back over our day until we find something that surprised us. Find a way to include this in the work. Then we can review our day again, looking for an event or person that touched us. We can include this in our work as well. Finally look for something that inspired us, and include that.

We may find after practicing these three questions (What surprised me? What touched my heart? What inspired me?) in our daily art practice, we start to look about our environment for surprises, things that are touching, and things that inspire. And of course looking for these things will actually help us attend to our lives more carefully and actually find more things to be a happy artist about.

For more wonderful ideas from Rachel Naomi Remen, please see On Being with Krista Tippett, also Remen’s own blog and website, and Commonweal’s audio/video library.

Happy Exploration!

“The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other’s memories. This is how people care for themselves.”
– Barry López, Crow and Weasel



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