Morning Pages ~ Basic Principles

June 2019

I might have re-posted this one recently but I think its an important part if you want to be creative and it might be a reminder for those who did “The Artist’s Way” with me back in autumn 2018 on Music Monday Care & Love

January 2017

I have read and worked with Julia Cameron’s tools and ideas for more than 20 years but in 2014 I  had another go at them and blogged about it. One part that has changed my view of creativity is her “basic principles”. I think it is good to remind ourselves of them at the beginning of the year therefore, I share my old post with you again:

2014

As I wrote before I just have finished reading Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way ~ A spiritual path to higher creativity” but I thought it might be good to just do it again and to share with you what changes are happening. Besides that is exactly what the book suggests :-).

There is an introduction bit where she explains how she came about to write the book and start the “The Artist’s Way” movement. What I like about the book is that it is filled with quotes from different artists and teachers which reinforces what she is writing about. I also like the idea that creativity is a spiritual experience and expression.

After this and at the beginning of the course she is speaking about the so-called “basic principles”. The book explains that we usually have an idea of a God being against our creative motivations even though many religions teach that god is a creator. Artists are creators as well as they create art and so the book’s idea is to align the idea of a creator god with the creating artist: God (no matter which spiritual path you follow) wants you to be creative ~ which is a very empowering thought.

The basic principles amplify this idea to lead the reader from a culturally enforced guilty feeling about wanting to do art towards a guilt-free enjoyment of anything creative one wants to do as god asks us to do exactly that.

She then asks the reader to read the basic principles once every day for seven days and watch the changes that happen. Here are those basic principles and I challenge you to read them every day and then take notice of what changes in your perception of art, being creative and in your life as a whole.

(The following sentences are taken from the Kindle Version of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” at location 296)

Basic Principles

  1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.
  2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life – including ourselves.
  3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator’s creativity within us and our lives
  4. We are, ourselves, creation. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
  5. Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God
  6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature.
  7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction.
  8. As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.
  9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity
  10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move towards our divinity.

Video credit: Lilou Mace via YouTube

RECOVERING A SENSE OF FAITH ~ WEEK XII OF JULIA CAMERON’S “THE ARTIST’S WAY” ON MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen not only to the last day of the year 2018 but also the last chapter of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” on Music Monday Care & Love. What a year it has been and what three months of a creative and self-care recovery.

As I said last week: No need to worry. You can jump into this course anytime you want to. I will set up a page for it so you can come back to all of it and I am happy to support you. Just let me know in the comments or send me an email with the subject “Julia Cameron – The Artists’s Way” to bee.halton[at]gmail.com. I will also give you shoutouts if you write blog posts about it.

This week I will just introduce you to the last chapter and do no summary of self-care explorers experiences. Reason for this is that I have written this post just before Christmas so these are not available to me when writing. Next year uh week 😉 I will do a summary of the whole course so there will be space for sharing experiences and opinions.  I offer you the check-in questions anyway and then get on with it 😉

Check-in

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? How was the experience for you? have you recommended morning pages to anyone else? Why?
  2. Did you do your artist date this week? (Have you considered scheduling an entire artist’s day? Whew!) What did you do? How did it feel?
  3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?
  4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

video source: Kovacs via YouTube

Recovering a Sense of Faith

This last week is all about understanding the spiritual heart of creativity which asks trust and receptivity from us. Julia Cameron helps us to understand last-minute sabotage and asks us to commit to the use of the learned tools.

trusting

Julia Cameron’s suggestion is that to be creative we need to trust the universe to give us all we need from inspiration to whatever income we need. Her suggestion is that if we fully say yes to our creative dream the universe will open doors to give us what we need. She quotes mythologist Joseph Campbell who said: ” Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before.”.

It means to give up control over how our life is supposed to go and trust those hunches that say:” do this, do that!” no matter how it looks like. Judging from my experience since March when I left my job I would say this is right. While I have no income my husband got a better job just when we needed it, I got help from my step-mother to pay some of my debts off and we got freebies all over the place.

I am still quite ambivalent about what my path is and Julia Cameron suggests in this part that that is the reason why I am not able to see clearly where to go. But I am in a process of leaving these doubts behind and just to go for it fully. I will find out if her idea is right, that if we follow our true path all will fall into place.

mystery

Here Julia Cameron explains that all creative projects need a phase of murky gestation in darkness where we do not know what really is going on. there is just an idea, a hunch but it needs to germinate like seeds in the soil. She suggests that writing morning pages – “mulling over the page” she calls it – gives us that darkness where our ideas slowly can form and find the light of our consciousness.

“hatching an idea is a lot like baking bread. An idea needs to rise. If you poke at it too much at the beginning, if you keep checking on it, it will never rise. A loaf of bread or a cake, baking, must stay for a good long time in the darkness and safety of the oven. Open that oven too soon and the bread collapses – or the cake gets a hole in its middle because all the steam has rushed out of it. Creativity requires a respectful reticence. The truth is this is how to raise ideas. Let them grow in dark and mystery. let them form on the roof of our consciousness. let them hit the page in droplets. Trusting this slow and seemingly random drip, we will be startled one day by the flash of “oh, That’s it!” Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, chapter 12

the imagination at play

Here Julia Cameron describes that doing mundane tasks often help us to solve creative but also life tasks. My experience is that this is true. If I feel my life is muddled and I can’t see my path cleaning house is a brilliant way of getting clarity inside too. Her examples are that she askes her screenplay students when they are stuck halfway through their screenplay to go home and mend something. She says that helps to mend their creative “problem” too.

“There is a release into a humility that comes from doing something by rote. As we serve our hobby, we are freed from our ego’s demands and allowed the experience of merging with a greater source. This conscious contact frequently affords us the perspectives needed to solve vexing personal or creative conundrums.” Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, Chapter 12

She then goes on to explain that we need to get serious about taking ourselves lightly. To allow ourselves to play around to solve problems. You know what brainstorming means? Just playing around with ideas on how to solve a problem. That is the same mechanism. She says that when we write morning pages we often remember art without a capital A (that art that needs to earn money and be famous) that we have done as children or teenagers. I am the living proof of that because I remembered how much I loved singing and am on the lookout for a choir or band to sing with.

She goes on to say that no matter how “grown-up” and “serious” we want to be our creative dreams won’t die. They are survivors and strive for us to bring them into being. Often, if we do that, we can also be “serious” and fulfil our “grown-up” responsibilities much better. Julia Cameron says: “You either lose your mind or gain your soul!”

escape velocity

Here Julia Cameron suggests that we all have to evade “The Test”. We are set to do something like creating that new course and blurt it out to that one friend who always makes us doubt ourselves. And if we don’t blurt he or she calls… and stops us from doing what we set out to do.

Julia Cameron’s answer to this conundrum is: Shut up. Don’t let anybody who is not 100% supportive know about your ideas. And then go for it. “Set your goals and set your boundaries”.  Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, chapter 12. We have learned in this course to protect ourselves and our dreams. Now let’s go and do it

tasks

  1. Write down any resistance, angers, and fears you have about going on from here. We all have them.
  2. Take a look at your current areas of procrastination. What are they payoffs in your waiting? Locate the hidden fears. Do a list on paper.
  3. Sneak a peek at Week One, Core Negative Believes (see week one). Laugh. Yes, the nasty critters are still there. Note your progress. Read yourself the affirmations on pages 36-37 (in the book, I did not use them here so I offer you a video about them

    video source: Theo Brama on YouTube).
    Write some affirmations about your continued creativity as you end the course.
  4. Mend any mending
  5. Repot any pinched and languishing plants
  6. Select a God jar. A what? A jar, a box, a vase, a container. Something to put our fears, your resentments, your hopes, your dreams, your worries into.
  7. Use your God jar. Start with our fear list from TAsk 1 above. When worried, remind yourself it’s in the jar -” God’s got it.” Then take the next action.
  8. Now, check how: Honestly, what would you most like to create? Openminded, what oddball paths would you dare to try? Willing, what appearances are you willing to shed to pursue your dream?
  9. List five people you can talk to about your dreams and with whom you feel supported to dream and then plan.
  10. Reread this book. LShare it with a friend. Remember that the miracle is one artist sharing with another. Trust God. Trust yourself.

Good luck and God bless you!

Taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter 12

 

Music Choice

I repeat myself: Please go crazy and choose any song that makes you happy!

JULIA CAMERON “THE ARTIST’S WAY”

As I said in the first post I wrote to “The Artist’s Way” I am just giving you a short rundown of each chapter with my thoughts added plus the tasks she suggests. However, I believe to understand her way of thinking it is important to actually read the book. Many libraries have it on offer but you can also buy it here or at your prefered bookshop and bookseller. And you can also take part in her video course on her page.

And just to remember how to take part

SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

  1. ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
  2. ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
  3. ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
  4. ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
  5. ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
  6. ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
  7. ~ 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 Faith

AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

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 from 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:

UK:

Mind

NHS

USA:

MentalHealth.gov

Canada:

Government of Canada

RECOVERING A SENSE OF AUTONOMY ~ WEEK XI OF JULIA CAMERON’S “THE ARTIST’S WAY” ON MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, how has your week been? Have you recovered a sense of self-protection? Have you discovered new talents of yours or started a new project? I hope all of it and that you had a great week.

I know it is Christmas Eve and many of you might be busy with preparations. But not all of us celebrate Christmas and I believe it is important to keep a little time for self-improvement and self-care especially on busy days. So here we go with the second to last chapter of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”.

Even though I had planned to give us a week off every four weeks it didn’t work out this way. Looks like doing “The Artist’s Way” for the third time unblocked me on levels it hasn’t before. I am so motivated to do the Music Monday Care & Love posts that I fully forgot the break posts :-).

And I feel that it would be good to have this project finished by the end of the year and as it happens the last post will fall on the 31st. I love that. But don’t worry. “The Artist’s Way” posts will be available for the rest of time and you can follow up or start the course whenever you feel it is time for you. I am happy to support you at any time. Just let me know in the comments (I will also keep giving you shoutouts) or at bee.halton[at]gmail.com with the subject “Julia Cameron “The Artist’s Way”.

Check-In Questions

(taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter X)

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? has reading your pages changed your writing? Are you still allowing yourself to write them freely?
  2. Did you do your artist date this week? Let yourself do an extra one. What di you do? How did it feel?
  3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?
  4. were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them

Self-Care Explorers experiences?

Am looking out for you :-)!

Bee’s Experience

Well, do you remember the crisis Julia Cameron described as a Kryia? No, you can’t because I don’t think I used this expression. It’s the experience of a psychological drama happening when we worked too much against our own needs.  For example, we overwork for months and exactly at the beginning of our holidays we get a big cold.

