The Artist’s Way: Recovering a Sense of Faith

This is the final week of reading The Artist’s Way (here’s a link to the copy I bought on Amazon), chapter 12. I can’t believe these weeks have flown by and as I’m scurrying about preparing for our big vacation in August, I’m also finding the time to reflect upon the reading and exercises I’ve completed.

Reading The Artist's Way: Recovering a Sense of Faith

No doubt, I could have put more time into this journey, but I feel like it’s not necessarily a one time thing. The creative life goes in cycles and we all battle with certain challenging topics over and over again. Hopefully, we get better at dealing with them each time and this book has certainly opened up a new perspective for me.

Every once in a while, I have blogged about wanting to loosen up (not necessarily successful at it though). I seem to have this crazy illusion that I can control what is going on… and when it doesn’t work out, it’s like my world is spiraling out of control.

Even though I understand that it is not necessary to control – or truly that it is impossible to control everything. But I still feel the urge and find myself almost automatically lulled into that type of action. I used to be a project manager. I’m a hardcore virgo – the practical girl. For our vacation, I have printed out all the addresses, directions, phone number lists, descriptions, coupons, confirmations and notes… because we might need it on paper.

The mega vacation “brain” book filled with my typed up notes, possible itineraries by day and hours of operation with phone numbers. Yeah, I realize it all sounds a bit too planned to be a true vacation, but I like to know there are options. At least I don’t have things listed by the hour! I just like having a plan. Perhaps I have learned to let go a little bit, just using all that preparation as backup when necessary.

But thinking about my habits has helped me to realize how uptight I can really be… even though it’s all an illusion. Nothing really works out as planned, but I still can’t seem to truly let go. Perhaps not a coincidence that my word of the year is focus. I’ve been trying to tighten up even more, but failing miserably. I long to be able to let go, get loose, give myself freedom… but just can’t actually do it. Is it possible to let go in an orderly fashion?

Maybe I need extreme chaos instead. Pure, total craziness to shake me out of it all – at least one time – so that I “get” it. Because it’s something that I find terribly uncomfortable. No one wants to let go and feel at the mercy…of…whatever.

And I’ve always wanted to feel like we have control of our lives, that we can make a difference with our efforts and merits. I don’t like the idea of just believing in something bigger and it’ll magically happen. I believe in hard work. I guess it’s not one way or the other… it’s a balance of both, right? You’ve got to do the work, but also have faith. It’s not the first time someone has tried to teach me that.

In the epilogue, I think Cameron’s words are so wise… and remind me that it’s a constant process, this artist journey.

Ultimately, creative living – and it’s okay to have bumps along the way – is a bumpy road, not smooth or straight.

I really like thinking of The Artist’s Way as a spiraling journey up a mountain.

Cameron writes, “As we pursue climbing it, we circle back on the same views, over and over, at slightly different altitudes…” A beautiful analogy!

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The Artist’s Way: Recovering a Sense of Autonomy

I am an Artist. That is how the chapter begins and it’s a huge statement… especially since so many creative people have a hard time saying that statement with full confidence and pride. It is definitely a journey to self-acceptance and I don’t know if it’s something you can teach someone or help someone with. It is a wholly personal journey.

Reading the Artist's Way: Recovering a Sense of Autonomy

Reading through The Artist’s Way (here’s a link to the copy I bought on Amazon) and in this chapter, what really hit me is when Cameron wrote, “we need to move out of the head and into a body of work..” because “Most blocked creatives are cerebral beings.” That really stopped me in my tracks.

I’ve always been the brainy, goody, practical, by the rules, the reason behind it kind of person. Decisions based on the pros and cons and planning things out. Jeepers. I’m too cerebral… in a negative sense, I think. There I go over analyzing again. Definitely something I need to work on.

I was inspired to create this design after reading the chapter. My first step to autonomy, acceptance and declaration. Here’s a little design I created…

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The Artist’s Way: Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection

With the rush of events in life, I was very tempted to just let my weekly routine die out. It’s already mid-week and I’m behind… but thankfully I was able to gather up some sense of self-control and get through another chapter in The Artist’s Way (here’s a link to the copy I bought on Amazon), so I can keep to my plan of finishing the book before I head off on vacation and really get lost in other things!

Reading The Artist's Way: Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection

This chapter touches on understanding ourselves and all the possible blocks that stops us from creating. I noticed an interesting topic topic when first diving into reading though. We have all heard it said before…that many are afraid of success, that somehow they sabotage themselves…this big fear of succeeding. Is that really true? For me…I find it hard to wrap my brain around the idea…I want success and would run out and kiss it on both cheeks like every other Italian here! Or is it in disguise in my life, so I can’t make it out?

