Three weeks ago I committed myself to a twelve week course in rediscovering my creativity. Each week comes with a new set of tasks and a new theme to tackle. Three weeks in and I am starting to notice some subtle changes in my day to day existence.
Thank you readers for requesting that the book review of ‘The Artist’s Way’ should become a weekly book club. It has definitely committed me to the program and gives a good chance for weekly reflection.
It can be scary sharing your revelations about yourself in a public forum but I would really like to encourage those who are participating in the book club to vocalise their findings. More for themselves than for anyone else. Being able to succulently summarise your revelations to someone else really means that you understand them yourself. Even if you don’t to share here try to summarise your findings for your kids, partner, or pets. Saying it out loud can be a power experience.
Anyways, enough talk, Let’s get started on the week three wrap up
Reading Review: Week 3
The week three readings surrounding the idea of ‘Recovering a Sense of Power’ have been more in line with the areas that I have been focusing on in my personal life. We are the makers of our destiny. Our day to day existence is ultimately something that we create for ourselves. It is easy to get angry when things don’t quite work out the way we had planned and too often we either bottle up our anger, or continue to sit with it in apathy. Cameron suggests that anger in our lives can be used as a catalyst for change. That anger harnessed can be a useful tool.
When was the last time you felt helpless? Like your life wasn’t working out the way you planned? Don’t feel bad if the answer to these questions are ‘all the time’ or ‘right now’. This can easily be changed with a change you your thought pattern. This week Cameron touches on the topic of ‘synchronicity’. On my week one Artist date I serendipitously came across a book by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer called ‘Manifest Your Destiny‘, that looks at the nine principles of creating the life that you want. Manifestation, serendipity, and synchronicity are interchangeable words for the idea of ‘what you think is what you become’. If you think you are a creative genius who is trapped by their circumstances then you will continue to be trapped by your circumstances. You will fulfil your own prophecy. If you think ‘I am a creative genius and will have all the time in the world to work on my art’ then you will start to find little allotments of time open up for you. This may sound a little far fetched but the same thing is seen in scientific drug trials when patients are given a placebo drug. Quite often the symptoms of the issue or disease lesson or disappear despite the fact they have been prescribed a drugless pill. The mind is a powerful tool that we humans don’t yet understand in it’s entirety. The answer to many of life problems is ask from a place of purity and you shall receive!
Yes…. Cameron knows that this all just seems too easy.
If this was the case then why aren’t we all happy and free to run through sunflower fields, spend our afternoons painting landscapes, and day dream about lost loves. Well perhaps we are a bit damaged. Our inner artists haven’t always been nurtured throughout life (something that was tackled a bit in week one and two). We may have been told that our sketch wasn’t shaded properly or that our colouring wasn’t between the lines. Perhaps you writing was good but not quite as good as Sally’s so she gets hers published but you don’t. This sense of shame breeds doubt in your mind. Which brings us back to the idea of ‘what you think you become’. Believing that you are a ‘crap writer’ will mean your writing will be awful. Most likely because you will stop writing. Without practise you won’t get any better but you also won’t feel any shame about how bad your work is. A self fulfilling prophecy. It can be much easier to believe that you would of been the next Shakespeare and wallow in the emotions of seeing the opportunity pass than it is to just pick up a pen and start writing as action may result in more criticism.
Unfortunately criticism is a given. Whatever we do in life wont necessary be liked by all. This is the beauty of art. It creates opinions, it divides, and sometimes it conquers! As long as you are happy with your results and ignore those who are critical from a place of envy (like the crazymaker friends discussed last week) then who cares what they think? Cameron provides a list of ways to deal with criticism in this weeks readings. My favourite way to deal with criticism that makes me angry is to sit and ask myself why I am feeling angry. Often it is because I haven’t been able to synthesise my thoughts succinctly or logically enough to covey my message and my anger at the criticism is anger at myself. Sometimes the person who dished out the criticism just doesn’t like me, or ‘get’ what I stand for. This is hard to take but is a great reminder that we are all different, and that difference is what makes the world an interesting place to live.
Cameron finished the weeks readings with a short section on growth. Which notes that in order to create space in your life for synchronicity (also known as having your prayers answered) you have to look after yourself. Take time to be kind to yourself. When you board a plane and the crew remind you during the safety induction that you must fix your own oxygen mask before helping others. Carry this instruction though to your daily life. If responsibilities are suffocating you how can you be of help to anyone around you? It is best to take time to make sure that you can breathe before trying to be a good co-worker, boss, parent, friend, or artist. Eat well, exercise often, and take time out to be by yourself. It may feel selfish now, but when a cool, calm and collected you enters the world you will be amazed to see how much you can get done. Far more useful than being a whirlwind of exhaustion and confusion in the life of others. Imagine if you found out that you were a ‘crazymaker’ in the lives of your friends and family!
