Walking the Artist's Way: Week One

As I traverse through this twelve-week program to creative recovery, I felt compelled to share some of my thoughts with you.  Though I don’t necessarily connect with all the tropes of a “blocked artist,” I have lived life for nearly a decade denying my creative desires, covering up my true purpose because I thought it was “impractical,” and inhabiting the land of What-If and If-Only.  Want to journey along with me?  Pick up a copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way here, and jump on in.  

General Thoughts:  This week focused on identifying shadows, negativity, and self-doubt.  Julia wanted us to focus in on our limiting beliefs and discern the why—why were we not following the pathway to our creative bliss?  Over the years, what had built up and constructed a barricade—what had trapped us, what part of our mind was acting as our primary combatant in the battle for a joyful life?  We worked with affirmations to replace those negative thoughts, and identified when what Julia calls “our censor” would pop up and try to strong arm negativity back in.  We also identified our enemies and our champions of creative worth.  That was a REALLY interesting exercise, because the first enemies and champions on my list were not at all what I would have expected.  

To get personal without getting too deep, the general theme that popped up for me was the “Who am I?” issue.  Who am I to want these things? Who am I to think I am able to do what I want in this lifetime?  Who am I to think I am smart enough/pretty enough/articulate enough to be heard and be present in the world right now?   Yuck, right? But it was good to see that even though I’ve done some work, there is still more to tackle.   That censor is a nasty being.  

Artist’s Date: Each week, Julia wants us to take our inner artist on a date, solo dolo.  I chose to go to the San Francisco Botanical Garden (not even a place I knew existed—it came to me in meditation as a place I had to visit).  It was a wonderful experience, honestly.  I’m excited for more artist’s dates in the future, though I did see what Julia meant by the work involved in keeping that time sacred.  Randy wanted to come (I told him no) and then I had to really work against myself with technology and putting the phone on airplane mode.  

Morning Pages:  Wake up.  Write three pages in your journal.  Repeat.   
This has been the hardest part for me.  Three pages each morning, no exceptions.  Julia suggests you give yourself the courtesy of not reading your morning pages at first, and I am very grateful for that—most of the time I think I am just making a list of things I need to do.  The idea is that writing like this each morning is grounding, now-moment focused, and clears your mind to tackle the things ahead.  I did have a  beautiful moment this morning, actually, when pieces and ideas for a poem I’ve wanted to write came through as I was complaining about being up at 5am to go to the gym.  I am dedicated and diligent with this morning page concept, however, so I will continue to write.