Look and you will find it—what is unsought will go undetected. ~ Sophocles
Back again with my notes and thoughts on this week’s chapter of The Artist’s Way
Week 5 is all about exploring possibilities. We take a look at the Limits we set on ourselves (and the Creator); we explore the concepts of trusting our own inner creative voice, deepening our connection to the Creator (however we conceive of her/him) and following the guidance these two sources offer us (Finding the River); And we take a good hard look at The Virtue Trap.
Let’s leap in.
This week, I had two dates with the Lil Artsy – who felt much older and wilder and WISER truth be told. A re-emergence of Ela perhaps (the old woman I dream of becoming). Both times, the dates arose from a clear strong call from her to “Stop” what I was doing, and to “Listen.”
I’ve been on the move for the last few weeks and am still … settling back in to life at the Shakey Shack – getting laundry done and working towards re-establishing some habits/practices I let slip while I’ve been away. In short… I’ve been running around like a chicken with her head cut off who doesn’t CHECK IN. (heh heh)
My first date with Ela was simply to go to the river and SIT. To pull a chair into the sun and sit on the edge of the water for 20 minutes. Let the world spin down. Focus on what “really” needed doing and… let the rest go (for now).
The second date began with resuming my daily walks up the lane yesterday. I headed out thinking… I shall have a short walk and look around and then I will get back and get to work on that blog post. Well…. Ela had a whole different take on what my day should look like.
The walk stretched out and… oh my dearlings… it felt so good. So good to be home, here on the Bay. So good to be walking up our road. So freaking GOOD to feel the muscles move under the skin and to hear the birds and smell smell smell the world.
My eyes were drawn to the rocks of the road. Next thing I knew, I was crouched over – sifting through the gravel, gathering small smooth stones and bits of quartz. I often gather quartz when I see it. I am slowly building up quite a collection that lives on the walkway up to the Writing Burrow.
The small smooth stones were… for runes.
Every few years, I feel a pull back to the runes.
My first set came to me from a boy I dated in university. He arrived at my door, after we had “broken up”, with a set of runes he had made for me and a book on how to use them. I often wonder where that boy is now – that man. He was the adopted son of a Jungian Analyst. He’d met the Dalai Lama and he told me the most wonderful stories woven from life and myth and dreams he’d had. Our time together was full of stories and play but became oddly frightening to me near the end. He’s one of the only Loves I have lost track of.
I have carried his runes with me all these years. I have played with them. Explored their meanings and how to work with them. Then… I put them away again. Never quite ready to stay with the work.
Perhaps this time I will continue.
When we got home, Ela and I washed the stones and laid them out to dry. I fully intended to move onto “other things” – like writing this blog post. But my hand was drawn back and back to the stones. I sorted them by size and then began choosing and laying them out.
I haven’t touched my runes in ages and I didn’t really “remember” the Elder Futhark. I didn’t REALLY have each rune in mind as I chose the stones. Actually I had the wrong number in my head – thinking that there were 26 runes in a set instead of 24.
I laid them out in rows of 7. 7-7-7-5
Then I dug out an old piece of paper listing the runes, their names and “meanings“.
I rearranged my stones into Aetts – 8-8-8.
I got a purple sharpie and inscribed each stone with it’s runic symbol.
I love how they feel in my hand.
And… so went a few lovely hours.
The thing that keeps returning and returning for me this week (for a few weeks actually) is the word/concept of GRACE.
We see that our moods, views, and insights are transitory. We acquire a sense of movement, a current of change in our lives. This current, or river, is a flow of grace moving us to our right livelihood, companions, destiny.
Bango-bongo – this sang out to me.
The “transitory” nature of moods and so on— is smack on with what I am feeling in my body through the meditation practice.
And oh oh oh…. This word… GRACE… has been appearing for me daily for the last two weeks. The BIGGEST, most personal, instance came in speaking with a friend of a difficult situation… She said, “This is where you learn grace.”
May it be so.
And yes yes yes – may we all find the river.
I did the Virtue Trap Quiz, the Forbidden Joys and Wish List exercise.
I also marked as “to do” – the Morning Pages exercise where we are to “ask for answers in the evening and listen for answers in the morning.” I only managed to do it on a couple of evenings. I want to continue this practice and see what comes.
I read over the Tasks list for the week but… I didna do not one.
So it goes.
Julia gets to me right out of the gate this week…
We are asked to… examine the cost of settling for appearing good instead of being authentic.
This smacks me a hard one upside the head. Though I tend to think of it as more that APPEARING good. I think…. I think I am BEING good and…yes… being seen to be good and so…. Yeah. I so get this one.
The sidebar quote that stuck with me this week was:
Look and you will find it—what is unsought will go undetected. ~ Sophocles
I’ve been especially pondering the second half of the quote. That we will never see what we aren’t looking for. It can be right there in front of me and I simply DO NOT SEE it.
I see this so often in my life. (Ha. See. Funny)
Like learning what hazelnuts look like growing on the trees around the shack. I never knew. Once I knew, I went in search of them and they were massively abundant.
‘Course I was away the week they ripened and by the time I got back home, the squirrels had reaped the entire harvest. Good on you, my manic furry brothers!
