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”
- 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?
- Did you do your artist date this week? Did you use it to take any risks? 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 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 😦 .
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.
- As a kid, my dad thougth my art was_______ . That made me feel________.
- I remember one time when he_____________
- I felt very_____________and_____________about that. I never forgot it.
- As a kid, my mother taught me that my daydreaming was______________.
- I remember she’d tell me to snap out of it by reminding me______________________.
- The person I remember who believed in me was_______________.
- I remember on time when_________________.
- I felt_______________and_______________about that. I never forgot it.
- The thing that ruined my chance to be an artist was_________________.
- The negative lesson I got from that, which wasn’t logical but I still believe, is that I can’t___________ and be an artist.
- When I was little, I learned that________________and_________________________were big sins that I particularly had to watch out for.
- I grew up thinking artists were___________people.
- The teacher who shipwrecked my confidence was____________________.
- I was told________________________.
- I believed this teacher because____________________.
- The mentor who gave me a good role model was________________.
- When people say I have talent I think they want to________________.
- The thing is, I am suspicious that_________________.
- I just can’t believe that__________________.
- If I believe I am really talented, then I am mad as hell at_________and___________and__________and____________and____________.
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
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.
- Name your dream. That’s right. Write it down. “In a perfect world, I would secretly love to be a___________.
- 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).
- In a perfect world, where would you like to be in five years in relation to your dream and true north?
- In the world we inhabit now, what action can you take, this year, to move you closer?
- What action can you take this month? This week? This day? Right now?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- Ideal day: Plan a perfect day in your life as it is now constituted, using the information gleaned from above.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- ~ 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 Strength
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: