As you know if you spend time here, I started working my way through Julia Cameron‘s The Artist’s Way again this week. And oh what a glorious week it has been. While other things have felt … not so grand, this has been quite wonderful.
I’m working through it with some company this time. A few people over on Sea Change. Our group is called SpiritWalkers (a name I love) with a deep felt connection to “nature” being the thing that originally drew us together. We are having some great convos over there and when our fearless leader said he was going to work through TAW I asked if he’d like company. He said, “Sure.” And another SpiritWalker hopped on board as well. And then there was three…
We all have copies of The Complete Artists Way which includes three books.
~ The Artist’s Way
~ Walking in This World
~ Finding Water
Our plan is work through the first book, and report in to each other at the end of each week over on our group page. Hoorah.
I have this idea of working my way through all three books…. Perhaps with breaks between them… or not… dunno. But I opened up a new Scrivener project and called it…Walking My Way to Water….and it made me smile. The idea of working through all three books and keeping some notes. It appeals.
Then I thought… do I need to include the word “ARTIST” – as in …
- Walking my Artist to Water? (and perhaps tryna force her to drink???)
- Walking Artistically Toward Water? (I envision RuPaul strutting down the shores of the river)
Here’s what I decided… I don’t actually need to include the word ARTIST – because if I have learned anything here over the past few years it is that my artistic practices are an integral part of my Spirit — as my spiritual practices are an integral part of my Art. (The ding-dong you hear is the sound of bells going off in my head) It is all ONE.
As I began to make my notes on Friday, I started thinking about whether to blog the journey and if I did… whether i would just include it in my Shake and Bakes, or create a whole new category of chickens.
So Why blog it?
Why do I blog any of this stuff?
In case anyone else wants to play.
And, because I’ve been yackety yacking since I started this blogthing about posting more about writing….more about my process…. or at least things that would LOOK more like they are talking about writing/creating than all my moony meanderings. I have therefore decided to blog it up (!) and I created a brand new category for these thinkings/findings/funnings so that those who don’t care to hear my quarterly life chickens can just wing on through these.
And…..You caught that offer to play together, didn’t ya? Just checking.
Let’s talk about our art. Let’s talk about our spirit. Let’s talk about our journey to find water. Yeah!
But, as always… no pressure.
So… My plan is…
- To read through each chapter and highlight things as I read, and perhaps add a note or two in the margin. I don’t usually mark up books, but I’ve an urge to mark this one as a working book. I want notes in it and scribbles and doodle-doos and maybe even a few doodle-don’ts.
- I will be doing the Morning Pages and Artist Dates and aim to do at least 2 of the other tasks in each chapter throughout the week. The one that feels easiest and the one that feels hardest.
- At weeks end – say Friday, I will review what I have highlighted and tagged and note it in my Scrivenings along with any thoughts that arise. I think leaving it to rest for a week as I go about my business is a good idea. Like letting it… steep.
- I’ll whip up a blog post … with a Quick Chicken of the doings (Morning Pages, Artist’s Date and other Tasks I did) and sharing what jumped out for me.
- After I do the blog post, hopefully I shall have ONE THING that I can take away with me… ONE small clear thing I want to hold onto as I continue the journey. A personal nugget or soul stone to carry.
And maybe… just maybe… some of you might like to play along, sharing your adventures with me and with each other. That would be lovely. fingers crossed.
This plan may, of course, shift along the way. All life is subject to change.
Let’s dive in…
The Quick Chicken…
(Cuz chickens are so much more fun that Check Ins)
This would seem to be the EASIEST of this week’s tasks as i already do the Scrib every morning. But the MPs are a bit different than what the Scrib has become for me, so now… the first three pages of the Scrib are done fast fast fast. Takes me about 30 min. It’s fun to see what pops out. Then I go back to my usual meanderings.
Artist Date – Friday for 2 hours. Drawing and colouring down on the beach. Created a mandala… playing with the five elements and some correspondences and then…. scribbled thoughts/feelings all round it. Twas fun.
Other Tasks – (HARDEST THING) I did the listing of the enemies and the champions. I’ve done it before, but it was interesting to check in and see who popped quickly to mind this time and then to spend some time with them. I’ll keep these to myself.
I did the five lives thing… I would be…
- a healer (of minds and bodies),
- a carpenter,
- a fix-it gal (engines, clocks and whatnot),
- a person who worked with/for Dian Fossey with the gorillas,
- and a wandering minstrel.
I decided on the lives and then… I forgot to do the rest of the task which was…”to do it for the week” meaning I could’ve … hammered some nails, tinkered with an engine or picked up that dusty guitar in the corner…hmm…. maybe I can roll this one over to play with this week…
I took my artist for a walk and/or a kayak each day this week. We looked around at colours and shapes and I ate warm raspberries gathered from the roadside. Fresh and sweet and tart on my tongue. Yum.
I also worked with some affirmations – which are always… a struggle for me. I just feel so damned…SILLY… doing them. But I found a way to work it. I added them to “morning awesome-ification.”
I’ve been doing this kooky but wonderful morning mirror talk for the last 126 days in a row. I wake, I drink a glass of water and head into the bathroom. I look myself in the eye and whisper,
“I will be awesome today, oh yes, I will be awesome!”