I got a big cold last week. The week that I wanted to use to have all posts sorted until next year so I can concentrate on family and planning the next year on and after Christmas. I had to deal with rather disturbing nosebleeds every time I sneezed that made me feel utterly despairing. I felt rotten. But I got on with my plan to get all the posts done. And that not because I “forced” myself but it just felt the right thing to do. I cut down on other tasks that I had set myself. I played around a little with my Bee SelfCaring post which I loved. I did everything on a much slower pace and managed which made me rather proud.

So what were the needs I did not take care of? To be honest, I can’t think of any. I have much time for everything necessary and feel I had a lot of time for healing this year. Maybe it was the universe’s way of telling me how far I have come this year and that I have learned to believe in myself. Who knows…

Music wise I got my dose of Christmas Pentatonix this week. I have to admit, that I love their Christmas adaptions but am not so much a fan of their other music. Last week I let you know that I was listening to both Disturbed and Pentatonix. This week is was mainly Pentatonix. Especially the White Winter Hymnal. I think that’s haunting…

video credit: Pentatonix via YouTube

RECOVERING A SENSE OF AUTONOMY

So what has Julia Cameron in store for us this week?

I quote from chapter 11 of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”

This week we focus on our artistic autonomy. We examine the ongoing ways in which we must nurture and accept ourselves as artists. We explore the behaviours that can strengthen our spiritual base and, therefore, our creative power. We take a special look at the ways in which success must be handled in order that we not sabotage our freedom.

Acceptance

Julia Cameron here suggests that to be caring for our inner artist we need to stop judging our art in ways of their market value. There are times when great art makes no money and while we do not need to expect to be broke all the time there are times when we are.

The important thing is to accept that not earning money doesn’t mean we are rotten artists. I quote from “The Artist’s Way”: “The idea that mone validates my credibility (as an artist) is hard to shake. If mone determines real art, then Gauguin was a charlatan. As an artist, I may never have a home that looks like Town and country – or I may. On the other hand, I may have a book of poems, a song, a piece of performance art, a film.

I must learn that as an artist my credibility lies with me, God, and my work. In other words, if I have a poem to write, I need to write that poem – whether it will sell or not.” (Julia Cameron, “The Artist’s Way” chapter !!.

She says that the life of an artist often follows other rules than that of “normal” people. We might decorate our houses in funny ways but they inspire us to paint wonderful paintings. We might “waste” our money on perfume in a beautiful bottle because it enables us to write about the ’30s. We need to support our inner artist in ways that others often do not understand. I believe that counts for self-care too. If we truly care for ourselves then we often do things others do not understand: We go for a walk in a huge storm because it makes us happy or we buy a puppy even though we are hard for money because it helps us to be caring.

We need to allow ourselves to do “our own thing” because it will nurture ourselves. That does not mean to be irresponsible and spent money when we do not have a job or leave everything behind. But some things need doing no matter what.

To kill your dreams because they are irresponsible is to be irresponsible to yourself. Credibility lies with you and God _ not with a vote of your friends and acquaintances.” (taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter !!)

Success

Julia Cameron describes here that artists are never “finished”. They strive to explore their areas of exploration no matter how successful their art was or not. Just when we finished something the inner artist gets curious again and sets out to discover new aspects of his or her art.

“As artists, we are spiritual sharks. The ruthless truth is that if we don’t’ keep moving, we sink to the bottom and die. The choice is very simple: we can insist on resting on our laurels, or we can begin anew. The stringent requirement of a sustained creative life is the humility to start again to begin anew.” (taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter 11)

Of course, there is artistic success which often resolves in being asked for undertaking projects over many years. But that might stifle the inner artist and leave him or her bored. That doesn’t mean we should not be successful in our endeavours. It means we need to make space for riskier projects that are much more fun and allow our inner artist to begin a new and to play.

Julia Cameron mentions the morning pages often in this chapter. They are meant to keep us on track to be able to leave all the worries and annoyances on the pages which free us up to follow our responsibilities but also our creative play.

the zen of sports

In this part Julia Cameron describes the importance of moving out of heads and into our bodies. She explains that being an artist means “action”. To be an artist you need to do you art not think about it or dream what you want to do or could be doing. To make this change from head to body and action Julia Cameron suggests that walking 20 min per day as a “moving meditation” is very helpful. She suggests for us to be “in the moment” to experience us walking, the air, the animals around, nature in all its glory.

And I suspect she is perfectly right with this. I experienced this year the ability to do more of what I want and need to do. Incidentally, we got our lovely rescue greyhound Sherky in January and we/I walk her at least twice a day all in all between 20min and 1 1/2 hours. I don’t think it is a coincidence that I am more able to create and fulfil my creative plans. Many of my ideas came to me while walking. And many problems I still struggle or struggled with found a solution while walking. There might be a scientific explanation for this but I don’t care. It works and I am not stopping.

” Exercise teaches the rewards of process. It teaches the sense of satisfaction over small tasks well done…” (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, chapter 11)

Building our artist’s altar

Here Julia Cameron explains that many blocked artists grew up in homes that follow a punitive religion. Their spirituality can’t connect sensuality with spirituality. To unlearn this and to give the inner artist child a focal point she suggests to create an “Artist’s Altar”. A little space in your home that you can fill with things that your inner artist child enjoys but also to create little rituals to follow that bring you into that spiritual creative space.

Tasks

  1. Tape your own voice reading the basic principles (Find them in this post pretty much at the end of the post before the music part). Choose a favourite essay from this book and tape that as well. Use this tape for meditation.
  2. Write out, in longhand, your Artist’s prayer from Week Four. Place it in our wallet.
  3. Buy yourself a special creativity notebook. Number pages one through seven. Give one page each to the following categories: health, possessions, leisure, relationships, creativity, career, and spirituality. With no thought as to practicality, list ten wishes in each area. All right, it’s a lot. let yourself dream a little here.
  4. Working with the honest changes section in Week Four, inventory for yourself the ways you have changed since beginning your recovery.
  5. List five ways you will change as you continue.
  6. List five ways you plan to nurture yourself in the next six months: courses you will take, supplies you will allow yourself, artist’s dates, and vacations just for you.
  7. take out a piece of paper and plan one week’s nurturing for yourself. This means one concrete, loving action every single day for one week: please binge!
  8. Write and mail an encouraging letter to your inner artist. This sound silly and feels very, very good to receive. Remember that your artist is a child and loves praise and encouragement and festive plans.
  9. Once more, reexamine your God concept. Does your belief system limit or support your creative expansion? Are you open-minded about altering your concept of God?
  10. List ten examples of personal synchronicity that support the possibility of a nurturing creative force.

Music Choice

Please go crazy and choose any song that makes you happy!

JULIA CAMERON “THE ARTIST’S WAY”

As I said in the first post I wrote to “The Artist’s Way” I am just giving you a short rundown of each chapter with my thoughts added plus the tasks she suggests. However, I believe to understand her way of thinking it is important to actually read the book. Many libraries have it on offer but you can also buy it here or at your prefered bookshop and bookseller. And you can also take part in her video course on her page.

And just to remember how to take part

SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

  1. ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
  2. ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
  3. ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
  4. ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
  5. ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
  6. ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
  7. ~ 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 autonomy

AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

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 from 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:

UK:

Mind

NHS

USA:

MentalHealth.gov

Canada:

Government of Canada

RECOVERING A SENSE OF SELF-PROTECTION ~ WEEK X OF JULIA CAMERON’S “THE ARTIST’S WAY” ON MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

Welcome back dear readers, I am a little on a roll currently and that is why I did not do a break week anymore. Sorry but I just love what I am doing and couldn’t stop myself 😉

This way though we are finished with “The Artist’s Way” on December 31st and can start the new year with something new. I find that very exciting. And nothing stops you from doing the tasks and reading the posts that cover the book later on. You are welcome anytime!!!!

So with no further ado over to the check-in questions

Check-In

taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter 9

1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Regarding your U-turns, have you allowed yourself a shift toward compassion, at least on the page?

2. Did you do your artist date this week? Have you kept the emphasis on fun? What did you do? How did it feel?

3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?

4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

Self-care Explorer’s experiences

Where are you????!

Bee’s Experiences

Well, I have started to look back on 2018 and to plan for 2019. For the first time, I actually take the time to break my yearly goals down to monthly and daily goals in advance. This will probably take the rest of the month but that is fine. It was one of the tasks of last weeks post and I was surprised that I started it before the book suggested it.

Also, I found several of my old “The Artist’s Way” posts and will re-post some of them over the next couple of weeks. It is so interesting to see how I have changed within 6 years and where I am choosing to head now.

One big change in 2018 certainly is that I allow myself to actually achieve my goals. Not all have worked out but the majority has and I can say I truly am happy and feel more healed than at the beginning of the year. Still lots of work to be done but I get there one step at a time.

My music choices for last week were on two ends of extremes. I was both listening to Disturbed songs and Pentatonix’s Christmas songs. So I made a little playlist with my favourites for you 🙂

 

Video sources: Disturbed and Pentatonix via YouTube

Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection

Yes, we are in week 10! How time flies. But I am excited that we have come that far and I hope my posts and Julia Cameron’s words and tasks have given you some insights in the blocks that hold you back both in your creativity but also in your self-care.

So let’s get on with it. Julia Cameron promises us to figure out dangers on our creative, self-care and spiritual path by looking at the toxic patterns that we love to cling to.

Dangers of the trail

Julia Cameron points out that we all have “poisons” we use to block our creative and in my opinion also self-care development. She mentions love/sex, workaholism, food and drugs. But I believe deep down we all know which actions and things make us feel like victims and make us abandon our creative and self-care dreams.

Mine I would say are my mental health issues, my traumatic experiences and workaholism. But I am self-aware enough of recognising them and have started to work around them. what do you think are yours?