Task Review: Week 2
This weeks tasks revolved around traits, habits, and characteristics that you look for and admire in yourself and others. In the ten questions it looks at what you appreciated in your childhood self, both accomplishments and traits, and how you spend your time now. There is no direct comparison between these questions but looking at childhood feats of accomplishment then comparing how you spend your adult time can be thought provoking. Cameron encourages you to do an activity that makes you think. One of my favourite ways to provoke my brain is to exercise or shower. Showering isn’t an eco-friendly way to get ideas so exercise was my method of choice. The remainder of tasks revolve around what you appreciate in others. Which can be interesting when you shed the idea of what you think you should appreciate in other people (such as selflessness and political influence), and look at traits you really do appreciate (quirky sense of humour and reckless regard for following rules or wearing shoes).
Checking in and Reflecting
This week hasn’t brought about too many issues. Three weeks into the journey and I can still say that there really hasn’t been any monumental shifts in my being! I have experienced a few ‘ah-ha’ moments. But these have been small changes. This weeks topic resonates well with me. The last two weeks I haven’t really felt that Cameron has touched on any ‘me specific’ blockages. Week three looks specifically at the area I have issues with, allowing myself to be creative and trusting my ‘destiny’. Once an idea has solidified in my mind I will go for it full force. However, if the idea becomes ‘to big’ I put coping limits on it. This is often due to perceived financial burdens, resulting from a belief in the ‘starving artist’ stereotype that we are so often fed by the media and our peers. After finding the ‘Manifest Your Destiny’ book in week one I have already spent three weeks reframing this idea in my mind and shedding these perceptions I have been fed. It has been a freeing experience and I look forward to seeing how far I can get in twelve weeks of daily practise!
Blame my stubborn Virgo nature but I haven’t missed a single day of morning pages since the program began. It has been really enjoyable to take the time each morning to sit down and write complete dribble. Writing without any topic or agenda is really fun. I must say that I don’t agree with the amount of paper I am wasting and will start e-writing the pages after the twelve week journey is up. E-writing will be a different and less tangible experience but it could also be a better option for extracting ‘nuggets of awesome’ from the drawl in the future. Hundred of loose leaf pages isn’t easy to trawl through.
This week I went for a photo walk around the neighbourhood. Suburban blocks are boring. Especially here in Queensland where the architecture is quite new. Taking time to see the little things in my local area was really fun. Some of the pictures from my urban photography safari are above.
This week Cameron asks if week three brought any moments of synchronicity to your life. Unfortunately, like fight club, the first rule of manifestation is ‘don’t talk about manifestation’. So it can be a difficult topic to discuss. The best way to approach these ‘gifts’ is to be grateful for them. I feel blessed to have moments of synchronicity on a daily basis to the point that I have been accused of controlling the weather ‘why does it stop raining the moment you get out of the car’. The Artist’s Way program combined with the ‘Manifest Your Destiny’ and my old fave copy of ‘The Secret’ has allowed me to see areas where I place blockages on receiving gifts. Hopefully by working on these areas I will be able to create more time and money to achieve the environmental and sustainability missions I would like to tackle.
Reflection on Week Three
Week three was very beneficial to me. As I mentioned earlier, weeks one and two, while good, weren’t specifically targeted to my blockages. This week made me realise that I am the source of my blockages and the solution. Quite an empowering thought. My time has been predominately filled with science research, writing, and university preparation this week, so there has been minimal time to ‘sit and think’. Despite how busy my life seems to be (24/7 work, blogging, and now study), morning meditation, morning pages, and evening mediation has free up space in my brain by eliminating chatter. So tasks have seemed easier and days have seemed longer.
Have you had any revelations this week?
Perhaps you aren’t working on the program because you feel like life is just too busy! If you feel this way share it below. Maybe taking time out for you is what the Dr. ordered. I actually started this program because I was too busy and not taking any time out to care for myself. It has’t made me less busy but I certainly feel happier and happiness is the key ingredient to a good life.
If you make time for self help (like the oxygen mask mentioned above) it is amazing how much you can help others around you. I’m hoping that by the end of my twelve weeks I will have enough time to start running fundraisers, workshops, and clothing swaps along with attending community events like today’s Clean Up Australia Day.
Look forward to hearing about your experiences below.