Welcome back ladies and gentlemen,
How has your week been? Have you managed to do an artist’s date? And are you ready for the first week of “The Artist’s Way”? I hope you are because it would be a shame if we could not do this journey together.
In the next 12 weeks, I will add the so-called check-in from Julia Cameron’s book at this point which gives you the chance to have a look back at your experiences. I think that is one of the most important points when trying to improve yourself: Check-in and figure out what has improved, what needs working and most of all celebrate your journey.
I will also share our fellow self-care explorers post. Last week Emilia took the time to share hers and you can find the post here. Emilia does like both the idea of the artist’s date and journaling which she does anyway. I find her conclusion that she does a lot of things she enjoys already so her Artist’s Date in a way already works. She also shared a song from the year she was born in which was Enya’s Paint the Sky with Stars which I did not know but enjoyed much. I love Enya but haven’t listened to her much. It’s such relaxing music. Please head over and enjoy the song too and cheer Emilia on on her self-care journey. Thank you!
For me, it is a similar experience to Emilia’s. I have read and done The Artist’s Way three times so Morning Pages in my own way and the Artist’s Date are part of my life anyway. I had times when I did not do it but I always regret it. I feel it is important to journal for knowing what you need which in turn helps you to take action. And I also like to try out things. I suspect that it were artist dates when I learned to bake Jamie Oliver’s Artisan Bread, make scones and a quiche because these were all things I wanted to do for a long while. But my usual go-to is Minecraft as I explained last week, I think.
As for the music. Blimey, 1970 is such a long way back and there were so many songs in the charts then. So I chose the German Top 10 and the weeks around the 26th of October which is my birthday. Unfortunately, the Germans did love some rather kitsch songs back in the days and I ended up with some Miguel Rios singing the Song of Joy. The only reason I stayed with it is that the music comes from Ludwig van Beethoven and I love the original. So let’s have some fun with the good old days 😉
copyright: Ludwig van Beethoven and Miguel Rios via YouTube
That’s a proper laugh, isn’t it?
So, it’s time for week one of The Artist’s Way and we will recover some memories and hopefully some sense of safety too. As I explained last week: I will give you a summary of Julia Cameron’s chapters and guide you to the exercises she suggests. However, I think it is better to get the book either from the library or buy it for you to be able to read the original. It will give you some deeper insights. But feel free to do what you feel is best.
Week one The Artists date
Recovering a sense of safety
Julia Cameron works along certain concepts she developed throughout her teaching and creating career in The Artist’s Way. One of them is called “Shadow Artist” and she explains it in the first chapter of the course.
According to her “Shadow Artist’s” are people who have learned from an early age on that their creative yearnings are just fancy ideas and won’t pay the bills. They have internalised this idea so well, that they proceed in careers which do not fulfil them but surround themselves with artists who create in the line of creativity they want to be active in. She gives many examples of people she encountered but I won’t repeat them here. I think you get the idea.
The Artist Child and Core Negative Beliefs
She goes on to explain that the part of ourselves that wants to create is a child and needs protecting. She calls it the “Artist Child”. It needs protection from all the opinions about artists that we have learned mostly subconsciously in our childhood. However, they do affect our idea about creating and often stop us completely to even think about still creating when we are adults. She calls those beliefs the enemy within but also “Core Negative Beliefs”. If you have had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy you have come across this concept before.
Fears that stop us from being creative
She then says we are basically scared of the unknown if we start being creative. What might happen if I start writing, drawing, cooking, baking? She gives examples of what we might think about being creative deep down:
I can’t be a prolific successful artist because:
- Everyone will hate me
- I will hurt my friend and family.
- I will go crazy.
- I will abandon my friends and family
- I can’t spell
- I don’t have good enough ideas
- It will upset my mother and/or father
- I will have to be alone
- I will find out I am gay (if straight)
- I will be struck straight (if gay)
- I will do bad work and not know it and look like a fool
- I will feel too angry
- I will never have any real money
- I will get self-destructive and drink, drug, or sex myself to death
- I will get cancer, AIDs- or a heart attack or the plaque
- My lover will leave me
- I will die
- I will feel bad because I don’t deserve to be successful
- I will have only one good piece of work in me
- It’s too late. If I haven’t become a fully functioning artist yet, I never will.
These beliefs are not conscious but show us what adults, our society and religion might have thought about being an artist. We have subconsciously taken on those beliefs and they keep us scared. But, Julia Cameron says, these are just that: Its beliefs not necessarily the truth. She also says: “What you are is scared. Core negatives keep you scared.” and fear is the enemy of art.