Workaholism

Julia Cameron explains here the workaholism is a difficult “addiction” to deal with as in western society “I am working/I have a job/ I have an income” is an important part of “being grown-up” and a good member of society. And I definitely know what I am talking about… Just in case we think we are not overworking she offers a workaholic test. I quote from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter 10

The Workaholism quiz
  1.  I work outside of office hours: seldom, often,  never?
  2. I cancel dates with loved ones to do more work: seldom, often, never?
  3. I postpone outings until the deadline os over: seldom, often, never?
  4. I take work with me on weekends: seldom, often, never?
  5. I take work with me on vacations: seldom, often, never?
  6. I take vacations: seldom, often, never?
  7. My intimates complain I always work: seldom, often, never?
  8. I try to do two things at once: seldom, often, never?
  9. I allow myself free time between projects: seldom, often, never?
  10. I allow myself to achieve closure on tasks: seldom, often, never?
  11. I procrastinate in finishing p the last loose ends: seldom, often, never?
  12. I set out to do one job and start on three more at the same time: seldom, often, never?
  13. I work in the evenings during family time: seldom, often, never?
  14. I allow calls to interrupt – and lengthen – my work day: seldom, often, never?
  15. I prioritise my day to include an hour of creative work/play: seldom, often,  never?
  16. I place my creative dreams before my work: seldom, often, never?
  17. I fall in with other’s plans and fill my free time with their agendas: seldom, often, never?
  18. I allow myself downtime to do nothing: seldom, often, never?
  19. I use the word deadline to describe and rationalise my workload: seldom, often, never?
  20. Going somewhere, even to dinner, with a notebook or my work numbers is something I do: seldom, often never?

She also says that “overwork” is different for everybody. So we need to find our basic line: The line that stands between work and creativity/self-care at which we stop working and start playing creating, self-caring.

She suggests changing our view of work from building block to block. A block that stops us from creating and self-caring.

Drought

Here Julia Cameron explains that in every creative/self-caring life droughts emerge out of nowhere where we suddenly can’t create anymore. She says these times are terrible and feel like we will never create again but serve a purpose if we allow ourselves to keep on doing the morning pages. There we will find clarity and a new path to follow.  Just like moving through a desert one step at a time we emerge at the other end. And insight will emerge and guide us the right way.

Fame

Julia Cameron considers fame another drug that distracts us from our creative work. When we look at famous peoples work it leaves us feeling not worthy of anything because we do not have fame. We just have our work. But the creative work is what counts and what gets us through the times when we feel we haven’t achieved anything because no one knows about our creations.

Competition

This part of the chapter links in with the previous about fame. The need to gain acknowledgement first and over others is in her eyes another poison. If we concentrate on how our work can gain over someone else’s we might often abort a piece of art because it is not “in style” or “en vogue” and no one seems to be interested in it. However, I have watched a lot of programs about musicians and filmmakers lately and their greatest hits and what most of them said was: “I did not think it would be a great hit. I did it anyway because this person or that person said to go on with it but I never expected it to last that long”

This is amazing in my eyes because we always think that great artists know what works and what doesn’t but it looks like Julia Cameron is right: They just do the job. They do their work, the work their souls long for no matter how their ego’s rebel and how out of date their work is. They just do it. They allow themselves to do crap work too. they move on and use that bad work to learn and create more and master that masterpiece.

I quote Julia Cameron from “The Artist’s Way” chapter 10:

…Never, ever, judge a fledgeling piece of work too quickly. Be willing to paint or write badly while your ego yelps resistance. Your bad writing may be the syntactical breakdown necessary fr a shift in your style. Your louse painting may be pointing you in a new direction. Art needs time to incubate, to sprawl a little, to be ungainly and misshapen and finally emerge as itself. The ego hates this fact. The ego wants instant gratification and the addictive hit of an acknowledged win.

The need to win – now! – is a need to win approval from others. As an antidote, we must learn to approve of ourselves. showing up for the work is the win that matters…

Tasks

(quoted from Julia Cameron “The Artist’s Way”)

  1. The dead lies: Take a piece of paper and cut seven small strips from it. On each strip write one of the following words: alcohol, drugs, sex, work, money, food, family/friends. Fold these strips of paper and place them in an envelope. We call these folded slips the dead lies. You’ll see why in a minute. Now draw one of the dead lies from the envelope and write five ways in which it has had a negative impact on your life. (If the one you choose seems difficult or inapplicable to you, consider this resistance.) You will do this seven times, each time putting back the previous slip of paper so that you are always drawing from seven possible choices. Yes, you may draw the same deadly repeatedly. Yes, this is significant. Very often, it is the last impact on the final list of an annoying “Oh no, not again” that yields a break, through denial, into clarity.
  2. Touchstones: make a quick list of things you love, happiness touchstones for you. River rocks worn smooth, willow trees, cornflowers, chicory, real Italian bread, homemade vegetable oup, the Bo Deans music, black beans and rice, the smell of new-mown grass, blue velvet (the cloth and the song), Aunt Minnie’s crumb pie… Post this list where it can console you and remind you for your own personal touchstones. You may want to draw one of the items on your list – or acquire it. If you love blue velvet, get a remnant and use it as a runner on a sideboard or dresser, or tack it to the wall and mount images on it. Play a little.
  3. The Awful Truth: Answer the following questions: ~ Tell the truth. What habit do you have that gets in the way of your creativity? ~ Tell the truth. What do you think might be a problem? It is. ~ What do you plan to do about the habit or problem? ~ What is your payoff in holding on to this block? ~ If you can’t figure out your payoff, ask a trusted friend. ~ Tell the truth. Which friends make you doubt yourself? (The self-doubt is yours already, but they trigger it.) ~ Tell the truth. Which friends believed in you and your talent? (The talent is yours, but they make you feel it.) ~ What is the payoff in keeping your destructive friends? If the answer is, “I like them,” the next question is, “Why?” ~ Which destructive habits do your destructive friends share with your destructive self?
  4. Setting a bottom line: Working with your answers to the questions above, try setting a bottom line for yourself. Begin with five of your most painful behaviours. You can always add more later. ~ If you notice that your evenings are typically gobbled by your boss’s extra assignments, then a rule must come into play: no work after six. ~ if you wake at six and could write for an hour if you were not interrupted to look for socks and make breakfast and do ironing, the rules might be “No interrupting Mommy before 7:00 AM” ~ If you are working too many jobs and too many hours, you may need to look at your billing. Are you pricing yourself appropriately? Do some footwork. What are others in your field receiving? Raise your prices and lower your workload. …
  5. Cherishing: 1. List five small victories. 2. List three nurturing actions you took for your artist. 3. List three actions you could take to comfort your artist. 4. Make three nice promises to yourself. Keep them. 5. Do one lovely thing for yourself each day this week.

Music Choice

I think for the rest of the course I let you choose which song, playlist or instrumental support your recovery. Go on…

JULIA CAMERON “THE ARTIST’S WAY”

As I said in the first post I wrote to “The Artist’s Way” I am just giving you a short rundown of each chapter with my thoughts added plus the tasks she suggests. However, I believe to understand her way of thinking it is important to actually read the book. Many libraries have it on offer but you can also buy it here or at your prefered bookshop and bookseller. And you can also take part in her video course on her page.

And just to remember how to take part

SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

  1. ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
  2. ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
  3. ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
  4. ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
  5. ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
  6. ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
  7. ~ 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 SElf-Protection

AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

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 from 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:

UK:

Mind

NHS

USA:

MentalHealth.gov

Canada:

Government of Canada

RECOVERING A SENSE OF COMPASSION ~ WEEK IX OF JULIA CAMERON’S “THE ARTIST’S WAY” ON MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, how has your week been? Have you developed a sense of strength? Did you skip it all? Did you make progress?

I feel like I am moving forward just with sticking with this blog event which I have tried to do twice before and always stopped at the second chapter. Can you believe it we are in week 9? But don’t worry: If you skipped some weeks they all stay here and you can come back to them and  move around as you please. You will find them here and there are also old posts from my previous tries.

Before we move onto chapter 9 here the check-in questions for week 8 taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter 8.

Check-In

  1. How many times this week did you do your morning pages? (Have you been very tempted to abandon them?) How was the experience for you?
  2. Did you do your artist date this week? (Have you been allowing workaholism or other commitments to sabotage this practice?) What did you do? How did it feel?
  3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?
  4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

I have done morning pages every day. Over time I have developed a template that allows me to integrate positive quotes, planning for the next day which I do in the evening, gratitude and positive affirmation. All these help me to unblock and become more creative. If you are interested in some of my regular self-care habits feel free to sign up to my Newsletter “Bee SelfCaring” (the first comes out today) here. It is more connected with my new blog over at Weebly (yes, this is blatant self-advertising 😉 ) but I have decided to bring at least Music Monday Care & Love News in too.

You get my “Mini-Guide for Better Wellbeing” when you sign up. The Newsletter will bring together self-care book reviews, self-care resources and other blogs that offer self-care tips. I bring a summary of posts from both blogs and mentions of cool posts I was reading. And of course exclusive reports of where my life is going. If you are interested!!!!

Have I done an artist’s date? I would say no as I haven’t done anything particularly artistic that I always wanted to do. However, I have used the good old iPlayer again and watched a travel-cooking program which was great. Maybe that counts.

Synchronicities. No. Still none. Never mind… 🙂

Anything else important? I would say that my attitude towards myself is shifting from “You can get anything done” to “I do one step at a time and see where it leads”. That is a rather freeing experience. I want to work with this more in the coming year and am using the next couple of weeks to do some planning and organising.

And as for the playlist? Well, I have many on YouTube. My go-to for everything is this one but I created a new one that I play in the evening in the bathroom when I relax and get ready for bed. That is definitely bringing some inspiration into my day 🙂

REcovering a Sense of Compassion ~ WEek IX of Julia Cameron’s “The ARtist’s Way

Developing compassion for myself seems to be an important step to move forward. This chapter is mainly about one point: Letting go of the idea that we are lazy/incapable/not good enough for our self-care journey and our creative projects. Julia Cameron encourages us to call this block what it is: FEAR!

Fear

Here Julia Cameron begins with the necessity for us to call things by their real name. If we cannot get ourselves to do the self-care experience we wanted to or create the piece of art/pasty/garden…. then it is not because we are lazy or incapable: It is because we are blocked. And one of the biggest blocks there are to anyone is fear. She says the blocked artist does use a lot energy and therefore isn’t lazy. The energy is just not spent on self-care or creativity. The energy is spent on self-hatred, regret, grief and on jealousy.

The blocked artist in her opinion does not know how to start with baby steps. The blocked artist directly expects masterpieces from him- or herself without allowing them to play around and create “bad” art. Because that is how you see what works and what doesn’t which in the end helps you to create that masterpiece. She says:

“Do not call the inability to start laziness. Call it fear!” (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, chapter 9)

It is the fear of success or the fear of failure. But mostly she says it is the fear of abandonment. Because as a youngster you might have tried to create or to care for yourself but this went against your parent’s idea for what is good for you. So if you go against your parent’s wishes you better know what you are doing and it better be really good. No space for development. Only space for perfection which most artists will tell you does not exist.

She says:

” The need to be a great artist makes it hard to be an artist.

