Welcome to Week One of my journey though Julia Cameron’s Walking in This World (Week Thirteen of Walking My Way to Water).
Sorry it is… a bit later than I’d planned. It has been hard getting … started again. May this be a good start and may my momentum increase….
In we go…
We begin… at the beginning, with ourselves. With who we are right now — at this time, in this place. If we have been neglecting, evading or avoiding any aspect of our selves or our creativity, this week’s readings and tasks aim to help us reconnect with our ORIGINs and thereby our ORIGINALITY.
Sounds good to me.
Like the fella (aka Robert Louis Stevenson) said:
To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.
Or like that other fella said…
WHAT JUMPED OUT FOR ME… (and why)
This section is about getting started…and restarted. I smile and repeat my favourite phrase from my meditation and writing practices…. “Begin again.” And again and again….
Some things that landed deep for me…
Instead of thinking about conquering an art form, think instead of kissing it hello, wooing it, exploring it in small, enticing steps.
Isn’t that lovely?
All we need to do is…
…Begin. And then begin again the next day.
And therein, my friends, lies the entire trick to this life (as an artist and a human) – begin again the NEXT day.
Creativity is inspiration coupled with initiative. It is an act of faith, and in that phrase, the word “act” looms as large as the “faith” that it requires.
There’s a great bit in this section where she talks about over thinking our work, and jumping ahead to the finish line before we have even made a start. How we aim the arrow of our desire, we pull back on the bow and then… we stop to reconsider whether we are aiming EXACTLY right. We dither until our arm begins to shake and then we let loose and the arrow does not fly true.
It’s a combination of things that skews our aim. The dithering about whether we are “doing it right” and the fact that our entire focus is on the desired outcome and not on the process that will get us there. We all know that too much thinking and needing to “get it perfect” can kill inspiration. It’s good for me to be reminded that if we focus solely on the PRODUCT instead of the step by step PROCESS we can lose our way. We must always keep our True Intention clear.
We forget that intention is what creates direction. If we aim with the eye of our heart “That I desire to do” — then we aim truly and well.
… Horseback riders who jump the Grand Prix fences of terrifying heights talk of “throwing their heart” over the fence so their horse jumps after it.
That picture… the horse following the rider’s heart… smacked me hard upside the head. I’ve had the blessing of spending time with horses, and lemme tell ya – you need to be careful with what you ask of them. A horse who has chosen you is so loyal and so noble that it will run itself to death for you if you let it.
As for throwing my heart over the fence…. I know in my BONES that this is what is required of me as a writer.
I know this.
And I fear….I fear that sometimes, in these last few years, I have let my head override my heart. I so want to finish Sanctuary. I truly do. But… the WHY seems to shift. I want to finish it because…
- It feels like it has been in the works forever and if I don’t publish SOMETHING soon I will lose all credibility as a professional writer.
- I hope to… sell it and make some money.
- I need to prove that I can create a world entirely from my imagination and THIS IS THAT WORLD.
These are OK reasons, I suppose. But I can see now that they are also…. Incredibly fear based. And they cause me to freeze up or go down the wrong path entirely.
In the beginning, this is how I described the novel…
It’s a story of old loves, old hates, and a community’s memory; of human connections and disconnects. The characters test the strength (or weakness) of blood ties; discover the power of choice and the consequences of their decisions. It’s a tale about impossible dreams, self-delusion, and the nature of sanctuary. It’s also about heroism and getting away with murder. It’s about how we find, or make, a home and whether we can change our fate.
It’s that final sentence, I think, that holds the truth of my HEART’S AIM for this tale.
It’s about how we find, or make, a home and whether we can change our fate.
May I hold to it.
(I am so gonna make this sentence my screen saver and print it out and stick it EVERYWHERE when I begin work on the next draft of Sanctuary).
And…. another snipped from Julia to bring this home…
So much of the difficulty with beginning lies in our perception that we have “so far to go.”
We have separated art from process into product—“so far to go until it is finished”—when we think like that and we have also separated ourselves from God.
When we are afraid to begin, it is always because we are afraid we are alone—tiny, like little Davids facing giant Goliaths. But we are not alone.
She hits a bulls-eye for me (again).
Here’s a thing….
Very often, calling it professionalism, we become too busy to make art for art’s sake. We are committed to a certain careerist, professional agenda and we tell ourselves that is all we have energy or time for.
This is false.
When we make art we love, it makes time and energy available to us for our professional pursuits.
