As some of you may be aware two weeks ago I committed myself to twelve weeks of creative discovery and recovery using The Artist’s Way twelve week program from Julia Cameron. Many you have jumped aboard the program. For those who have I hope that you are enjoying the process and I know I would love to hear your thoughts and discoveries thus far. Spill the beans in the comments section below!
Now…down to business.
Reading Review: Week 2
Week two of this process creative recovery process is centred around recovering a sense of self identity. This week addressed some of the issues I had arise in week ones program. Many of my blockages or obstacles in creative work come from limitations I place on myself, rather than external forces. Sure, we all know that deep down some of these internal negativities originate from external sources, but despite my best efforts last week I really couldn’t come up with any substantial external negativity in my past. So I am blaming myself for any negativity that surrounds my creative pursuits. With these thoughts in mind I headed into week two ready to move ‘myself into my personal identity and a self defined me‘.
This weeks readings were based around the ideas of tackling our personal doubts like recovering alcoholics. Firstly Cameron addresses the idea of poisonous playmates. No, she isn’t talking about your pet rattlesnakes, more those ‘friends’ that may see your attempts to rediscover your creative self as a personal attack on them. These friends may be ones that have been experiencing their own blockages, and using her alcoholic analogy, expecting them to be happy for you is ‘like expecting your best friends from the bar to celebrate your sobriety’. Another possible blockage on your path to creative recovery are those ‘crazymakers’ you know the ones, they turn up on your doorstep at all hours of the night to discuss their problems with you, borrow your favourite items and return them months later only after you ask for them back for the fifth time, and spread gossip about what others have said about you (true or not).
On this path to personal recovery we are also at risk of sabotage by our inner forces. The first of these issues is your inner skeptic. The inner skeptic is that agonising little voice in your mind that likes to doubt. From my additional reading last week I can align this self sabotage with not trusting, or worst still, silencing your inner wisdom. That gut instinct or intuition that tells us in our hearts what is the right path to take or decision to make. Often our mind will second guess this heart feeling trying to add logic and reason to our decision. I have felt personally in my life that the times I have listened to my head not my heart I have ended up unhappy in my decision. While never regretting the choices I have made, as they have provided opportunities to learn, retrospect always sees me thinking ‘you idiot, why didn’t you go with your gut feeling’. Around two years ago I decided that would be what I would do and I haven’t regretted the decision one bit! Even if, on the odd occasion, I come across as a bit flakey ‘Oh I would love to come to your party but my gut feeling is ‘no I shouldn’t’ and I have to trust my intuition’. He he he.
Another personal block to creative ventures is attention. You know, that annoying thing that tells you to go outside and chase butterflies or clean the bathroom, when you should really be working on your writing, or sewing a new dress. That constant day dream that keeps us in the future rather than the now. Attention, for me, is a dirty word. Some may say I am easily distracted (myself included). This is evident by looking at my school and Uni marks. Subjects that interested me saw me topping the class, anything ‘boring’ resulted in me just scraping through. Through my yoga studies, science work and personal reading I am getting better at focusing on the task at hand, regardless of how mundane it can be, and finding ways to make mundane or repetitive work more like a moving meditation that a chore. Anyways, I know this is an area I personally need to work on, and will likely have to work indefinitely.
Task Review: Week 2
This weeks tasks were relatively similar to last weeks. Things seem to just be gaining in creative momentum. It has been really nice to see how interlinked the idea of creativity is with work/life balance. Many of the tasks look at listing where your time is currently being spent, what you would prefer to be doing rather than the other crap that fills your time, working out how to fit more ‘fun’ into your life, and knocking small (or large) items off your to-do list. It looks like ‘getting your life in order’ is the number one priority when it comes to making time and space for creative thinking.
Checking in and Reflecting
Despite all the interruptions with cyclone Marcia I surprised myself by getting all of the weeks tasks completed. I didn’t experience too many surprises as to what interrupts much of my creative time. Work, cooking, cleaning, social and family obligations, and exercise. All the regular suspects. It was interesting to see that in a week with so many interruptions to the ‘sort-of’ schedule that I keep I was able to get many of the ‘tasks’ done. I picked a few of the de-cluttering chores that have been on my list since my new years resolution to simplify and actually managed to get a couple of them completed and several actioned. Cyclone Marcia complicated things a little and I haven’t been able to indulge in my early morning beach yoga sessions (they would have been underwater yoga). Other than that I am feeling quite happy with my week two efforts.
As per instructions I have been including affirmations in my morning pages. My affirmation of choice at the moment (I have been focusing on one) is focused on security and comes from an external source to The Artists Way book. My focus on security comes from a desire for more stability in my life. While things do work out quite well for me, science is a fickle beast and swings from high to low when it comes to funding availability. Having a secure income would free up more of my head space to write, create, and give back. I have really missed being able to ‘get out there’ and run or help out in community events. Brining stability into my life will give me the opportunity to give back more than words and ideas. I might even be able to start running the clothing swaps that ‘Sustainability in Style’ started out as! Other than that my morning pages have been very much pulled into the realm of the present with the extreme weather events. There might even be a whole two pages of writing ‘rain, rain go away’.
Rain-checked…. quite literally. The cyclone put this one off. While much work got done in week two, there wasn’t too much fun to be had. Not even any opportunities for photos so I had to trawl through my gallery for todays image. Sorry folks. The image pays homage to what my artists date would of looked like this week if I had of had the chance to have one.
Reflection on Week Two
While I haven’t felt any monumental shifts in my life over the past two weeks I can feel a change occurring in my daily patterns. My days are feeling much longer and less stressed, and my writing is flowing with ease. This could be attributed to a number of factors but I believe that making a commitment to this program, having a ‘schedule’ for creative thinking, and taking time out every morning to get the creative juices flowing with morning pages has been the kick-starter.
Anyways that’s all for me for now lets hear from you:
What have been your experiences with the program so far?
Have you had ‘slap in the face’ kind of awakenings or slow and steady realisations like myself?
Share with us below!
PS. Sorry this weeks update is a day late. We can blame cyclone Marica for my tardiness. Yesterday was spent cleaning up the yard after the storm passed. No time for blogging. Did see some awesome wildlife in the yard though, a big green tree frog, a legless lizard, and many skinks!