Turning an artist date into a real date

A few years ago, a good friend introduced me to Julia Cameron's “The Artist’s Way,” a New Age-y, pop-psychology guide to tapping into our creative spirit. Some of it I buy; some of it I don’t. Which is perhaps why I gave away my copy a couple of years ago. But the funny thing about the information we need is that it circulates back into our lives. I keep coming across “The Artist's Way” in the strangest places, and after the last run-in, I decided to take some of Ms. Cameron's advice.

One of her pillars for unleashing our creative potential is regular “artist dates,” mind-expanding expeditions meant to awaken our senses and help us reconnect with our inner child. (I know — all that’s missing are a lava lamp and rolling papers. But bear with me.) These outings are taken solo, so no one can distract us from our creative explorations. Ms. Cameron suggests visiting museums or browsing farmers markets or exploring bookstores. She says we can take a walk on the beach or collect leaves in the park — anything so long as it pushes us out of our routine.

For my part, I’ve given “artist dates” a shot for the last three months.

I like the alone time, and I like what I discover on my adventures. But it turns out my weekly expeditions might have an unanticipated romantic upside.

My friend Mitch was the first to clue me in. When I told him where I’d been spending my free time, he said he’d been hitting up the same places — to meet women.

“I always go by myself,” he said. “I check out the art, I listen to the music, I watch the show — whatever’s going on.”

“And then?”

“And then I see an attractive woman, I go up to her, I ask her something about the exhibit — and the next thing you know, I’m getting her number.”

I had to laugh. All that time I’d been expanding my mind on my “artists dates,” men were cruising for real dates.

In “Calling in the One: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life,” author and psychologist Katherine Woodward Thomas tells the story of her friend Deanna, a lovely and bright woman who complained she wasn’t meeting any men.

“(Deanna) has this idealistic notion that she should meet someone ‘naturally’ while going about her day-to-day life,” Mrs. Woodward Thomas writes. “From her perspective. ‘trying’ to meet someone felt ‘too contrived.”

But eventually Deanna consented to attend a singles event and was pleasantly surprised by the bachelors she met there. Afterward, she even put her profile online.

This, Mrs. Woodward Thomas says in her book, is how you go about meeting a partner. Not by hoping he’ll magically appear, “at the dry-cleaner’s, in the market, at a traffic light.” But by going where other people go to find romance; by making yourself available.

“Love comes to us in many ways,” she writes. “We have no idea, really, how or when it will come.”

Perhaps, then, it might come at the museum, at the bookstore or at the concert. Wherever we take time to open up, to explore and, most importantly — to try something new. ¦

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2012-05-10 digital edition

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