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The Art is Now – a letter to my students

Next week I’ll be returning to California to teach a new five day workshop at Esalen Institute.

This new course is called The Art of Now, and is designed for artists and non-artists alike to reap the benefits of art-making practices in their ordinary every day lives.

We will also explore habits that creative geniuses though the ages and across mediums have adopted with great success.

A benefit of working with these practices and habits is enormous, for everyone.

Part of it has to do with working with your hands. Even baking bread or gardening or knitting can offer us a therapeutic experience, connecting body, mind, and spirit. A delicious outcome is a benefit. A loaf of bread, ripe tomatoes, a soft and comforting scarf.

In my workshop I invite my students to replace strain with ease.

Is it that simple?

Just trade it in?

You want to create something but you’re just too tired. Or there is an invisible barrier between you and the practice that feels insurmountable. Or you are on the verge of a great idea but trapped in lethargy.

Or you keep telling yourself a story that is getting in your way.

Ease versus strain.

Energy versus lethargy.

Excitement versus fear.

In meditation we are invited to focus on our breath and to bring our focus back again and again as our attention naturally drifts away. Each new beginning is a victory of awareness that somehow you have drifted, and a return to focus.

In The Art of Now, we too work with beginning again and again.

Many beginnings in different modalities: drawing, painting, writing, collaging.

The goal is not to become a great writer, award winning painter, or museum exhibited artist.

The goal is not mastery.

The goal is to simply be, to be present, to become aware, to be here now, in this moment, as you are and with what is.

In this work, we knock on many doorways that lead into the same room, into a spaciousness and an easiness that can be cultivated, nurtured, and sustained long after the workshop is over.

We’ve designed this course so that you can arrive as you are, empty handed, and leave with the simple tools you need to sculpt a practice out of your daily life.

Come as you are, with nothing but your desire.

And if you desire, bring your favorite writing pen or watercolor brush or sketchbook or meditation cushion or some object you’d like to work with through the five days.

We provide everything you need for the workshop, and Esalen provides a beautiful natural space in which to rest, relax, and recharge.

If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me or Tom.

[email protected]

[email protected]