The need to produce a great work of art makes it hard to produce any art at all.” (Julia Cameron, The Artist Way, chapter (9)

She goes on to suggest that just because you feel you can’t start a project doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It means you need help from your higher power and your friends and/or family and you need to allow yourself to start in small steps. It is so much easier to start with doodling then to create a Monet-style painting, isn’t it?

She also suggests that every single small step needs to be rewarded. Because that encourages the artist child. And then she says:

“Do not call procrastination laziness. Call it fear. … Use love for your artist to cure its fear. Stop yelling at yourself. Be nice. Call fear by its right name.” (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, Chapter 9)

Enthusiasm

This next part is a bit of a challenge for me. Julia Cameron brings up the idea which many people have that artists must be very “disciplined” to do their art. From the outside getting up at 5 am and write for an hour before going to the day job does look like discipline. However, she says its the enthusiasm for playing with your art that makes you get up and do it.

I desperately try to get myself in some sort of routine to get all my projects and things done that I want to do. But routine isn’t fun and doesn’t create enthusiasm so my artist child gets rather tired and bored and doesn’t do anything. However, if I do not set myself goals I don’t do anything either. I do struggle with this.

But what does Julia Cameron say? She suggests that discipline is rooted in self-admiration: “Look what I have achieved!” Her idea about creating is, however, that you are a channel for a higher power that brings new creation into the world. That is a much more humble approach. She suggests that the discipline itself becomes the important thing and not the creative output.

She says and I quote here from chapter 9: “Over any extended period of time, being an artist requires enthusiasm more than discipline. Enthusiasm is not an emotional state. It is a spiritual commitment, a loving surrender to our creative process, a loving recognition of all the creativity around us.” 

For her, this is grounded in play, not in work. She suggests getting up at 5am to write is more a secret play date with our artist child that makes it excited and allows it to create to the fullest. I love that idea! She says:

“Our artist child can best be enticed to work by treating work as play!” (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, chapter 9)

And I believe it is true. I create much more when I feel I can just play around and try things out instead of thinking of it as work that creates an income.

Creative U-Turns

Here Julia Cameron comes back to the idea of fear that blocks us. She says that so often just when we experience some sort of success we turn away from our projects. And I suspect my starting nearly 20 blogs and letting them die again is exactly that. A u-turn out of fear. Julia Cameron gives several examples of famous and not so famous artists and says the only way to get over it is to do your art. Get back into it and do it. But allow yourself to mourn your fear and you turning away from great opportunities. And ask for help and learn from it.

Video resource: Wisdomhouse CT via YouTube

Blasting through blocks

Julia Cameron suggests here that to create freely you need to let go of resentment (any anger in connection with your project) and resistance (fear) no matter how illogical they seem. After all, our inner artist is a child and like all children, it has illogical fears. But if you allow yourself to air these fears and that anger you will be able to work through the block.

Ask these questions whenever you start a project or get block while doing it:

  1. list any resentment you might feel (I am not the first to be asked to do the project, I hate the editor she just criticizes…)
  2. Ask your artist child to list all fears connected with the project (I am afraid the work is crap, I am afraid my ideas are outdated…)
  3. Is that all? Anything left unsaid in the depth of your heart?
  4. What do you gain if you do not do the project (my family and friends don’t laugh at me for being that silly, I don’t need to change anything in my life because I have to if I am good and can earn something with it)
  5. Make your deal: The deal is: “Okay, Creative Force, you take care of the quality, I’ll take care of the quantity.” Sign your deal and post it. 

A word of warning: This is a very powerful exercise; it can do fatal damage to a creative block.” (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, chapter 9)

Tasks

(quoted from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”, Chapter 9)

1. Read your morning pages! This process is best undertaken with two coloured markers, one to highlight insights and another to highlight actions needed. Do not judge your pages or yourself. This is very important. Yes, they will be boring. Yes, they may be painful. consider them a  map. Take them as information, not an indictment. Take stock: Who have you consistently been complaining about? What have you procrastinated on? What blessedly have you allowed yourself to change or accept?

Take heart: many of us notice an alarming tendency toward black-and-white-thinking: “He’s terrible. He’s wonderful. I love him. I hate him. It’s a great job. It’s a terrible job,” and so forth. Don’t be thrown by this.

Acknowledge: The pages have allowed us to vent without self-destruction, to plan without interference, to complain without an audience, to dream without restriction, to know our own minds. Give yourself credit for undertaking them. Give them credit for the changes and growth they have fostered.

2. Visualising: You have already done work with naming your goal and identifying true north. The following exercise asks you to fully imagine having your goal accomplished. Please spend enough time to fill in the juicy details that would really make the experience wonderful for you.

Name your goal: I am…

In the present tense, describe yourself doing it at the height of your powers! This is your ideal scene.

Read it aloud to yourself. 

Post this above your work area.

Read this aloud daily!

For the next week collect actual pictures of yourself and combine them with magazine images to collage your ideal scene described above. Remember, seeing is believing, and the added visual cue of your real self in your ideal scene can make it far more real.

3. Priorities: List for yourself your creative goals for the year. List for yourself your creative goals for the month. List for yourself your creative goals for the week.

4. Creative U-Turns: All of us have taken creative U-Turns. Name one of yours. Name three more. Name the one that just kills you. 

Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for all failures of nerve, timing, and initiative. Devise a personalized list of affirmations to help you do better in the future. Very gently, very gently, consider whether any aborted, abandoned, savaged, or sabotaged brainchildren can be rescued. Remember, you are not alone. All of us have taken creative U-turns. Retrieve it. Mend it. 

Do not take a creative U-turn now. Instead, notice your resistance. Morning pages seeming difficult? Stupid? Pointless? Too obvious? Do them anyway. What creative dreams are lurching towards possibility? Admit that they frighten you.

Choose an artist totem. It might be a doll, a stuffed animal, a carved figuring, or a wind-up toy. The point s to choose something you immediately feel a protective fondness toward. Give your totem a place of honour and then honour it by not beating up on your artist child.

Music Choice

I have just realised that I stopped having a week off. Looks like this course has changed something in me? I must be more enthusiastic about my creative projects and can keep going. But that doesn’t need to stop you from having a break. Breaks are good. Breaks allow you to figure out where you stand and regain momentum.

So what music choice would fit this week? I leave it to you to choose a tune :-)!

JULIA CAMERON “THE ARTIST’S WAY”

As I said in the first post I wrote to “The Artist’s Way” I am just giving you a short rundown of each chapter with my thoughts added plus the tasks she suggests. However, I believe to understand her way of thinking it is important to actually read the book. Many libraries have it on offer but you can also buy it here or at your prefered bookshop and bookseller. And you can also take part in her video course on her page.

And just to remember how to take part

SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

  1. ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
  2. ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
  3. ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
  4. ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
  5. ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
  6. ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
  7. ~ 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 Compassion

AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

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 from 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:

UK:

Mind

NHS

USA:

MentalHealth.gov

Canada:

Government of Canada

RECOVERING A SENSE OF STRENGTH ~ WEEK VIII OF JULIA CAMERON’S “THE ARTIST’S WAY” ON MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, how has your week been? Hope it wasn’t too cold and stormy. Again we jump back into the check-in questions of Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”

Check-In

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Have you allowed yourself to daydream a few creative risks? Are you coddling your artist child with childhood loves?
  2. Did you do your artist date this week? Did you use it to take any risks? What did you do? How did it feel?
  3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?
  4. were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

I did morning pages every day even though it was not all 3 A-4 pages. However, I have started to not only do it in the morning but to add important insights or challenging topics throughout the day which often clears my mind and helps me to stay on track.

I have binge-watched several BBC programs as my artist’s date. I came across a program with Professor Alice Roberts who I really like. It was about a bronze age village in the fens in Cambridgeshire and was really interesting. I always loved history so I use any chance I can get to watch this sort of programs on TV. I also watched a program series called “Utopia – in search of the dream” where they shed light on the topic “utopia” from many different angles. I saw the advert for it on TV but didn’t get the chance to watch it. Then #frapalymo hat “Utopia” as a prompt and I remembered it. And last but not least I watched another program this time about “The Truth about the Menopause“.  I wonder if I have hit the menopause already for quite some time besides my ponderings about dissociation. It might not look like a lot of fun to many of you but I love to find food for thought in TV programs and programs that challenge my point of view are really exciting.  I allowed myself to just sit an watch. No phone or laptop beside me to be distracted and that was quite revealing too.

You might have seen the link in the menu above to “The Bee Creates” my new page where I bring together all my blogs and ways of getting an income. I have set up a blog that concentrates on self-care and have managed to write the first longer blog post about it. Now I want to connect to different blogs and do some networking and as it happened I found several Twitter accounts on my The Bee Creates Twitter which offers retweets and connections to blogs. That was quite a good synchronicity. So far I have visited The Pathfinderlust which is a very new blog about travel and The Modest Footprint about family, food and travel which seems to be on the scene a little longer. Both are lovely places and worth checking out so please feel free to head over. I even had some feedback on Twitter on my first self-care post from Mommy Above All whose blog with the same name tackles lifestyle, mental health and working mommy related topics. I still need to give her a visit back. I am quite thrilled to start experiencing synchronicities.

And any other topics important to my healing. Oh, where shall I start?????

Well, when I had posted “THREE HABITS TO SURVIVE THE HOLIDAYS (AND THE REST OF THE YEAR) ~ #SELFCARESUNDAY” I got a bad case of doubt. It was awful. It felt like I was only waffling, it’s all too long and haven’t used enough photos to make it look interesting. So I wrote to some friends for help but didn’t hear back from them. In the end, I decided even if the post is total crap I allow myself to start badly and learn to make it better. And went on blogging :-).

I have had a lot of energy last week to tackle blogging and income related topics: I added menu’s and important information to both blogs, created new lines on Teespring which look rather cool in my opinion, I could sort the newsletter, add comment- and follow options, were able to keep going with #frapalymo, incorporate old blog posts and even start a daily poetry series on Carol Anne’s Therapybits. And I’ve done this even though half of the week I only had like 2 or 3 hours sleep. I’ve been discovering new music and groups like Kovacs and Hooverphonic  and I am baking bread like a maniac. At the moment I try myself on baguettes :-). Yes, my dear readers, things are moving :-).

I haven’t done any of tasks in last weeks chapter but as I have done all these twice already I let myself off ;-). So here is my music choice that symbolises my creative and/or self-care dream:

video source: Rudinik I.N.C via YouTube

REcovering a sense of Strength

This week Julia Cameron guides us through what she calls a major block: time. She promises for us to find possible changes and uncover early conditioning that led us to settle for less than our creative dreams. That sounds rather intense to me 😦 .

