Tag Archive | The Artist’s Way

Creativity Goals Check-In October 18, 2020

goals12Goals from Last Week – How Did it Go?

Writing

  • work on blog at least five days – two, maybe three?
  • at least five sessions of digitizing old writing – Six.
  • work on disability letter for the school – not at all.

Music

Lifestyle

  • sleep without the phone (a struggle you can read about here) – this will put me at 210 nights (30 weeks) in a row – oh boy, yeah, I broke my streak after 206.
  • write Morning Pages every day – YES.
  • don’t look at phone until after Morning Pages every day – did this a couple days, until I broke the phone streak above.
  • do an Artist Date – yes, went to The Differentialists group, which I love. It’s a group started by some classmates where we work through medical mysteries, and it feeds my imaginary life of being House.
  • finish sorting through clothes – still in progress.
  • finish sorting through books – still in progress.
  • sort through file cabinet – Yes, completely.
  • sort through storage – not started.
  • sort through kitchen cabinets – almost done.

Reflections on the Week

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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

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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 – Synchronicity

astronomySynchronicity takes up a big section of Week Three: Recovering a Sense of Power (you can read about the rest of the chapter here). Enough that I thought it deserved its own post.

I can see why Julia Cameron put it in this chapter on Power, along with Anger and Shame and Growth. Synchronicity is the power of manifestation, of making things happen, of initiative and setting things in motion.

It’s also an aspect of this book that I struggle with. It goes back to my basic struggle with belief. With one side of me being the most hyper-rational skeptic and the other side believing (or at least wanting to) in magic and miracles.

There’s a task in one of the later chapters to record yourself (she was probably thinking tape recorders at the time) reading one of the essays in the book, and I chose this one because I struggle with it so much. (Next time, I’m picking a shorter section to record!)

Synchronicity, and My History Playing With It

When I was doing AW when I was younger, I believed in this synchronicity stuff more, and generally believed in things that could be believed in more. I was maybe a little skeptical but eager to try it out. And the results were…mixed at best.

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Creativity Goals Check-In September 20, 2020

notebooksGoals from Last Week – How Did it Go?

Writing

  • work on Moonchild (writing project) all seven days – did six.
  • work on blog at least five days – did four.
  • at least seven sessions of digitizing old writing – DONE.
  • craft and send an important tweet – didn’t even think about it, will have to put this back on for next week.

Music

  • seven guitar practice sessions – did six.
  • get up through song 98 of Book One of my Hal Leonard Guitar Method Complete Edition book – just one new song this week, it has melody, harmony and rhythm parts and it’s long so it’ll be plenty to keep me busy – DONE.
  • seven piano practice sessions – DONE.
  • Continuing on my quest to catch up on Technic and Composition sections previously skipped in Keyboard Musician for the Adult Beginner book, I will do the composing for Unit 2, Technic and Composing for Unit 3, and Technic for Unit 4 – DONE.

Lifestyle

Reflections on the Week

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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 – Week Two: Recovering a Sense of Identity

brightcitrussunflowerThis chapter, like the name says, focuses on identity. It seems so simple, but I think a blurring of identity underlies a lot of creative blockage. It gets blurry because we get inundated with messages–family, friends, teachers, social media, TV at large–that tell us what we should want, who we should be. And there are parts of ourselves we give up for various reasons. It’s all too easy to get to a place where you’re going through life unsure of who you even are.

I definitely felt that in medical school; I saw myself going through the motions of doing all the things I was supposed to do, and all the things I had to do on top of that, and it all took so much time and energy that I felt like there was so little me left. I’ve also felt something similar in destructive relationships.

For whatever reason, it’s just so easy to lose yourself. At least, it is for me. So, I like this chapter and its tasks and how the focus on self-definition and sorting out the signal from the noise all around us.

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Creativity Goals Check-In September 6, 2020

goals8

Goals from Last Week – How Did it Go?

Writing

  • work on Moonchild all seven days – DONE.
  • work on blog at least five days – DONE.
  • journal about blog at least once – DONE.
  • five digitizing sessions – DONE.

Music

Lifestyle

  • sleep without the phone (a struggle you can read about here) – this will put me at 168 nights (24 weeks) in a row – DONE.
  • write Morning Pages every day – DONE.
  • don’t pick up the phone until after Morning Pages – I held off on picking up the phone until after MPs on four days, and definitely felt the MPs went smoother and faster on days I didn’t look at my phone first.
  • do an Artist Date – DONE. I took time out and watched a movie.

Reflections on the Week

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The Artist’s Way Reflections – Time Travel: Creative Monsters and Champions

task7Today’s column will cover the Time Travel tasks from Week One. Next week, we’ll move on to Week Two. You can find the full schedule for the rest of the year at the bottom of this post!

I decided to pull out the Time Travel tasks (Tasks 3-7, so most of them) from Week One in their own post for a couple of reasons. One was to be able to ease in, pacing-wise, by spreading Week One out over two weeks here.

Sometimes starting (or restarting) The Artist’s Way can feel a bit like thawing out something frozen, and there’s something painful and scary about that. It can be like melting something that solidified inside you. And it’s not easy.

To me, these Time Travel tasks feel like the first steps in that process. And they can be hard. Last time through, in March, I skipped most of them and only half-heartedly and incompletely did the ones I didn’t skip.

I thought they deserved extra attention in their own post as an acknowledgement that they’re hard, and a way of tackling them together.

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