It never fails to crack me up and get my day started with a grin.
So… I added a coupla things to that. I’m too shy to say what.
WHAT JUMPED OUT FOR ME…
… being quotes from the book and my own blatherings
OK so from the intro…
…It was not excessive outflow that damaged artists so much as increased inflow.
Yes yes yes … this is so what I am learning right now. This is me. I stuff stuff stuff other peoples … STUFF … into myself until I cannot hear my own Self. I cannot find my own voice amidst the rabble-babble rubble.
…Artists report that they have become more creatively rounded into full-time people.
I just love this, because it is so important. If all I do is obsess about the novel I am currently writing, I am so not fun to be around at all at all.
By doing TAW (along with all the other yummy stuff I do), I am opening to … other forms of creativity and freeing up some energy. I think.
… The theory doesn’t matter as much as the practice itself does.
Sing it sister! This is exactly how I feel about Vipassana too.
Shortcuts and hazards of the trial should be tagged.
Tagged (meaning I wrote in the margin) Trial or Trail? Or both…. I love that both words WORK here.
We undertake certain spiritual exercises to achieve alignment with the creative energy of the universe.
Tagged – practices!
We ourselves are the substance we withdraw TO, not from, as we pull our overextended and misplaced energy back into our own core.
So fricken good. This is why I am here now. Here in the shakey shack. Here on the shore of the Kebsquasheshing. This is what I am trying to do, entirely.
In SK I was working for an arts org and volunteering for another and giving way way WAY too much of my energy away. I had been doing this for years.
I get so into… sustaining the community and working on behalf of others.
Since we’ve been here, I’ve been coming back to myself. It has taken a long while for me to recover. And sometimes I wonder if “recover” is the right word.
It could well be that I am truly finding my core self for the first time.
I had glimpses of her earlier in my life – mostly in the work. When I am writing well or when I am onstage in a show and I get that… FLOW … feeling. But for so much of my life, I have been disconnected from her.
The funny thing I see, just now, is that these FLOW moments, where I have felt most… myself… and most connected to myself are also moments of… giving to others. To the audience. Interesting, non?
Even if we look like functioning artists to the world, we feel that we never do enough and what we do is not right.
So so SO me. So me. Oh Lordy so me! Can I get an AMEN???
Make no mistake: the Censor is out to get you. It’s a cunning foe. Every time you get smarter, so does it. So you wrote one good play? The Censer tells you that’s all there is.
And the weeping begins…
Everyone has a direct dial to God. No one needs to go through an operator. Tell them to try this technique [go to your morning pages and ask for guidance and then LISTEN and write it down] with a problem of their own. They will.
I just love this. Do it on a regular basis. I also talk to my characters when we get stuck.
It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reasons for living. -Simone de Beauvoir
Tagged – THIS is so connected with my current quest to see things AS THEY ARE and not how I wish them to be. (Vipassana practice)
Boredom is just ‘what’s the use?’ in disguise. And ‘what’s the use?’ is fear and fear means you are secretly in despair.
Holy shit the weeping!
The artist brain is the sensory brain: sight and sound, smell and taste, touch. These are the elements of magic, and magic is the elemental stuff of art.
Yay for the FIVE! Yay for the senses and the elementals.
And then we move into Chapter One and I see that I didn’t highlight anything except the affirmation:
As I create and listen, I will be led.
Which I tagged onto my deciding to be awesome practice (along with the crazy brilliant prolific affirmation) and somehow morphed into: I create and listen and I am led.
So… OK… shy or not… my morning mirror practice this week has become…
Look myself in the eyes and say out loud….
“I will be awesome today, oh yes, I will be awesome. I am a brilliant and prolific writer. I create, I listen and I am led.”
The deciding to be awesome still makes me smile every day. The saying I am brilliant and prolific makes me cringe cringe cringe. But I adore finishing off with I create, I listen and I am led — because that is so true. If I can get mySelf to quiet down enough so that I can listen… that is when the good stuff comes. That’s where the juice is. For me.
Looking back over Chapter One, I realize that I have worked though a lot of these ideas many times and… I smiled to be able to see that I have actually made some progress. That many of the negative beliefs I held about being an artist have … faded away.
But, as with any… healing or growing process – this thing is a spiral. And each time we come to this material, I believe that something else will rise to the surface for us.
What came to me strongest this time through is that I still have a scarcity mindset. Entirely.
I still can’t see any way to get beyond subsistence, financially speaking.
In truth I have a hard time believing that we have survived this long and that I have managed to eat and be sheltered without a “job-job” for months at a time. I am OK right now and for a few more months, but always always always is the monster clawing at me… that I will starve. That in the end… I will starve. Blergh.
My personal Nugget…
There is much to be examined in that scarcity mindset arena… but the small smooth pebble that I choose to carry away with me from this chapter is…
This is a truth for me. And it adds no weight for my journey forward.
I show up to the page every day. I get the pen moving and I listen – to my characters and to my muse. And i am led to create what I must.
As to what happens next…. that is MOSTLY outta my hands.
Well… that was fun.
Drop a line if you are working through TAW right now. Or if you’ve worked through it in the past. I’d love to hear what jumped out of Chapter One for you. Or what you would be if you had five other lives to live.
Thanks for stopping by.
go easy ~p