Survival

In this part, Julia Cameron tells us that artistic survival is an important skill to learn. She explains that any of our rejected or not possible creative projects are like miscarriages. We have to mourn them to get through. She also says that critic that is not honest and specific is like sexual harassment and will stop us in our tracks. She suggests to us to learn to talk about our creative losses to allow us to learn from them and to move on.

The Ivory Power

Here, Julia Cameron explains that artists working in universities as lecturers are often blocked artists who misunderstand their role in educating a young artist. She describes that “creative education” in a scholarly environment works often more with criticism but not with encouragement. She sees young artists as young children or young plants that need nurturing and encouragement to try out their talent and develop. As they are exposed to criticism instead of nurturing they lose or never even develop the trust in their talents and a sense of exploring what their talents might offer. This way they often avoid artistic chances that might haunt them forever.

Gain disguised as loss

I think this is one of the most important parts of the book. Julia Cameron describes here that we can see our losses as gains. She suggests not to fall for the question of “why me?” but to exchange it for “What next?”. She gives examples of artists who used one dried up or temporarily stopped career to go other ways. To look for the other door so to speak. One of her examples is a dancer who wanted to have a “proper” dance film made. So she made it herself. She also takes herself as an example: She wrote screenplays for years only to be rejected time and time again. In the end, she decided to go independent and make her own films which gained rather a lot of interest in Europe. What rang so true to me was the exchange of asking “Why me?” to “What next?” or “What other doors are there?”. There is a quote that has become very important to me since March: It is Arthur Ashes “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can!”

I did not recognise it at first but it is the reason why I checked out Weebly and found I could do the page with a lot of features I wanted for free that were not possible on WordPress without a paid plan. I still have no income but I work hard to create one out of where I am, what I have and I do what I can. It is incredibly empowering to let go of the usual limits of time, money and talent and just go and do it until it works. In my opinion, that counts for our self-care exploration too. You don’t have time for Morning pages – write down one sentence a day. You don’t have money for massage oil – use some of your vegetable oil. You have no room to make your own for meditation do it in the bathroom when you shower. In my opinion, the “how” isn’t as important as the “do it no matter what!”.

Age and time: product and process

Here Julia Cameron describes our favourite excuses for not starting anything new: “I am too old” or “I do not have enough money”. She says that these are excuses because our ego is scared to start something new and to look like a beginner or even an idiot. She says that a beginners humility is a good artists prayer because it opens us up to exploration. In today’s consumer society we are so fixated on finished and perfect products that we forget there is a long process at work before we get that product. Remember good old Edison? He said: “I have not failed. I have just found 10000 ways how it doesn’t work!”. He allowed himself to be a beginner until he mastered what he went out to do and he did quite a bit so I assume his attitude is worth considering ;-). He focused on the process and not so much on the finished product even though, of course, that was the end goal. Julia Cameron says and I quote here: The beginner’s humility and openness lead to exploration. Exploration leads to accomplishment. All of it begins at the beginning, with the first small and scary step.” Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, chapter VIII

Filling the form

With filling the form Julia Cameron means to do one little step at a time and not let ourselves fall prey to our anxieties of what might or might not be. To get a screenplay written you have to sit down day by day for a while and write it, then edit it a little bit every day, then get it out there. You do not get it out there first and then write it. I have learned this year that the process of little steps let you achieve an awful lot. Didn’t I say at the beginning that I managed to do a lot even though I often had hardly any sleep? I changed two little things in the last couple of weeks. Firstly, I gave up fretting about the reason for my sleeplessness and used this “extra time” to get little steps done like writing posts on my phone in bed. And I have started to plan the next day the evening before. I make a list of little next steps, keeping in mind what my limitations are and the next day I do just these little steps not thinking about what comes next. This approach is incredibly powerful and I am rather surprised at how much I can get done even though my anxiety plays up, my hormones are probably totally out of whack and the family wants attention.

I also fail. There are days when it doesn’t work out. When I can’t manage my list of little steps because it just doesn’t work on that particular day. Then I move today’s tasks to tomorrow and do them the next day. But I do them no matter what. And if not the next day then the next. It’s a process and we get there in the end.

Early Patternings, an exercise

Here Julia Cameron explains that as children we are often told either that we can’t do something or we should be able to do it with ease. She says both are damaging and block us. She offers an exercise and says: Some may seem not to apply. Write about whatever they trigger for you.

  1. As a kid, my dad thougth my art was_______ . That made me feel________.
  2. I remember one time when he_____________
  3. I felt very_____________and_____________about that. I never forgot it.
  4. As a kid, my mother taught me that my daydreaming was______________.
  5. I remember she’d tell me to snap out of it by reminding me______________________.
  6. The person I remember who believed in me was_______________.
  7. I remember on time when_________________.
  8. I felt_______________and_______________about that. I never forgot it.
  9. The thing that ruined my chance to be an artist was_________________.
  10. The negative lesson I got from that, which wasn’t logical but I still believe, is that I can’t___________ and be an artist.
  11. When I was little, I learned that________________and_________________________were big sins that I particularly had to watch out for.
  12. I grew up thinking artists were___________people.
  13. The teacher who shipwrecked my confidence was____________________.
  14. I was told________________________.
  15. I believed this teacher because____________________.
  16. The mentor who gave me a good role model was________________.
  17. When people say I have talent I think they want to________________.
  18. The thing is, I am suspicious that_________________.
  19. I just can’t believe that__________________.
  20. If I believe I am really talented, then I am mad as hell at_________and___________and__________and____________and____________.

Affirmations

Julia Cameron offers a set of affirmations that affirm our right to self-care and artistic expression. She asks us to choose five and work with them this week.

I am a talented person.
I have a right to be an artist.
I am a good person and a good artist.
Creativity is a blessing I accept.
My creativity blesses others.
My crativity is appreciated.
I now treat myself and my creativity more gently.
I now treat myself and my creativity more generously.
I now share my creativity more openly
I now accept hope.
I now act affirmatively.
I now accept creative recovery.
I now allow myself to heal.
I now accept God’s help unfolding in my life

taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter VIII

Tasks

Goal Search: You may find the following exercise difficult. Allow yourself to do it anyway. If multiple dreams occur to you do the exercise for each one of them. The simple act of imagining a dream in concrete detail helps us to bring it into reality. Think of your goal search as a preliminary architect’s drawing for the life you would wish to have.

The Steps:

  1. Name your dream. That’s right. Write it down. “In a perfect world, I would secretly love to be a___________.
  2. Name one concrete goal that signals to you its accomplishment. On your emotional compass, this goal signifies true north. (Note: Two people may want to be an actress. They share that dream. For one, an article in People magazine is the concrete goal. To her, glamour is the emotional centre for her dream; glamour is true north. For the second actress, the concrete goal is a good review in a Broadway play. To her, respect as a creative artist is the emotional centre of her dream; respect is true north. Actress one might be happy s a soap star. Actress two would need stage work to fulfil her dream. On the surface, both seem to desire the same thing).
  3. In a perfect world, where would you like to be in five years in relation to your dream and true north?
  4. In the world we inhabit now, what action can you take, this year, to move you closer?
  5. What action can you take this month? This week? This day? Right now?
  6. List your dream (for example, to be a famous film director). List its true north (respect and higher consciousness, mass communication). Select a role model (Walt Disney, Ron Howard, Michael Powell). Make an action plan. Five years. three years. One year. One month. One week. Now. Choose an action. Reading this book is an action.
  7. New childhood: What might you have been if you’d had perfect nurturing? Write a page of this fantasy childhood. What were you given? Can you reparent yourself in that direction now?
  8. Colour Schemes: Pick a colour and write a quick few sentences describing yourself in the first person. (“I am silver, high-tech and ethereal, the colour of dreams and accomplishment, the colour of half-light and in-between, I feel serene” Or “I am red. I am passion, sunset, anger, blood, wine and roses, armies, murder, lust and apples” What do you have that is that colour? What about an entire room? This is your life and your house.
  9. List five things you are not allowed to do: Kill your boss, scream in church, go outside nake, make a scene, quit your job. Now do that thing on paper. Write it, draw it, paint it, act it out, collage it. Now put some music on and dance it.
  10. Style Search: List twenty things you like to do. (Perhaps the same twenty you listed before, perhaps not.) Answer these questions for each item. Does it cost money or is it free? Expensive or cheap? Alone or with somebody? Job-related? Physical risk? FAst-paced or slow? Mind, body or spiritual?
  11. Ideal day: Plan a perfect day in your life as it is now constituted, using the information gleaned from above.
  12. Ideal Ideal day: Plan a perfect day in your life as you wish it were constituted. There are no restrictions. Allow yourself to be and to have whatever your heart desires. You ideal environment, job, home, circle of friends, intimate relationship, stature in your art form – your wildest dreams.
  13. Choose one festive aspect from your ideal day. Allow yourself to live it. You may not be able to move to Rome yet, but even in a still grungy apartment, you can enjoy a homemade cappuccino and a croissant.

Music Choice

Create a music list that would play in your ideal ideal day :-). It doesn’t need to be long. Just choose some songs that would symbolise your ideal ideal day!

JULIA CAMERON “THE ARTIST’S WAY”

As I said in the first post I wrote to “The Artist’s Way” I am just giving you a short rundown of each chapter with my thoughts added plus the tasks she suggests. However, I believe to understand her way of thinking it is important to actually read the book. Many libraries have it on offer but you can also buy it here or at your prefered bookshop and bookseller. And you can also take part in her video course on her page.

And just to remember how to take part

SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

  1. ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
  2. ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
  3. ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
  4. ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
  5. ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
  6. ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
  7. ~ 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 Strength

AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

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 from 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:

UK:

Mind

NHS

USA:

MentalHealth.gov

Canada:

Government of Canada

Morning Pages

This was first posted in July 2014

Description for visually impaired readers: white background with writing on it in different styles and colours saying: write, compose, notebook, jot down, study, memorise

I admit this is not the best of my photos. It shows a notebook I had a few years ago which I used as a diary. If you know my other blog you might be aware that I am a big fan of Julia Cameron’s “The Artists Way” and one of her tools for successful creativity is the so-called morning pages.

You are supposed to write 3 A-4 pages of longhand strictly stream of consciousness every morning. It means just jot down what comes to mind without any editing as the writing is not supposed to be read by anyone else.

I found the goal of 3 A-4 pages a lot of pressure and have adjusted the idea and just write every morning stream of consciousness. Sometimes it is just a page; sometimes much more.

