the artist's way

I already mentioned that I’ve had a Morning Pages practice on/off since last year. But what I didn’t mention was that despite having the book on the shelf all that time, I hadn’t actually read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

Well, something shifted this last wee while, and I’m on my second week right now. It has coincided with the new season of the Chopra Center 21 Day Meditation Challenge, and although I didn’t plan it that way, I’m sure it is no coincidence :: different techniques, different process, different language :: same story!

Mentioning that I was taking the course on Instagram stirred up a fair bit of interest, and a group of us have decided to work through it together. Nothing formal – but should you wish to join in, then please do – I’d love to know how the experience is for you.

I’ll be commenting on my experience via Instagram and my Facebook page, although there may also be some blogposts here from time to time. If you do end up writing about it, then I’d love for you to share a link!

What is it all about?

The Artist’s Way is a 12 week course to help you in “discovering and recovering your creative self”, presented in a book format. There is also an online community based course you can sign up to if you prefer.

There’s a high spiritual content to the book, and a lot of mention of the word Creator and God, and I wasn’t aware of this before beginning the course, but Julia brings it up right at the very beginning in the introduction;

Because The Artist’s Way is, in essence, a spiritual path … this book uses the word God. This may volatile for some of you … Please be open-minded.

So I find myself being open-minded, as in chapter 2, I am reminded (although about a different subject);

It is not necessary that we change any of our beliefs. It is necessary that we examine them.

As it happens, I’m quite comfortable about my notions of spirituality, but it did come as a surprise to me, so I thought it’d be worth mentioning.

How is it going?

I’ll be honest with you, for the first week, I was in a foul mood! Now, honestly, I’m not sure if this was just circumstantial (there’s some heavy stuff going on in the background here) or if it was triggered by the course. Thinking on it for a couple of days, I guess it is an unsurprising combination of both (and the new meditations on Mind Body Odyssey).

I’m a recovering artist <did you see what I said there? I said ‘artist’> having poured my creative energies into other peoples’ projects for about 20 years whilst neglecting my own calling (that eventually made me very unhappy, and led me here). In that sense, week one has offered me much-needed affirmation, permission, confirmation and encouragement.

It has also introduced a much needed focus, which is not project related – an unusual state of affairs to find myself in.

In between enjoying some arting, supporting friends & family and managing a little work, I’d been doing a fair bit of ranting and complaining all week long. The kind of behaviour which when I come across it in other people, I get quite cross about.

When I was doing my week 1 check-in, I realised that I was choosing the wrong mantra. That all I had to do was to start singing a different song, and things could change.

Moving deeper, I could put forward the case, that even as I am making a leap towards acknowledging my truth, I have also been getting in my own way. The ranting was not in fact coming from the real me (the real me, the artist, was busy doing what she should). It comes instead from my core negative beliefs and from a place of fear.

Scared to be vulnerable, scared to be rubbish, scared to be mocked, scared that I’ve got it wrong once more, I have been indulging in negative affirmations about how little time I have, how I don’t have the opportunity to do what I want to do.

And so I have decided to choose a different mantra. It is a bit of a muddle of some of the suggested creative affirmations in Week 1, and it goes like this;

I am a talented artist and I use my creativity to heal myself and others.

We’ll see if it has changed anything in a week’s time!