Tag Archive | Julia Cameron

The Artist’s Way Reflections – Week Six: Recovering a Sense of Abundance

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Week Six: Recovering a Sense of Abundance

The Great Creator

This section strikes me kinda off. I hate to say that but it’s probably the part of the book I have the biggest problem with, and not in a grumpy, skeptical way as I do with other essays in the book.

A lot of the quotes are obnoxious and somewhat contradictory to things she writes. And I think things she writes contradict each other and the lack of internal consistency bothers me. So does the feeling that this chapter drives home, that yeah this is written for middle class people or above, SES-wise, and that bothers me.

But I also think about how AW came out in 1992, and given book publishing timelines and her own telling of how AW came together, she probably wrote a lot of it in the ’80s, which was a different time in terms of cost of living vs. wages, families being okay on just one salary, and so forth.

It just seems like it’s geared towards people who are depriving themselves of joy out of some idea of martyrdom equals goodness, and I get that, but there’s something glib about it that I don’t like. Like yeah, a lot of people would love to dump a drudgy job, or put art first and money second, but for a lot of people that’s just not possible because the money concerns are survival concerns. It’s like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. A lot of us would like to prioritize creativity more, but it’s hard to do if your basic needs at the base of that pyramid aren’t met.

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The Artist’s Way Reflections – Week Five: Recovering a Sense of Possibility

whitepumpkinThis was another volatile week for me. I think it’s just a volatile time. I had a hard time sticking to things like Morning Pages, after thinking I’d turned a corner on that.

The damn pages just aren’t letting me ignore feelings that I’d much rather ignore and it’s annoying.

In this chapter, she talks about wanting to be left alone, and I’m definitely feel that to some degree, and also in these quarantine times, the need for human connection feels paramount, especially as someone who’s living the quarantine life alone.

It feels somehow that this is out of balance for me, like I’d like to work in more connections in some ways and less in others and I’d like to think and write on that to re-center as it applies to in-person, virtual, phone time and social media.

Week Five: Recovering a Sense of Possibility

Limits

One thing that really spoke to me in this section was the bit about how we’re miserly with ourselves because we’re afraid of overspending any spiritual abundance. For me, it manifests as a fear of jinxing things, a fear of getting my hopes up, a fear of what horrible thing will happen if too many good things happen.

Does anyone else feel this way?

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The Artist’s Way Reflections – Week Four: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

orkilapostcard

She says we might feel volatile this week and I…feel volatile. And pissy. I suppose that’s part of the process that happens when reading and doing this book and all that comes with it, the ways that you get more real with yourself and how you feel about things, a big theme in this chapter and in the book as a whole.

I hope doing this book will eventually bear fruit, and also that this post isn’t too volatile and pissy to read. I thought of erasing so much of it (and did some) but also felt like the realness of what this process is like is important to share.

Some part of me feels lighter for having written this and being real, and I’m reminded that as stagnant and persistent as the volatility and pissiness may feel right now, they aren’t permanent and eventually will become something else. To quote House in one of my favorite episodes, (the season one finale, where he’s treating his ex’s new husband and talking to her on the roof), “Something always changes.” But for now, here we are.

Week Four: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

Honest Changes

The meat of the chapter. In length and in topic, this feels like the crux of it. And it spoke to me.

First, the part about the kriyas, that physical manifestation of big change. I’ve felt that throughout my life at big moments. I’m reminded of a time, probably in the fall of 2004 but that might be off, when I read something I wrote to my writer’s group. We met and shared weekly but this week I read something that was more difficult and that felt like spilling secrets in a way that made me feel both ashamed and flooded with relief to say it, out loud, to people.

The next day, I got sick with a cold that hung on for over a week. And I always felt the two were connected, that somehow clearing out that writing by speaking it aloud cleared something out of my body too, the tension of having held something in for so long.

More recently, anytime I’ve taken a step towards leaving medical school, like writing to a dean about it, writing to my parents about it, and then most strongly after posting about it here, I’ve gone through a bout of is “Is this covid or an emotional hangover?” because I felt so worn down.

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The Artist’s Way Reflections – Week Three: Recovering a Sense of Power

MPjournal early fallIn today’s column, I’ll look at all of the essays, exercises and tasks of Week Three in The Artist’s Way, except for Synchronicity, a fairly long section, which will be the focus of next week’s post. That’s a whole beast of a topic to tackle.

In thinking about this week and all its topics, including Synchronicity, it strikes me that this one line in the Detective Work, an Exercise section could be the topic sentence for the whole chapter. It reads:

“Many blocked people are actually very powerful and creative personalities who have been made to feel guilty about their own strengths and gifts.”

She goes on to say that:

“Made to feel guilty for their talents, they often hide their own light under a bushel for fear of hurting others. Instead, they hurt themselves.”

To my mind, all the little essays in this chapter illuminate more about these lines, and get at how we lose our power through shamings and criticisms, how we give away our power by ignoring the messages from our difficult friend Anger, and how to start to take it back with detective work, synchronicity, and finally, growth.

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The Artist’s Way Reflections – The Basic Tools: The Artist Date

Artist DateIn The Artist’s Way, the seminal book on creativity, author Julia Cameron introduces two Basic Tools, after the introduction and before the week-by-week chapters. These two Basic Tools, she says, are the cornerstone to connecting with creativity.

The first is Morning Pages, discussed in last week’s Artist’s Way Reflections column, the practice of writing three handwritten pages of whatever comes to mind every morning. I’ve wrestled with these pages, but ultimately find them to be helpful, a way to connect to what I’m actually feeling, which isn’t always easy but is in its own way grounding. They’re also a good source of fresh ideas, a way to puzzle through problems and often a place to dump the mental waste before starting the day.

The second Basic Tool is the Artist Date. You’re supposed to go on a “date” with your artist self once a week. Do something fun for an hour and no one else is allowed to come along. Quality time with your creative side.

And I’m going to be real. I get the theory behind it, it all sounds great when Julia Cameron extols the values of an Artist Date. But in actuality, I hate it.

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