This week was also very… Goddy for me. Both in TAW and out in the world. That quote above kicked out the biblical equivalent “Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door shall be open unto you.” Which I have known forever “by heart” but, with my kooky scarcity mindset, have never really… believed. Not really.
I always find it incredibly interesting to bump up against these things. Things that feel so ancient and so … ingrained in me… and yet, when I really take an honest look at them, I find I don’t believe them. I’ve never felt the TRUTH of them. Never allowed it in. As Spock would say, “Fascinating.”
On with the quotes and notes…
…Pray to catch the bus, then run as fast as you can.
Learn to think of receiving God’s good as an act of worship.
Love this. And have never, ever heard it that way before. It may have been said to me that way… but this time I finally HEARD it. Cool.
We must learn to let the flow manifest itself where it will—not where we will it.
Booyah! Another explosion in my wee brain. Again… I know this. I KNOW THIS. But Lordy do I forget it. May I LEARN it—again and again and forever again.
It is as though we want to believe God can create the subatomic structure but is clueless when faced with how to aid or fix our painting, sculpture, writing, film.
Well, I can only say, “Get the heck outta my head Miz Julia!!!”
This one made me smile and chuckle right out loud.
Because … I just never thought about this thing about inviting The Big Kahuna Creatrix into my personal creative process. Seriously, never thought about it. Even though I’ve done this fricken book before. Uh DUH.
Wait…. That isn’t exactly true.
As an actor, I have connected with the divine before a performance to ask for support and protection and for my words to connect with the audience. I have especially asked for this support and protection when performing my own one woman shows (barefoot and OK — The Passage of Georgia O’Keeffe).
And now that I am thinking about it, I did ask for help to finish Mostly Happy. When I hit a hard hard patch after some not great feedback from a fellow writer, I took to my bed. I thought the work was shit and that I was failing failing failing entirely. I asked for help then. I asked for the strength to finish the book. And I was given it. The book got finished and published and even garnered a few awards. Yay.
What I haven’t done, as a practice, is to open up, CONSCIOUSLY to the Creator in my day to day work. I would like to do that.
And again I pause and think and realize…. I have begun to do this in a way. When I work in the Writing Burrow especially. I go in and I light some incense. I light the small and lovely green glass lamp that Patti Shedden gave me on the opening night of my first play. It was a gift from the Saskatchewan Playwright’s Centre.
This lamp is another of the things I have carried it with me through the years. I keep it on my writing table, but for years, I rarely lit it.
This spring, I began lighting it before I begin to write, and blowing it out with a “thank you” at the end of my shift.
Wow. This is sorta blowing my mind.
There are so many … things… that I am beginning to do simply because they feel like the right thing to do—inside of me. And then days, weeks, months later—some “back-up” from outside that calls for or names or explains the purpose of the thing I have been doing. Trippy.
As each idea comes to us, we must in good faith clear away our inner barriers to acting upon it and then, on an outer level, take the concrete steps necessary to trigger our synchronous good.
Yes. Yes. Yes. I hear it. In good faith. We must do both the inner work and the outer work in good faith.
By holding lightly to an attitude of gentle exploration, we can begin to lean into creative expansion.
An attitude of gentle exploration — awesome-sauce.
And to continue with the awesome gentleness…
As we work with the morning pages, we begin to treat ourselves more gently. Feeling less desperate, we are less harsh with ourselves and with others. This compassion is one of the first fruits of aligning our creativity with it’s creator.
I think that this Self Compassion thing has been my big learning of the year. Coming round and round and round again. Said with different words, by different people, approaching it from different angles but landing landing landing in my heart for months now.
And as I finish typing that sentence and turn the page, I read:
An artist requires the upkeep of creative solitude. An artist requires the healing of time alone. Without this period of recharging, our artist becomes depleted.
Many recovering creatives sabotage themselves most frequently by making nice.
And then this…
We strive to be good, to be nice, to be helpful, to be unselfish. We want to be generous, of service, of the world. But what we really want is to be left alone. When we can’t get others to leave us alone, we eventually abandon ourselves. To others we may look like we’re there. We may act like we’re there. But our true self has gone to ground.
Can you hear me weeping?
And feel my gratefulness that someone (dear Julia) gets it? That someone else feels the same?
Can you let yourself weep a little too?
This week … oh again it is so rich and full for me. The things that ring and sing for me are….
…Grace… Self Compassion… Trust in myself and in the Creator…
I seek the river of Grace and Creative Flow.
I open my eyes and my heart to the world AS IT IS and not AS I WISH IT TO BE.
I am so grateful to Julia for creating this book and sharing it with us all. And for you, dear reader, for coming along with me on this grand adventure.
Thank you so much for your precious time. I know I tend to….blather on… in some of these posts.
Laying it all out to share with you is a huge part of how I am finding my way.
On we go to week 6!
I hope to report in early this week – before I dive into the mad joy of …. The 3 Day Novel Contest. Wheee!
May we find joy this week. And beauty.
May we find our way out of the Virtue Trap.
May we find the river.
Go easy ~p
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explorations in creativity