She is right though that it clears your mind and you find solutions for daily problems just our of nowhere. And it is a great way of finding new ideas.

RECOVERING A SENSE OF CONNECTION ~ WEEK VII OF JULIA CAMERON’S “THE ARTIST’S WAY” ON MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, how are you? How has your week been? And have you developed a sense of abundance?

I can tell you my sense of abundance is work in progress and that is why I won’t go deeper into it. But you can see some of my progress here. Will let you know when progress has been made. Also, there has been no feedback from other self-care explorers and that is why I directly go into Julia Cameron’s check-in questions and my music choice from last week.

Check-In

  1.  how many days this week did you do your morning pages? (Have you used them yet to think about creative luxury for yourself?) How was the experience for you?
  2. Did you do your artist date this week? (Have you considered allowing yourself two?) What did you do? How did it feel?
  3. Did you experience any synchronicity? What was it?
  4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

Music Choice

You might remember that I chose Ed Sheeran’s song “I see fire” last week from one of the Hobbit films. This has lead me to listen to more music from the soundtracks and one discovery that does connect me with an abundant feeling of happiness is Clamavi di Profundis

copyright: Clamavi Di Profundis via YouTube

Doesn’t that sound rather cool?

But now without further ado over to Julia Cameron’s seventh chapter of “The Artist’s Way”

Recovering a Sense of Connection

Julia Cameron’s book intends this week to connect you with the right attitude towards creativity and your creative dreams.

Listening

In this chapter, Julia Cameron introduces us to the idea, that we are more a channel for our creations than the “inventors” of our ideas. She describes the idea that our novels, poems, films, paintings, dances… are already there just underneath our consciousness and we just have to listen to that stream underneath to find what we need to create.

She says that morning pages, artists dates and I would add our dreams are the tools to hear those creative voices and once we accept to listen to them and let go of the idea that we have to “invent” our creations our creative process will flow easily.

Perfectionism

Here Julia Cameron explains that one of our biggest enemies in creativity is perfectionism. We might call it ” having standards” or “fixing this or that before we go on” but in reality, it is the egotism to create the perfect piece first time around. It is giving power to our logic part of the brain where the inner critic resides who will never be happy with whatever we do. Creativity is part of the emotional part of the brain where we play and try things out. And then we learn and move on. In a way, she says no creative piece of work is ever finished. We just stop at interesting places and then go on to another project. But what we take with us the things we learned from the previous project.

Risk

Now Julia Cameron goes on to explain that to expand our creative expression we need to allow ourselves to take risks. She does not mean to do something dangerous but to let go of the idea of having to do something perfectly. She says to learn to do something or to learn to create something you need to allow yourself to do it badly first. You can only learn a language if you allow yourself to stutter funny sentences at the beginning but with practise, mastery comes your way. It is the same with any creative project you want to do and I believe that might be the most important message from “The Artist’s Way!” To become a master in your art you need to allow yourself to do it badly first!

Jealousy

Now that is a topic we probably rather do not want to touch. But here we go 🙂

To Julia Cameron, jealousy is a though friend who shows us what we really want to do. So if you are jealous of any artists try to think that you want to do exactly that but do not allow yourself to do it because you think you are not good enough or there is only space for one poet, one filmmaker, one novelist. Of course, that is not the case and she leads us to an exercise to examine our own jealousies. I quote this part from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter VII

The Jealousy Map, an Exercise

Your jealousy map will have three columns. In the first column, name those whom you are jealous of. Next to each name write why. Be as specific and accurate as you can. In the third column, list one action you can take to move towards creative risk and out of jealousy. When jealousy bites, like a snakebite it requires an immediate antidote. On paper,  make your jealousy map

WHO                              WHY                                                       ACTION ANTIDOTE

my sister Libby         She has a real art studio               Fix spare room

My friend Ed            Writes good crime novels              Try writing one

Anne Sexton           Famous poet                                        Publish my long hoarded poems

Even the biggest changes begin with small ones. Green is the colour of jealousy, but it is also the colour of hope. When you learn to harness its fierce energy on your own behalf, jealousy is part of the fuel toward a greener and more verdant future.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, Chapter VII

Archaeology, An Exercise

Finish these sentences and discover parts you have buried deep

  1. As a kid, I missed the chance to
  2. As a kid, I lacked
  3. As a kid, I could have used
  4. As a kid, I dreamed of being
  5. As a kid, I wanted a
  6. In my house, we never had enough
  7. As a kid, I needed more
  8. I am sorry that I will never again see
  9. For years, I have missed and wondered about
  10. I beat myself up about the loss of 

It is important to acknowledge our positive inventory as well as our shortfalls. Take a positive stock of what good you have to build on int he present.

Finish these phrases

  1. I have a loyal friend in
  2. One thing I like about my town is
  3. I think I have nice
  4. Writing my morning pages has shown me I can
  5. I am taking a greater interest in
  6. I believe I am getting better at
  7. My artist has started to pay more attention to
  8. My self-care is
  9. I feel more
  10. Possibly, my creativity is

Tasks

  1. Make this phrase a mantra: Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong. Watercolour or crayon or calligraph this phrase. Post it where you will see it daily. We tend to think being hard on ourselves will make us strong. But it’s cherishing ourselves that give us strength. 
  2. Give yourself time out to listen to one side of an album, just for joy. You may want to doodle as you listen, allowing yourself to draw the shapes, emotions, thoughts you hear in the music. Notice how just twenty minutes can refresh you. Learn to take these mini-artist dates to break stress and allow insight.
  3. Take yourself into a sacred space – a church, synagogue, library, grove of trees _ and allow yourself to savour the silence and healing solitude. Each of us has a personal idea of what sacred space s. For me, a large clock store or great aquarium store can engender a sense of timeless wonder. Experiment.  
  4. Create one wonderful smell in your house _ with soup, incense, fir branches, candles-whatever.
  5. Wear your favourite item of clothing for no special occasion
  6. Buy yourself one wonderful pair of sock, one wonderful pair of gloves – one wonderfully comforting, self-loving something. 
  7. Collage: Collect a stack of at least ten magazines, which you will allow yourself to freely dismember. Setting a twenty-minute time limit for yourself, tear (literally) through the magazines, collecting any images that reflect your life or interests. Think of this collage as a form of pictorial autobiography. Include your past, present, future, and your dreams. It is okay to include images you simply like. Keep pulling until you have a good stack of images (at least twenty). Now take a sheet of newspaper a stapler, or some tape or glue, and arrange your images in a way that pleases you. (This is one of my student’s favourite exercises. (I have done this exercise with getting images from the internet and arrange them in a file. the book was after all written before the internet age 🙂 )
  8. Quickly list five favourite films. Do you see any common denominators among them? Are they romances, adventures, period pieces, political dramas, family epics, thrillers? Do you see traces of your cinematic themes in your collage?
  9. name your favourite topics to read about: comparative religion, moves, ESP, physics, Rags-to-riches, betrayal, love triangles, scientific breakthroughs, sports… Are these topics in your collage?
  10. Give your collage a place of honour. Even a secret place of honour is alright – in your closet, in a drawer, anywhere that is yours. You may want to do a new one every few months, or collage more thoroughly a dream you are trying to accomplish.

Music Choice

As for the music choice, add a song that symbolises your creative and/or self-care dream

JULIA CAMERON “THE ARTIST’S WAY”

As I said in the first post I wrote to “The Artist’s Way” I am just giving you a short rundown of each chapter with my thoughts added plus the tasks she suggests. However, I believe to understand her way of thinking it is important to actually read the book. Many libraries have it on offer but you can also buy it here or at your prefered bookshop and bookseller. And you can also take part in her video course on her page.

And just to remember how to take part

SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

  1. ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
  2. ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
  3. ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
  4. ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
  5. ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
  6. ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
  7. ~ 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 Connection

AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

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 from 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:

UK:

Mind

NHS

USA:

MentalHealth.gov

Canada:

Government of Canada

RECOVERING A SENSE OF POSSIBILITY ~ WEEK V OF JULIA CAMERON’S “THE ARTIST’S WAY” ON MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, how has your week been? I hope it was full of discoveries and synchronicities. Not many questions from me today. Without further ado, I lead over to Julia Cameron’s check-in questions.

Check-In Questions

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? (Tantrums often show up as skipping the morning pages.) How was the experience for you?
  2. Did you do your artist date this week? (Does your artist get to do more than rent a movie?) What did you do? How did it feel?
  3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?
  4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” at the end of chapter IV

Fellow Self-Care Explorers Experiences

Both Emilia and JoAnna answered to last weeks suggestions in the comments that you can find here. Emilia and her family had to go through a loss. They got a kitten a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately, Misha the resident tomboy isn’t compatible with other cats. So they took the difficult decision to let Sasha (the kitten) go. Still, she took the chance to work on her self-care as far as she felt it was good for her. Reading deprivation was not good which I can fully understand. I answered her in one of the comments that I think books like “The Artist’s Way” are not written with mental health issues in mind. That is why it is so important that we take responsibility for our own personal good and do not do any exercise that feels wrong. And I encourage everybody to follow that rule. You can always come back to an exercise when it feels safe and you can do the course several times like I do. You can find Emilia’s music choice here which I find very soothing and calming. It’s gone on one of my music lists.

JoAnna has found that reading a sci-fi novel is her way of an artists date. She also discovered the creativity of putting photos in an album. It seems to me that working through her parent’s house and things allows her to take stock of her own life and her creative dreams. It feels very challenging but also as a healing experience. It was good that Julia Cameron made her laugh: About the “low-self worth outfit (you know the one)” that we were supposed to chuck out. It makes me chuckle every time I read it but I don’t have many clothes so I can hardly chuck anything out usually. And we found a common experience: for both of us dancing comes up in the things we would like to do. Such a shame we live on different sides of the Atlantic. We could meet up and dance our souls out 😉 . You can find her music choice here.

One of the skills I would like to have is being able to dance. That would be cool even though I sometimes dance when no ones watching so it doesn’t matter if it looks good or not. It’s fun and that’s the main thing. Otherwise, I have taken more steps for my dream to earn a living as a blogger to come to pass: Last week I finished a download that I want to add to the sign-up for the newsletter of my new page The Bee Creates. For the first time, I was courageous enough to send it out to friends to get some feedback both on the download and the page and it was so positive that I am rather humbled. I also got some helpful tips what does and doesn’t work. I was so scared when I sent them out but I am so glad I did. I feel so much more motivated to get on with the new page and the ideas I have. No, sorry, the newsletter isn’t set up yet. A challenge I need to master this week 😉

As for my music choice. I was 8 at the end of the 70’s and a rather curious group called Dschingis Khan was very successful in those days. I loved their music and chose one of their songs and hope it makes you laugh as much as it did me.


video credit: Dschingis Khan via Lord Oswald on YouTube

So here we go to chapter V! Can you believe it?