I have learned over time…that often not understanding something could just be a perspective issue. I will get it, if I can just look at the situation differently or if I discuss with a friend and turn the topic on it’s side. I like that part of analyzing and mulling over things…maybe that’s what I need to do on that particular topic. I read through each section and certainly agree that the issues stop many of us…

In the section about workaholism, I gained a new perspective on the term. Before I used to think…it means people who work too hard and don’t know how to take a vacation. I certainly know how to take time off, so I don’t think that’s a problem. However, in the quiz questions you are asked about when you do your work and if you postpone outings or do the job off hours or during family time. Even talking about work and work issues elsewhere. Has your family ever lamented, “oh you are working…” kind of thing? Hmm. Didn’t really think that all that little stuff could be considered a workaholic issue… sometimes you want to follow a spark of intuition before it dies out. Does that choice in the way of working, naturally put you into a chaotic way of life though?

Another section about the drought really hit me as well. Maybe it’s the heat again (an excuse, I know), but I’ve been experiencing those dry seasons in creativity and I feel like it’s all coming to an end or horrible crash of failure… boo hoo. Sometimes it’s hard to tell when it’s just a rough patch…or if perhaps it’s not meant to be. But I’ve always been an optimist at heart. I’ve always believe that you CAN do it… it might take a long time…but you can if you are persistent. I don’t like crushing dreams… what is life without that excitement and joy. That ambition and the something from nothing miracle of creating things from scratch? You know what I mean, right?

Another takeaway that is definitely sort of scary…when Cameron writes about unhealthy envy and how magazines and journals can do that to people. I started thinking about blogs and how many of us surf around and sometimes… get intimidated and crushed from the overwhelm of other peoples’ success. That is scary…and it is such a new thing if you think about it. Generations before didn’t have information overload…today, it is a reality that sometimes seems as if we have no control over…

So I’m going to spend the rest of this week working on the exercises and tasks… getting myself one more step along the journey of an artist 🙂 thanks for reading as always.

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The Artist’s Way: Recovering a Sense of Compassion

Amazing how the weeks are flying by, I’m into chapter 9 of The Artist’s Way that talks around the topic of fear. Fear of many things and I think we will be forever searching for ways to combat our fears in some way. I don’t think they will ever go away. The important point is to figure out what helps you to break through the fears and get to action. I really like how Cameron has stated that procrastination is not laziness… because that is what most people think. It’s more about fear blocking you from moving forward. I that that is an important point.

Reading The Artist's Way: Recovering a Sense of Compassion

Interesting this week we are asked to read our morning pages as well. Yikes!

My handwriting is so bad, I can’t even understand half of what I wrote. But I understand the point of the exercise… to find out what we are rambling on about day after day. It’s very enlightening indeed.

For myself, I’ve realized, it’s amazing how much negativity can come out of me. Here I am judging myself, first thing in the morning. Lots of doubts and fears, driving me to be critical, so brutal.

I was thinking at some point, I might want to type my morning pages, since it’s a lot faster and easier for me. Easier to read after the fact as well. But then again, maybe that’s not the point, to read them back or go over them.

And perhaps writing by hand means something more? I’m not sure on this part yet.

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The Artist’s Way: Recovering a Sense of Strength

“…what we can handle intellectually far outstrips what we can handle emotionally,” from chapter 8 of Cameron’s book… wow, the statement really struck me. I think it’s because I’ve been learning a lot about Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism. I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom and selfishness, reason and faith, life and living it. Definitely engaged in my reading of The Artist’s Way (here’s a link to the copy I bought on Amazon)

Reading The Artist's Way: Recovering a Sense of Strength

I’ve often stated that I can understand something, logically, reasonably… but then there’s how I feel emotionally. Such a difference at times, most of the times? I don’t yet know, if my reason is supposed to be able to control my emotions… or if they really are separate… or if there really is some miracle at work beyond all our reason. Lots of philosophical thoughts swirling in my head for sure.

But going back to this chapter, I did find myself gaining strength from realizing that my core values have been there all this time, perhaps I had simply not been relying on them enough. When Cameron shares her story of forging her own path, I was re-energized. When people told her that you have to do this and that and this and then maybe you might get what you want… she finally learned to just go out and grab it for herself. Make it happen. It all reminded me of Do the Work by Steven Pressfield as well. I’ve come to realize not only must you do the work, you must accept losses, overcome defeats and keep moving forward above all. And the best thing is that we all have the ability and strength to do so…I truly believe it.

At the end of this chapter, I really took to heart Cameron pointing out that large change occurs in tiny increments. It is much more approachable, thinking of the small daily things we can do…rather than defeating ourselves in worrying about the far away unseen goal.

Although I have not “religiously” (LOL) been following everything in the book, I am still learning a lot and enjoying the process.

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