Why? Because we feel more vital, and that vitality is assertive energy that makes room for its own desires.
Say what now?
So if I stop trying … wrestle Sanctuary into some kind of… semblance of what I think might SELL… then I might actually finish it and LIKE it again? (my brain just SCREAMED “DO NOT POST THAT!” But there it is people… the TREWS.)
Here’s another bit of lovely…
Commit to playing the music you love, and the music of life becomes more lovely. Just as making love can quite literally make love, so, too, making art—a form of the verb “to be”—can quite literally make art out of being.
The art of creative living, like the actor’s art is a moment-to-moment receptivity, a harmonious leaning into the melodic structure of existence….
Those who create for love—like the devotees who practice their spiritual tradition with ardor—give off a certain undefinable something that is attractive, and it attracts to them their good.
To us all.
She maintains that…
Art triggers abundance, but it triggers it in diverse forms. Our cash flow may not immediately increase, but our opportunity flow will increase. So will many benevolent coincidences or synchronicities that will enrich our lives and our art if we let them. Receptivity is key….
And the thing I may love BEST from this chapter, which has proved true to me over and over in this life of mine…
We are like songbirds. When one of us gives voice to our true nature, it is contagious and others give tongue as well.
LOVE that. (And immediately copied it and shared on twitter and fbook)
This is one of the TRUEST things I KNOW.
This section is about finding… rest. A rest that feeds us — creatively.
We could take a cue from music here: “Rest” is a musical term for a pause between flurries of notes. Without a tiny pause, the torrent of notes can be overwhelming. Without a rest in our lives, the torrent of our lives can be the same.
… As artists, we must serve our souls, not our egos. Our souls need rest.
… As artists, it serves us to consciously find windows into the world of wonder—we must locate places that open the trapdoor in our imagination and allow the breath of greater worlds to enter our too-claustrophobic lives.
Like galleries, libraries, museums, Burning Man or maybe…. THIS PLACE. (If you just see a dark square when you click the link…it is night time at the Vancouver aquarium, try again later. It is so worth it.)
And yes, safety and rest come in many many forms.
I like the jelly-cam and I also like baking bread and colouring and long walks (which may not seem like REST but for me they totally ARE).
THE WORKINGS… (Tools and Tasks)
Yes indeedy – each and every day. They remain the mainstay of my survival.
I come to the page with my morning beverage and breakfast plate. I dive in and always emerge refreshed and a wee bit clearer on what small action is MOST IMPORTANT for the day. To move, even INCH, towards the She that I will Be.
Missed a few days and boy-o-boy do I notice when I do.
The walking is so important to my state of mind and body.
I struggle a bit with Artist Dates…. Not wanting to always…go spend money somewhere. Last week (Wednesday) I did spend a WEE bit. Went wandering in the Bargain Store and found some tempera paints on sale. Was hoping to spend THIS Wednesday in the Writing Burrow/Studio and play with them.
Allowed ole Life to get in the way.
Three tasks in this chapter….
- What the Hell (You Might as Well): List 20 small creative actions you could take in your life right now. Did it and even did some of the actions. Wooooot!
- Express Yourself: List 10 positive adjectives to describe yourself and then write a personal ad using the terms you listed to create a positive and provocative picture of your uniqueness. Did it. Fun and enlightening to shift my view of some things that others might see as… eccentricities or deficiencies that have actually been STRENGTHS for me in this lifetime.
- Do Nothing: I’ve yet to do this one. But I am gonna do it TODAY, before I begin reading Chapter Two.
The instructions are…
Take 15 minutes.
Cue up music that is both calming and expansive.
Lie down. Rest comfortably and let your imagination speak to you. Follow your thoughts wherever they go. Listen to the music and to your thoughts gently unspooling and repeat to yourself this gentle phrase…
“I am enough…. I am enough….”
Stop striving to be more and appreciate what it is you already are.
I’m gonna do it, in the Writing Burrow, as soon as I hit POST on this puppy.
MY PERSONAL NUGGET(S)…
So simple…. So clear… So in need of repeating to myself over and over and over….
“Stop striving to be more and appreciate what it is you already are.”
And … Seriously, Pam….
“Throw your heart over the fence!”
That is all, my pretties.
May you have a wonderful week.
I hope to see you next Friday… but we shall see what life holds.
Go easy ~p
PS…. Sunday is my birthday. I am turning 50. Can you believe it?????