The Care and Keeping of Eileen Nishi

Photo by Eileen Nishi, westofwhimsy.comWe're hosting a Week of Care and Keeping in celebration of The Care and Keeping of Creative Souls: A Manual, which hits the postal system on Friday, 11.25.11. I invited a few of the creative souls who pioneered this conversation with me in live workshops (and first edition manuals) to share some of their experiences, as well as some of their own Care and Keeping moves. Today we have with us the amazing Eileen Nishi:

I was lucky enough to be in Jen’s Care and Keeping of Creative Souls class last year at Squam Art Workshops. I couldn’t have planned it better as I was feeling particularly vulnerable that Saturday morning after a day of painting with Flora Bowley. I think the idea of taking care of myself as I pursued my creative dreams was probably on the radar . . . I just wasn’t clear about how that looked. Enter Jen + her infinite wisdom (which I soaked up like a sponge!) – and I was back on my feet and ready to conquer the world!

In reality – the one thing I put into practice right away was Jen’s Magic Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, which has earned its place as a permanent favorite with my boys. As for the rest? I’ve navigated some big changes this year – so I’ve just been getting around to revisiting those Care & Keeping ideas in the last couple of months. In addition to the original guidelines that included eating right and getting enough rest (something I’m still working on!), I’ve created some of my own Care & Keeping practices that are keeping me balanced as I move forward as an artist.:

  1. Good Lip Balm & Hand Lotion :: I find few things to be as distracting as chapped lips & dry hands. My lip balm favorites are Dr. Hauschka Lip Care Stick with Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmers coming in as a close 2nd. For the hands Aveda Hand Relief is my go to product. Nourished lips & hands make for a happy artist.

  2. Music :: I love to sing. Granted – I’m usually singing in the car by myself, but no matter what the genre (I’ve had a “Best of the 80’s” CD on heavy rotation lately), I find that singing makes me happy. I believe that listening to music you love - whether or not you choose to sing along with it - is key to staying alive creatively. (See Eileen's Creative Jam playlist below.)

  3. Intention :: In the last month I have been actively living an intentional lifestyle. (Another idea I thought sounded good for years, but had no idea how to actually put it into effect.) I have taken a closer look at how I treat my body and what I put into it, how I spend my time and with whom I spend it. Making room for what I want in my life, and moving away from choices that weren’t working for me has created more energy and joy – such a simple idea with mind-boggling results! (Tip: Write everything down.)

  4. Gratitude :: I have found that in times of self-doubt, sadness and exhaustion that gratitude always brings me back to a calm, confident & happy state . . . a place I like to call Home.

 Care & Keeping is vital to my well-being and success – not only creatively, but as a mother/friend/co-worker as well. And while I’m still a work in progress in terms of practicing it, I can say without a doubt that it’s worth every effort.


Eileen Nishi is a global "waker" in the making, enlivening and inspiring others through her many roles as an insightful photographer, mixed-media artist, loyal friend and devoted baseball mama.


Bonus: Want a peek at what's on Eileen's Creative Jam playlist? Here ya go: