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.
- 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?
- 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?
- Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?
- 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!
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.
” 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)
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.
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:
- 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…)
- 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…)
- Is that all? Anything left unsaid in the depth of your heart?
- 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)
- 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)
(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.
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
- ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
- ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
- ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
- ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
- ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
- ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
- ~ I’ll share a round-up & invitation post with a self-care activity & suggestion on what sort of music to share on Monday Mornings.
NOW MY DEAR READERS,
GO, FIND A SENSE OF Compassion
AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN
I am not a health professional. My posts describe my thoughts, my experiences and my conclusions about life, mental health and self-improvement. My described actions always go alongside therapy and do not substitute professional advice 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:
Government of Canada