The problem is that these beliefs always go against parts of ourselves that are very important for our wellbeing: our lovability, our sexuality and our intelligence and what we deep down belief about it. If we believe writers are lonely then, of course, we won’t start writing no matter how unhappy we are not doing it because no one wants to be lonely.
Your ally within: affirmative weapons
But there is a way to turn these negative beliefs around which are affirmations. You find out what negative thing you believe and you change it into a positive statement. Using the above example
Writers are lonely
Writers have a community
Make sure not to use words with a negative connotation when creating positive affirmations. So “Writers are lonely” changed into “Writers are not lonely” probably won’t work because there is a “not” in the affirmation. “Not” isn’t particularly positive, you know.
So Julia Cameron suggests an exercise:
Write down ten times “I (name) am a brilliant and prolific (add creative activity you want to pursue)”. While writing this down listen to what thoughts come up. You might experience thoughts like “Brilliant and prolific? I don’t think so”. Julia Cameron calls these objections blurbs and asks us to write them down. You will be surprised what rotten things your subconsciousness tells you. In my experience, it is rather nasty but worth changing around. Those blurbs are your personal negative beliefs about being an artist. Then she suggests some detective work:
Break your life down into 5-year increments and write down sources of core beliefs as they come to mind. Both positive and negative. Don’t worry if they don’t show up directly. You will experience that more will come up in your morning pages. Add them as and when they turn up.
After you finished your detective work she suggests to go back to your blurbs and change them into positive affirmations.
I give you an example: For me lately the comment “You do not stick with your blogs” comes up when I write down “I, Bee, am a brilliant and prolific blogger”. So I change it into “I stick with “The Bee Writes…”.
Do this with all the blurbs that came up when writing the sentence about you being a brilliant and prolific artist. Then write down the new positive statements after your morning pages. The tasks mentioned so far are supposed to be done while reading the first chapter. The next list of tasks is for doing throughout the week. They are as follows
- Do the Morning pages every day
- Give yourself an Artists date
- List three old enemies (go back to your life roster and see which people came up that said something negative about you when you tried the art you loved to do. All those people are your Hall of Horrors. List three of those people)
- Write a horror story from your hall of horrors (Write down one memory of not being taken seriously as an artist)
- Write a letter to your editor in your defence (Take this horror story and write a letter in your defence to your inner editor. You know the guy that tells you can’t do the things you want to do. Tell him or her why you deserve support and why your art worth pursuing)
- List three champions of your creativity (Go back to your life roster and see which people came up that said something positive about you when you tried the art you loved to do. All those people are your hall of Fame or support. List three of them.)
- Write a thank you letter to yourself (Write a positive letter to yourself. You deserve it!)
- 5 imaginatively lives (Don’t think just write down 5 life’s you would like to live. One of my favourites is being an explorer. I’ll never go to unexplored areas but that’s not the point. I just would like to be one. You get the gist of the task?)
- Add any monsters (people who were negative about you being an artist) to your list that pop up with morning pages)
- Take yourself for a walk
Yes, I know. That is a lot to do. And it is really intense. It is ok if you can’t manage all. There is enough time in your life to catch up with them. Some are used for different tasks later on but you can do them then. It works. I’ve done it that way so just relax.
I am also aware how personal all this is. So please be careful with how much you want to share. And feel free not to share anything. It is perfectly fine to just give an overall idea of how your week went and add the music. Ah, yes music
Are you old enough to remember the series “Ally McBeal” and one of their characters John Cage played by Peter McNicholl? Ally McBeal was a late 90’s series about a bunch of more or less neurotic lawyers. One of them is John Cage who has therapy and his therapist suggests to think about a song when life gets too threatening. A song that makes him feel safe and capable. I always loved that idea and in fact, have changing encouraging songs since then.
As long as we work with “The Artist’s Way” I want you to choose a song that encourages you and makes you feel supported. Choose a new one each week so you can create a music list of support. When life gets tough it is good to listen to it and gain your courage back.
And just to remember how to take part
SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE
- ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
- ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
- ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
- ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
- ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
- ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
- ~ I’ll share a round-up & invitation post with a self-care activity & suggestion on what sort of music to share on Monday Mornings.
NOW MY DEAR READERS,
GO, find a sense of safety
AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN
I am not a health professional. My posts describe my thoughts, my experiences and my conclusions about life, mental health and self-improvement. My described actions always go alongside therapy and do not substitute professional advice by a health professional be it a doctor, therapist or counsellor.
I invite you to try out self-care tools, however, if any of these make you feel uncomfortable please stop and do not go further ahead. Also, if any of the tools suggested bring up issues that need dealing with do not hesitate to reach out for professional help.
To recognise when you need to stop and when to reach out for professional or any other help is one important part to learn when it comes to self-care.
Please look here if you need further guidance:
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