Recovering a Sense of Possibility

I think this week can be challenging because we have to dig deep and find out what payoffs we have from staying stuck and not following our dreams. While reading the chapter, I realised that this year I did some really courageous steps to get unstuck. I will come back to that later on in the post.

Limits

This part of the chapter mainly tackles our supposed inability to believe that God/the Universe/The Power really wants our best and supports all our crazy dreams and that they are actually possible. Just try to imagine you could create that novel, that painting, that dance no matter your education, income or fear of what other people think. It just seems incredibly crazy, doesn’t it?

Julia Cameron tells us that, however you want to call this creative power, it offers you an unlimited bank account of possibilities but it is us who unconsciously put limits on what we can receive. My usual limits are “I can’t create a successful blog without a proper domain (have no funds to buy one)”;  “I have tried before and failed” and “I am not a good enough writer/blogger to interest anyone”.  But I have been working hard on these limiting thoughts throughout the year to learn a more open attitude to gifts from God.

Julia Cameron also writes about the fact that while God will give you your dreams you still have to take the necessary steps to get there. It is just that if you do not align your work with your inner creative power then all your hustling might be for nothing. To her being creative is a spiritual experience and those “gifts” only appear if you are open and have an unlimited belief that it will be so. I have read a lot about successful people in the last couple of years and it strikes me that many of them had huge setbacks to their dreams but they never lost the faith that it will work and that they can achieve it. And that they are inherently spiritual people. So I gather there must be something to her way of thinking. I also gather that they are able to let their dream manifest itself in a way: It doesn’t always work the way they try it out first but they keep going and in the end, it comes to pass but often in a totally different way than expected.

I quote from “The Artist’s Way”: We have ideas and opinions about where our good should come from. As a Hollywood screenwriter, I had many rueful conversations with other screenwriters about the fact that while our agents were often invaluable, we seemed to get an awful lot of breaks from places like ” my next door neighbour,” “my dentist’s brother, or somebody my wife went to college with. Those break sare God the source in action. ”  and later on” If this still sounds airy-fairy to you, ask yourself bluntly what next step you are evading. What dream are you discounting as impossible given your resources? What payoff are you getting for remaining stuck at this point in your expansion? “ Julia Cameron, “The Artist’s Way” chapter V

photo source: Picture Quotes. Description for visually impaired readers: Image of the sea and sky in a yellow tint. White writing says: The only limits that exist are the ones in your own mind

Finding the River

In this part, Julia Cameron makes clear that this shift from “it is impossible” to “it is possible” is a gradual one and you often do not realise that things are changing. But then comes a point where you look back and you realise you achieved a lot and changed entirely.

In Julia Cameron’s mind, the daily habit of stream of consciousness writing in the morning pages creates that gradual shift. But it also opens yourself to what she calls “the flow”. “The morning pages, a flow of stream of consciousness, gradually loosens our hold on fixed opinions and shortsighted views. We see that our moods, views and insights are transitory. We acquire a sense of movement, a current of change in our lives. This current, or river, is a flow of grace moving us to our right livelihood, companions, destiny. ” Julia Cameron, “The Artist’s Way” chapter V.

She also gives many examples from her work as a creativity teacher which I usually skip as it would take too long for a blog post to bring them in. But I think today it is important to read one of those stories: Michelle, a hard-driving, dressed-for-success lawyer, enrolled in flamenco dancing lessons and loved them. Her house-formerly a sleek, careerist’s high-tech showcase-suddenly began filling up with lush plants, plump pillows, sensuous incense. Tropical colours bloomed on the once-white walls. For the first time in years, she allowed herself to cook a little and then to sew again. She was still a successful lawyer, but her life took on a rounded shape…” From Julia Cameron “The Artist’s Way” chapter V.

Becoming more self-caring and more creative doesn’t mean you have to turn your life upside down. It means you bring more happiness into your life with little changes that make all the difference. Julia Cameron explains that with a light curious attitude of exploration we can discover what is good for us and what we, in fact, can do. The rest is going to fall into place as it often does.

photo source: Picture Quotes. Description for visually impaired readers: Black background with a white rectangle and black writing in it saying: Energy comes not from your muscle neither from your heart. It comes from your inner source. Amit Ray

The Virtue Trap

Now, this chapter resonated a lot for me because that is one fear I am dealing with: “How can I do this to my husband? How can I make him work so  much harder while I “flounder” around?” Well, I could not be the virtuous employee anymore because of my mental health becoming so bad. And I also do not “flounder”: It takes a lot of work and concentration to create a succesful business. But I still struggle with letting the payoffs of being virtuous go.

So what is it all about? Julia Cameron writes that artists need downtime where they can be alone and recharge. But we so often rather take care of others than allowing ourselves to do what our inner artist child asks us to do. It is so nice to be known as “the lovely lady who is always there for me!” no matter the cost to that lovely lady. We think it makes us feel good to help others and have the people around us be happy but does it?

Or isn’t it rather the case that we often feel depleted and unmotivated and need downtime and in fact are losing ourselves and what we really want to stand for? Of course, it does not mean we never do anything anymore for others and become egotistic arseholes (sorry for my language). But it means to listen to that inner voice that says: “Go watch that film instead of babysitting for your sister.” When you are exhausted. Of course, you could watch a film too when you babysit but it is not particularly relaxing when you need to keep an eye on children.

The trick is to learn to take that inner voice serious because it tells us about our needs. When we can fulfil those needs we are even more able to fulfil other peoples needs too. A win-win really!

Julia Cameron also says that being virtuous is, in reality, a form of self-destruction. The understanding is that we destroy our “self”: if we do not give it what it needs it will eventually vanish.  Another quote from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” explains this further: “Are you self-destructive?” is a question that the apparently virtuous would be bound to answer with a resounding no. They then conjure up a list proving how responsible they are. But responsible to whom? The question is “Are you self-destructive” not “Do you appear self-destructive?”. And most definitely not “Are you nice to other people?” Julia Cameron, “The Artist’s Way” chapter V

But to answer that question we need to know our true self. Julia Cameron says that to come close to that ask yourself: What would I do if it weren’t too crazy? and then speed write 5 answers. If your list looks too exciting to be true she says you are on the right track. These crazy notions are supposed to be your inner voices guiding you the way. Another question is: ” What would I do if it weren’t too selfish? She then goes on to the Virtue-Trap quiz (taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter V)

  1. The biggest lack in my life is
  2. the greatest joy in  my life is
  3. my largest time commitment is
  4. as I play more, I work
  5. I feel guilty that I am
  6. I worry that
  7. if my dreams come true, my family will
  8. I sabotage myself so people will
  9. If I let myself feel it, I’m angry that I
  10. one reason I get sad sometimes is

still a quote: Does your life serve you or only others? Are you self-destructive?

List ten things you love and would love to do but are not allowed to do.

Wish List, an exercise

  1. I wish
  2. I wish
  3. I wish
  4. I wish
  5. I wish 
  6. I wish
  7. I wish
  8. I wish
  9. I wish 
  10. I wish
  11. I wish
  12. I wish
  13. I wish
  14. I wish
  15. I wish
  16. I wish
  17. I wish
  18. I wish
  19. I most especially wish

I have done that list a couple of times and it always astonishes me how difficult it is to fill it in.

Photo source: Quotesgram. Description for visually impaired readers: White background. Black writing saying: Respect for self is the beginning of cultivating virtue in men and women. Gordon B. Hinckly

Tasks

The following tasks explore and expand your relationship to the source

  1. The reason I can’t really believe in a  supportive God is.. List five grievances. (God can take it.)
  2. Startin an image file: If I had either faith or money I would try… List five desires. For the next week, be alert for images of these desires. When you spot them, clip them, buy them, photograph them, draw them, collect them somehow. 
  3. One more time, list five imaginary lives. Have they changed? Are you doing more parts of them? You may want to add images of these lives to your image file.
  4. If I were twenty and had money… List five adventures. Again, add images of these to your visual image file.
  5. If I were sixty-five and had money… List five postponed pleasures. And again, collect these images. this is a very potent tool. I now live in a house that I imaged for ten years.
  6. Ten ways I am mean to myself are… Just as making the positive explicit helps allow it into our lives, making the negative explicit helps us to exorcise it.
  7. Ten items I would like to own that I don’t are… And again you may want to collect these images. In order to boost sales, experts in sales motivation often teach rookie salesmen to post images of what they would like to own. It works. 
  8. Honestly, my favourite creative block is…TV, overreading, friends, work, rescuing others, overexercise. You name it. Whether you can draw or not, please cartoon yourself indulging in it.
  9. My payoff for staying blocked is… This you may want to explore in your morning pages.
  10. The person I blame for being blocked is… Again, use your pages to mull on this

Taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”  chapter V

Blimey isn’t that an intensive chapter? Well, we can do it and so we will 🙂 but always in line with our wellbeing in mind as I said above.

Music Choice

Choose a piece of music that helps you connect to your inner self. That might be just instrumental or a song you like to sing or any piece of music that gives you that “spiritual” edge.

Julia Cameron “The ARtist’s Way”

As I said in the first post I wrote to “The Artist’s Way” I am just giving you a short rundown of each chapter with my thoughts added plus the tasks she suggests. However, I believe to understand her way of thinking it is important to actually read the book. Many libraries have it on offer but you can also buy it here or at your prefered bookshop and bookseller. And you can also take part in her video course on her page.

And just to remember how to take part

SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

  1. ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
  2. ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
  3. ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
  4. ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
  5. ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
  6. ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
  7. ~ 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 POssibility

AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

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 from 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:

UK:

Mind

NHS

USA:

MentalHealth.gov

Canada:

Government of Canada

RECOVERING A SENSE OF INTEGRITY ~ WEEK IV OF JULIA CAMERON’S “THE ARTIST’S WAY” ON MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, how has your week been? Have you found any new creative projects you want to pursue? And has any emotional healing happened?

Even though I am working through this creative course for the third time and it is not necessary to do all tasks and essays again I still feel it is a very intense experience. This time it is even more intense because I have the gift of my fellow self-care explorers. And I have the experience of actually finishing this project. Yes, I know we are just at week IV of a twelve-week course but I know I will manage to share this project with you all the way through this time. It is brilliant to experience at last that I can stick with something and commit to my creative life. I feel empowered and that is a wonderful experience.

