Do you hear the sound of a thousand tiny violins?
Or is it just me hearing them?
Sadly my The Artist’s Way journey has reached it’s conclusion this week and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t desperately miserable to see it end.
Have I enjoyed myself?
Has it been the longest and most frustrating twelve weeks of my creative life?
Would I do it all over again?
Hell Yes! When do we start?
Alright, enough of the self Q & A before people start assuming I have gone completely mad. On with the reading review and task wrap up for the final week of the course.
Reading Review: Week 12
In the final weeks readings focused on ‘recovering a sense of faith’ Cameron acknowledges the mystery and wonder of the creative and their creativity and aims to take one last swipe at wiping out the saboteur within as we re-commit ourselves as Artists to the pursuit of creativity.
Cameron believes that:
Each of us has an inner dream that we can unfold if we have the courage to admit what it is.
Finding what that dream is and grabbing the ‘bull by the horns’ has been what this twelve week course is all about. Discovering what this dream is can be hard. What can be even harder is allowing yourself to live you dreams. The inner critic, saboteur, or cynic can really be difficult to battle with and has usually come about as a result of past experiences or knowledge that we have gained as ‘adults’. Such experience and knowledge can be, as discussed in Book Club weeks past, incredibly damaging for the inner Artist who Cameron identifies as being your inner Artistic ‘child’. We all know how much children dislike being told what to do and how to do it, or how it felt as a child to be told that your act of creative expression was wrong, weird, or totally stupid.
It can be easy to shrink away from creativity and continue life as a repressed creative. Going though the motions of daily ‘adult’ life and ticking the required boxes for the social achievements of career, monetary gains, possessions, or family objectives with little sense of creative fulfilment. This is where some creative people stay. In the frustrating confines of a ‘safe’ but empty lifestyle. Cameron awakens the creative within in this 12 week course and once this has occurred it is near impossible to go back to the safety of normal daily life.
For those of us who have experienced to creative awakening it can be hard to not get frustrated (like an angry child) with the progression (or lack of) that we are making. As a creative child we want it all and we want it now. This in turn can create yet another block as creativity is a mysterious beast. Sitting as an impatient adult mulling over a creative work we can get stuck in a ‘real life’ pattern of linear expectations. We sit, we work and magic happens. That’s how life goes. Unfortunately this rule doesn’t apply to creative ventures. Creativity or ‘brainchildren ideas’ as Cameron eloquently puts it:
should not be dragged from the creative womb prematurely. Ideas, like stalactites and stalagmites, form in the dark inner cave of consciousness. They form as drips and drops, not by squared-off building blocks. We must learn to wait for an idea to hatch.
So even as we awaken the creative inner child we need to learn a sense of patience with ourselves and the creative process. As part of the process of patience we Artists need to realise that our life is art. Everything we do is inspiration in action. Art cannot be defined by the dictionary or rigorous academic study. Art is what we as creatives want to make of it. Quite often we find inspiration for creativity in the least creative places. Digging a hole to plant a citrus tree might end up being the most creatively inspiring moment of your life! Much better to get out an do something that try to turn your creativity into a ‘business as usual sit down at a easel and wait for inspiration to happen’ effort. It is likely you will get bored and frustrated and give up on the idea entirely.
One good tip from this weeks readings is ‘the test’. The test is a moment that occurs when you are on track to your goal or dream. Using the Cameron’s example it is like dating ‘Mr Right’ and feeling like all is going well when suddenly you get a call from your poisonous ex. The trick is to see the danger in heading back to where you came from or that familiar place and keep moving forward toward the scary but possibly amazing future.
Task Review: Week 12
The Week 12 tasks are all centred around reflection or keeping creativity flowing as we move forward past the programs end date. It looks at identifying areas that have been a concern in the past, how you might be procrastinating at the present time, and planning ahead for the future. One of the tasks I really liked this week is creating a ‘god jar’ where you can write down your fears and store them away knowing that they are now dealt with.
Checking in and Reflecting
I have been a big baby this week regarding The Artists Way program and have gone out of my way to avoid doing any of the tasks. This has meant that I have embarked upon a number of procrastination projects that have safely allowed me to avoid moving on past the end of this program. My avoidance stems from the finale of the program. Like the saying goes ‘all good things must come to an end’. For me avoiding the final chapter means that I never have to finish the book. Childish I know but according to Cameron all artists are ‘children’ so I will grasp to that straw. Once I got past my protest of the final chapter I really did enjoy the tasks that Cameron produced for the finale.
Morning pages are still happening every day. I have really enjoyed them and know that this is now habitual part of my routine. It can be a little frustrating trying to find the time each morning but I have stopped being so trick on the order in which I conduct my routine and have found that helps to ‘fit’ things in. Perhaps my inner child has less of a time tantrum when allowed to do things at their own pace. Moving forward this is a practice I will continue into the future.
As per usual my Artist’s Date occurred on a Sunday with a 30+ Km bike ride and a mountain climb. It was throughly enjoyable and made all the better by the glorious Autumn weather which is not-so-hot and not-so-cold (goldilocks weather). All the images in this post were taken on my ride to Mt Coolum on the Sunshine Coast.
Yes! Synchronicity is all around. Perhaps the most memorable moment I would like to share was on my Sunday bike ride. Over the last few weeks we were asked to choose a spirit animal. The animal I chose through a few online ‘what is your spirit animal’ surveys was the fox. The fox for me was the spirit of mischief, fun, and good luck. On Sunday when I was supposed to be doing chores and gave it all up for a ‘spur of the moment’ bike ride a fox ran right across my path. This is the first fox I have seen in my 7+ years of living on the Sunshine Coast (they are a common invasive species in Victoria where I grew up). This seemed like the perfect sign that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
Reflection on Twelve
Well. Its the end. Cameron herself admits that she would like to end with a ‘flourish’ but as creativity has no real end there can be no real end to the book. Just a contractual commitment to oneself to keep on going.
My heart has been a little broken over the last week. I have truly loved this journey and feel like a little piece of me will be missing without it. However the act of reading can be a great procrastination tool. So now that the ‘hard work’ of the course is over and done with the real creative journey can begin.
Time to start making and doing.
Thank you so much for asking me to share this journey with you. Blogging about the process has forced me to have a greater understanding of each weeks content and made me accountable for completing each chapter week by week.
I look forward to doing a follow up post at the end of next week to let you know if there have been any post-artists-way epiphanies.
Please let me know any wonderful thoughts or reflections you might have on the final week in the comments section below.