“To nurture your art as your vocation–there’s nothing indulgent about that."
Why do we feel guilty spending money to further our creative careers?
Why does it feel indulgent to make investments that nurture and awaken our weary souls?
Spending money on workshops, retreats and resources can be a big pill to swallow but let me assure you, it is not money spent, it is money invested. The investment often has returns you simply cannot predict.
Take the Glen Workshop as an example. This will be my fourth year attending this week long arts and spirituality retreat in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It will be my most difficult year to ‘justify’ because this year I have no steady income. My wife has a great job and we are doing well as a family, but it can be easy for me to feel like I am not ‘contributing' to our wellbeing. Especially when I drop a couple thousand dollars on a weeklong retreat.
I’ve had to think long and hard about that expenditure.
Over the past several years I’ve travelled to New York and Vancouver and Seattle to connect one on one with mentors in the overlapping worlds of art and faith. I’ve had remarkable chats over coffee and I’ve visited artist studios. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for a big screen TV or any other pile that money could have gone into. Those experiences have brought people into my life who continue to shape me today.
I’ve spent time and money to simply get away and be alone for a weekend, too. Time to think, reflect and pray. Those times have been formative too. A couple days of focus can bring a year’s worth of vision, peace and clarity.
I’ve been more hesitant asking people to join me in Santa Fe this summer than past years. Our economy is in a slump and our dollar exchange sucks. I’m feeling it as I plan. But no more. Today I’m setting that hesitation aside and I am imploring you. Join me in Santa Fe, New Mexico this August for the Glen Workshop.
Over the Glen Workshop week you will invest in your creative soul. You will connect with kindred spirits who will make you laugh months later when you remember how they bought you underwear in town when you ran out (true story). You’ll tear up when you remember the words of encouragment a mentor shared that offered just what you needed to keep a little dream on the rails (true again).
There are scholarships for the Glen Workshop. Partial and even full scholarships can cover your tuition for the week. The whole thing could cost you far less than you think. I’ll be applying for one.
If the time or the money are barriers for you this summer, consider joining me and Julie and Sam Drew at King’s Fold Retreat and Renewal Centre for Art: Vocabulary of the Soul. This shorter weekend retreat costs much less and is just a few hours drive away.
If you need something shorter and cheaper still, Bleeding Heart Art Space will be offering workshops this winter and spring. Stay tuned for announcements. Get ready to join a small group of creatives as we learn a new skill and perhaps even make a new piece together. This workshops will be very affordable.
I know finances are a real concern. So is our precious time. I live that reality, but I still believe the right investments in your creative endeavours (especially of those are also creative careers) are worth every penny and hour sacrificed.
It’s a new year and we are all making plans to improve. How will you commit to those plans?
How will you invest in yourself this year?