So what are the check-in questions for week III of “The Artist’s Way”?

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? How was the experience for you? If you skipped a day, why did you skip it?
  2. Did you do your artists date this week? (Yes, yes, and it was awful.) What did you do? How did it feel?
  3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?
  4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them

Taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” end of chapter III

photo credit: ushaprabhakar. Description for visually impaired readers: Shadows of two people holding hands on swings. Sky and sea in the background. It says underneath: Shared Joy is a double joy. Shared Sorrow is half a sorrow.

Fellow Self-care explorers experience

I am excited that JoAnna finds this project as brilliant as I do. She is finding a lot of spiritual growth in Music Monday Care & Love and is brimming with ideas. JoAnna shared in last week’s post’s comments that she plans to sketch a suitcase of her parents and will write on it too. That seems a great idea. I can’t wait to see where it leads her. Please visit her beautiful blog and find wonderful good news that always brings more positivity into this world!

It is Sunday around lunchtime when I am writing this post and up to this moment, there is no new Music Monday Care & Love post from Emilia. But I know there is a lot going on in her life so she will let us know when she is ready. Until then please visit her post from last week (her blog is private so you need to ask for permission but its easy and goes fast) and enjoy her music suggestions. Please check out her other posts too because there is an abundance of music to find that is not mainstream. It is like a little adventure. Thank you very much!

I have done the morning pages every day but feel it takes too much time away from everything I want to do. This feeling of “I do not have enough time” keeps creeping up. At the same time, it doesn’t feel like I am “wasting” any time. It’s all actions I want to do that helps me forward on my quest of creating an income and growing spiritually and creatively. There is obviously still work to do when it comes to my attitude.

I’ve watched the last episode of Peter Capaldi as Dr Who as my artist’s date and I still can’t get rid of the feeling that Jodie Whittaker still has to grow into her role as the new doctor. I am watching Dr Who for 11 years and have seen 5 different doctors. All have brought something different to the role but I can’t see this different something yet. And so far I wasn’t too keen on the storylines either. But well, let’s be patient.

I think I actually allowed myself a second artists date this week. I insisted on watching the final of “The Great British Bake-off” even though I had promised myself not to follow it to Channel Four. But I got hooked some weeks ago when I watched it in bed when the best husband was asleep. Even though he is a baker he is not a fan of this sort of programs so I usually give in to his tv choices. Might be that I am just too lazy to choose. I like what he chooses and he does take into consideration what I want too which is great. Well, I insisted on this one and we watched it together and I am so pleased that Rahul won. He is a brilliant baker but at the same time so humble. He deserved this win!!!!

I start feeling a little funny though about my choices of artist’s date: Watching TV? Really? Shouldn’t I be out and about gardening or drawing? Well, that might be my “I should” mentality. If these TV programs are what I want to watch then fair enough. Let’s go for it.

No synchronicities though. What a shame. Or I just do not recognise them yet ;-). And I’ve written in the introduction what I think is also important for my recovery.

Music

My most cheer-me-up music is… well, it changes continuously currently it would be this one: (please bear with the video the music is coming at last. But that is part of the cheer-me -up 😉 )


Music Credits: Camilla Cabello via YouTube

Recovering a Sense of Integrity ~ Week IV of “The Artist’s Way”

In her introduction to week IV, Julia Cameron describes this week as an experience of changing self-definition. She promises us new self-awareness and productive introspection. She also gives us a warning. One of the tasks of this week is what she calls “reading deprivation” which means no reading for a week. And she warns us not to skip it. More about it later.

Honest Changes

Funny how I wrote earlier about what I feel I “should” be doing for my artist’s date and what I enjoy doing. We do create an official “me” with all its attributed feelings, needs and wishes. What we do here is to dig out the “real” me and what it stands for.

In this part, Julia Cameron describes how we often feel “okay” with things happening to us. We lose a job and its okay. We get a bad critic and feel okay with it. But what does that okay stand for: Do we resign ourselves to the belief that we can’t fulfil our dream? Do we subdue anger and “negative” feelings? Do we plainly deny what is really going on?

According to Julia Cameron, the root of all successful creative recovery is to cut into our denials and have a close look at what is really there. In her experience, most people stop the morning pages when an uncomfortable discovery is made. For example, we realise that our job makes us entirely unhappy and we should change it. The morning pages show us these realities and we have to start acting but it seems so much easier to keep up the illusion of happiness with the regular income and not having to look for a new job. But if we keep the morning pages going no matter how uncomfortable the truth is that is uncovered we move from a discovery to an action plan and then to actually changing something. That is why they are so important.

She also describes the experience of a physiological drama ensuing once we worked against our own needs. We get the flu when we have a holiday and want to relax because we worked too hard in our day job. We get an asthma attack out of nowhere because we help someone whom we can’t help but who uses your energy of helping to keep him stuck. We know these situations that tell us loudly that we are not working to our own good but its so hard to say no and take good care of ourselves. But once recovery has started we cannot stay in these negative behaviours. We have to change them and our bodies and minds usually tell us quite loudly what we need to do. We just need to listen.

Admittedly it is a difficult time when our old life suddenly doesn’t fit anymore but we don’t really know where to go and how to pursue this vague idea of a new life. But if we keep working with the morning pages our new path becomes clearer and we will be able to let go of the old. It is also exhausting to change. One moment we feel ecstatic that the change is happening the next we are so exhausted we do not feel we can go on. Julia Cameron suggests to “put all this in writing”. I think it means, to make these changes “official” and with that give it more credibility. That way we allow ourselves to change. But the morning pages are also supposed to be a resting place for us when we are exhausted. I haven’t experienced this yet. But I assume that I have to take into consideration that I suffer from a mental health condition and I also assume that the book isn’t written with mental health problems in mind.

 

Description for visually impaired readers: A river surrounded by pine trees and mountains in the background. Writing says: Open you heart. It guides you the right way!

Buried Dreams, an exercise

The next part is an exercise to recover our buried dreams. Those that we don’t realise we have. Julia Cameron suggests writing our ideas down to the next 6 suggestions really fast. Don’t think, just write what comes to mind.

  1. List five hobbies that sound fun.
  2. List five classes that sound fun.
  3. List five things you personally would never do that sound fun
  4. List five skills that would be fun to have.
  5. List five things you used to enjoy doing.
  6. List five silly things you would like to try once

Taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” Chapter IV

This is meant to show us something about what we might enjoy doing but never allowed ourselves doing.

Reading deprivation

Here it comes: Reading deprivation means what it says: For one week do not read! Keep away from your books, from tweets, from emails, from anything written. Of course you can read the tasks that you are meant to do for this course but otherwise keep away. I have never actually fully managed that. I’ve done it twice before and usually stopped reading books, and pages but always checked my emails.

Well, it is up to you how you want to integrate this. The idea behind it is that not reading throws you into your own silence and into boredom from which creative actions appear. You knit instead of reading. You paint that room that you wanted to paint for years. You weed your garden or start baking. It gives room for all those things you want to do but never get around to doing. And it gives you ideas.

Julia Cameron says in her book that it is possible and that those who usually moan about this exercise the most also benefit the most from it. I think it is one of those things that seem impossible until you do them. It’s going to be interesting, I assume 🙂

Description for visually impaired readers: a pattern of overlapping circles in different red colours. White writing says: Go: Go…, Go ahead, go away, go beyond. Go. (by The Bee)

Week IV tasks

  1. Environment: describe your ideal environment. Town? Country? Swank? Cosy? One paragraph. One image, drawn or clipped, that conveys this. What’s your favourite season? Why? Go through some magazines and find an image of this. Or draw it. Place it near your working area.
  2. Time Travel: Describe yourself at eighty. What did you do after fifty that you enjoyed? Be very specific. Now, write a letter from you at eighty to you at your current age. What would you tell yourself? What interests would you urge yourself to pursue? What dreams would you encourage?
  3. Time Travel: Remember yourself at eight. What did you like to do? What were your favourite things? Now, write a letter from you at eight to you at your current age. What would you tell yourself?
  4. Environment: Look at your house. Is there any room that you could make into a secret, private space for yourself? Convert the TV room. Buy a screen or hang a sheet and cordon off a section of some other room? This is your dream area. It should be decorated for fun and not as an office. All you really need is a chair or pillow, something to write on, some kind of little altar area for flowers and candles. This is to help you centre on the fact that creativity is a spiritual, not an ego, issue.
  5. Use your life pie (from week one). To review your growth. Has that nasty tarantula changed shape yet? Haven’t you been more active, less rigid, more expressive? Be careful not to expect too much too soon. That’s raising the jumps. Growth must have time to solidify into health. One day at a time, you are building the habit patterns of a healthy artist. Easy does do it. List ongoing self-nurturing toys you could by your artist: books on tape, magazine subscriptions, theatre tickets, a bowling ball
  6. Write your own artist’s Prayer (example from the book: O Great Creator, we are gathered in your name that we may be of greater service to you and to our fellows. We offer ourselves to you as instruments. We open ourselves to your creativity in our lives. We surrender to you our old ideas. We welcome you new and more expansive ideas. We trust that you will lead us. We trust that it is safe to follow yours. We know you created us and that creativity is your nature and our own. We ask you to unfold our lives according to your plan, not our low self-worth. Help us to believe that it is not too late and that we are not too small or too flawed to be healed by you and through each other and made whole. Help us to love one another, to nurture each others unfolding, to encourage each other’s growth, and understand each other’s fear. Help us to know that we are not alone, that we are loved and loveable. Help us to create as an act of worship to you) Use it every day for a week.
  7. An extended Artist Date: Plan a small vacation for yourself. (One weekend day. Get ready to execute it.)
  8. Open your closet. Throw out – or hand on, or donate- one low-self-worth outfit. (You Know the outfit.) Make space for the new.
  9. Look at one situation in your life that you feel you should change but haven’t yet. What is the payoff for you in staying stuck?
  10. If you break your reading deprivation, write about how you did it. In a tantrum? A slip up? A binge? How do you feel about it? Why?

Music Choice

And as music choice, I suggest a piece of music you liked as an eight-year-old.

quote by Nietzsche via thewowstyle.com: Without Music Life would be a mistake"

quote by Nietzsche via thewowstyle.com: Without Music Life would be a mistake”

 

And just to remember how to take part

SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

  1. ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
  2. ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
  3. ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
  4. ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
  5. ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
  6. ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
  7. ~ 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 Integrity

AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

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 from 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:

UK:

Mind

NHS

USA:

MentalHealth.gov

Canada:

Government of Canada