What Difference Does Creative Practice Make, Really?

peaceful protests make a difference

These days call on us to make a difference,

to state what we believe and stand by it, to march, make noise, draw attention to what we care about and activate. You don’t have to have a political bone in your body and still these late winter days make you itchy for change and excitement, for a let-up from the constant turmoil that our country is in.

You know that my response to almost any dilemma is turn to my journal or paints, to meditate while I embroider or to turn to my teaching as an opportunity to work out big life questions.


No matter where you fall on the spectrum of creative radiance, whether you dabble or dive in to a daily practice, we are all full of opinions about the relative value of doing something that does not bring in income, does not seem to help the world at all, nor gets us anywhere-as if where we are is just fine and dandy.


What difference does it make, to write in a journal every day? Do you scratch below the surface?But I see so many women touched by sorrow or depression, detached from soul level actions because of the mountain of responsibility on their shoulders. Creative practice wastes time in some people’s eyes. I know. I have looked out at the world with those eyes.

I believe that daily practice connects you securely to your thoughts, clarifies your motives, sequences your stories in to meaningful passages, and alerts your senses that they are on the job, contributing to aliveness.

I believe daily creative practice funds a sense of wholeness, of integration, and taps interior inspiration because I live it. I see what happens when I let it slip, how my inner sky darkens and solutions elude me. And I see it in my students, who when they begin to engage their own daily practices experience life altering changes.

I see disparate parts of their lives weave together. I see a sense of wholeness rise forth.

There are people in the world who believe that daily creative practice is an indulgent waste of time. They are sure that unless you are a serious artist who pays your bills with your work, you just squander your time making useless stuff. They think that writing is whining on paper. And anyone who chooses to study this, to try to make art with other people just joins a messy cranky pool of pity that leads to absolutely no where.

I know people like that. Some of these people happen to live in my head, but I don’t pay much attention to them most days. But late winter can really bite my tush, especially when I am in the long boring part of the marathon of my life, where work is good, but not exciting, and the kids are away at school and not breaking legs or my heart and so,
what I am left with is me. Spotty old me.

Winter makes a big difference in my days, dark and light so obvious
As I wrote in my last post about getting the dark stuff out and on to your journal page, being honest here about the jaws that nip at me and thwart my flow is one way that I find my way forward. You cannot make a path way forward without first dealing with what is in front of you. (Like shoveling snow or manure.)

Skimming or scratching below the surface?

Keeping a journal and engaging in what we call in the Powder Keg workshops, “strong writing” where you not only report on the weather and your laundry, you delve further in to questions that circle round you all day long asking, “Is this it for me?” or “What else do I have in me?” I know there are people out there who keep journals and never scratch below the surface. Regularity is honorable, but skimming gets you nowhere.

So, for today, I dare you to scratch the surface of your daily practice. Crack open your journal writing with a question. Borrow from the demons in your head.

What difference does daily practice make in your life?
Of what use is it to you, right now?
And how could you make one small change towards stronger engagement in your life, in your creative practice?

That is what I am asking myself today.

There are three open seats in my Sacred Refuge Sundays classes, which begin on March 5. I have a session that meets on Sundays with one open seat. And a session that begins on Tuesday March 7 that has two open seats. Read more about Sacred Refuge here.

If one of them is yours, please email me by Thursday, February 23. I will be in Seattle for a few days, but I will check my email and work from there.

My morning Rumi reading was this,
“The pen puts its head down
to give a dark sweetness to the page.”

Dark sweetness.
That part is you too.

Give it some time and let me know how it goes.


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Showing 2 comments
  • Barb Buckner Suárez

    Seattle is just a hop, skip and a jump from Portland! (300 miles south 😉) Wish I could see you while you’re here in the Great Pacific Northwest. Safe travels, Suzi B. XO

  • Janet

    My nugget here is this one: “I know people like that. Some of these people happen to live in my head, but I don’t pay much attention to them most days.” Appreciating these observations as all the uncertainty and demanding events reshuffle priorities and chafe at tolerances and so on. Safe travels!!