The 20 Minute Path: A Key to Artful Living in Very Full Days



I had planned something else for today, but in my morning musings, as I thought about how very full my life is, I wanted to share this with you.

Full. Well, yes. Might I even say Crazy Busy. The holidays are always so full of blisteringly beautiful fullness, that sometimes I can hardly breathe much less paint or draw or knit or ….  There’s a voice inside me that says, “slow down … savor it … don’t do so much …!”  And there’s another voice that says, ” enjoy it Jen, drink it all in, go with the flow … that’s why you’re here …to live it!!” Yes and yes!

But after several days of little to no creative activity, I begin to feel thin inside. Do you know that feeling? Perhaps it’s due to being stretched in so many different directions.  And what I mean here by “creative activity” is the restorative kind. Not the kind that gets applied to your work-a-day job or the kind that ensues from previous creativity – like book signings and art shows. But the kind where you get to just sit down with pen and paper or yarn and needles or clay in hand and simply create. Not for a commission or an assignment. Just create. The kind that deals with the thin, stretched feeling and restores a sense of fullness.

I know the answer to this. I’ve seen it work in my life countless times over many years. I’m going to put a name to it today: the 20 Minute Path. I am sure there are others who can attest to this helpful hint for creative living. I doubt I’m the first to put words to this. I didn’t know the name of it until I sat down to my drawing table this morning to carve out 20 minutes for swooshing watercolor on the page. I was thinking “20 minute blitz”. But that didn’t seem to capture at all what I was after–it gave the impression of still more hurrying in one’s life. And I do not want to hurry when it comes to creative things. I want it to be in a place of slowness to gather myself and all the different bits that have flown around over the recent days of mega holiday activity.


The above two watercolors were made in my morning’s 20 Minute Path. The idea to use the word “path” came as I realized what I was painting…paths that seem to glow out of the colors. This is what we need. To touch base with the path we are on as creative beings. To be reminded that we truly are creative no matter how much is going on in our lives. To realize that there is lovely color all around us, even if the bombarding colors of the holiday world are becoming a bit too neon or blurring together into an unattractive brown. To know that even in the midst of wonderful activities with family and friends, that we are on a beautiful path with them, walking together, enjoying the journey.

These were my thoughts as I painted this morning. Though it was only for 20 minutes, it has restored a sense that as I go throughout more  holidaying today, I carry with me direction and purpose. Taking a few minutes in my holidays reminds me that I am led. And I need this reminding. Don’t you?

So give it a go, if you don’t already have this practice. Carve out 20 minutes (or more if you can:) to sit and do something creative. Sit with lovely wool in your hands and listen to the click-click of the needles. Draw any of your holiday decorations, or just swoosh watercolor around on the page. Write a bit of haiku. Whatever it is that feels restorative to you, do it. Whatever might have occupied that 20 minutes can be pushed aside so you can make a path for your creative heart to be filled up again.

I’m cheering you on! You need this. We all do!

0 thoughts on “The 20 Minute Path: A Key to Artful Living in Very Full Days

  1. Pockettrikeed says:

    I think He said this
    If you wish to understand
    If you need to know
    If you are afraid
    If you want reassurance
    If you treasure challenges
    If you desire blessing

  2. freebirdsings says:

    Boy, did I need this today! It’s gotten so bad I was ready to start throwing things away because I couldn’t find my computer glasses and hated spending 20 minutes looking for them without finding them. I finally put on my reading glasses (I need a different pair for everything anymore) and just sat a little closer to the monitor! I really am needing my 20 Minute Path today. I’ve been meaning to do it for days but something always comes up it seems and I am sorely feeling the lack. I haven’t done my One Line Tree I want to do so much so today, while the light is good, I am taking 20 minutes and enjoying myself! Thank you for the reminder in this busy time that we need to feed ourselves too. Jesus certainly took his 20 – or 40 – when he needed it, didn’t He?

  3. Linda T says:

    Wow, God has given you such a gift of putting insight into words as you live the creative life He has called you to. Thank you for sharing this. Such a blessing to me to read these words and be reminded of His purposes in my life.

  4. Suzy says:

    Yes yes! Only 20 minutes of pen to paper and a swoosh of watercolor and I felt myself renewed this afternoon. Thank you for putting words to those feelings!

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