Taking ” The Artist’s Way ” Out – The Date


Think of yourself as an incandescent power, illuminated and perhaps forever talked to by God and his messengers.

~Brenda Ueland

Last week in my post Taking The Artist’s Way Out. I promised I would discuss my journey through the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  I must admit the first week was a bit low-key, however, I managed my morning pages, writing out my thoughts and worries, first thing in the morning 5 out of 7 times.  I am proud of this, as sometimes writing that early in the morning feels like pulling at a hangnail, however, what I enjoyed about was I didn’t have to edit or think about what I was writing all I had and have to do write what is on my mind as I wake up.

This week, I want to talk about my artist date. What is an Artist Date you ask? Julia Cameron describes it as:

“a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.  In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers.  You do not take anyone on this artist date but you and your inner artist, a.k.a. your creative child…” p. 18

Planning for me is quite difficult.  I am still practicing making commitments and sticking with them especially when it comes to myself.  Also, in my defence, I would like to state that on this journey of self-recovery I give myself permission to change my mind. The key here for me is balance, so I am adapting my dates.. allowing myself to change it on a dime,  if it feels right for me.

This week I had planned to go by the Rivière des Milles Iles with a sketchbook and spend time contemplating the ducks, the free flow of the water, and the enjoying the sweet sound of the waves.  I never made it on that date since the weather was way too hot.  I had to come up with another plan and quick!! Sunday (the end of the Artist week for me) was coming fast!

As I woke up Sunday morning, I grabbed my usual cup of coffee and sat on the balcony to watch the birds find their morning worm (yes I do that).  As I was observing a black bird digging into the ground, a voice came into my head.  “Go to church!” I quickly dismissed the thought and continued watching the show below.  Then it kept coming “Go to the church, GO TO THE CHURCH”.  I was like:  “Shut up! I don’t go to church!” The the voice continued “but you’ve gone to the french church years ago, go to the english church!”

Going to church? Ya right!!

I quickly washed my face, grabbed a decent blue tee, threw on a matching skirt, and ran to out the door. I had 20 minutes to get to the 10 o’oclock mass.  Now mind you, my Sunday mornings have always been, get up, have coffee, watch birds, sit down, go on the computer and play, write or read.  Never, in a million years do I get up and go anywhere, mind you a church, so this was new for me!

As I walked in the church, I was greeted by the priest and the welcoming committee. They all said “Good morning” as I found myself a spot at the far back-end near the pillar and the candles, oh ya and the door (ahem).  A couple up front, a nice looking man with a guitar and his wife I presume,  were singing this song about “welcome, belonging and worthyness” and immediately I started to cry.  I hadn’t even taken a seat, and I realized I forgot to kneel and make the sign of the cross before I actually sat down.  I was desperately seeking Kleenex (which of course I didn’t have), trying to hide the warm flow of tears steaming down my face.

I made it through the service, however, I did experience a huge anxiety attack and almost left.  As I was trying to “keep it together” I kept on focusing on the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who looked like she wanted to give me a hug with her open arms..  I prayed for calm to get through the service. As part of me was enjoying the art, the energy, and the music around me. It was, after all,  MY artist date.

When it was time for “communion” I decided (even though I did have my first communion) to get a blessing, which again, brought tears to my eyes.  I walked back, lit two candles, one for me and one for my brother.  Then I left.

I am so grateful I listened to my inner voice because although I am spiritual and do not practice in the Catholic faith anymore.  I received the message I needed to hear.  You are worthy and you are welcome.  My art is worthy and it is welcome.  My purple hair is worthy and it is welcome.  My children are worthy and they are welcome.  You get the picture?

We are all worthy!

Worthy enough to take myself out for coffee and a muffin afterwards.  I sat for a while with this experience before going home… and I know I will do it again.  Maybe not this church, but there are 3 or 4 other churches to explore.  Not really for their particular “faith” but for what messages of love and acceptance that come with almost any faith.

God is love, and God is creation.

This is what Julia Cameron speaks about in this book.  God could be anything or anyone to you, I call him God because I am comfortable with it.  She explains that through God we find our creativity.  She states to repeat:

“The Great Creator has gifted us with creativity.  Our gift back is our use of it.”  p. 44 week 2

So, this week I will remind myself of these “Rules of The Road”

  • Show up at the page. Use the page to rest, to dream to try;
  • Remember that it is harder and more painful to be a blocked artist than it is to do the work;
  • Choose companions who encourage me to do the work, not just talk about doing the work on why I am not doing the work;
  • Remember that it is my job to do the work, not judge the work;
  • Remind myself “Great Creator, I will take care of the quantity.  You take care of the quality.

Also this coming week,  I do plan to go to the river, and draw.  Lets hope the weather permits.  Also, if you wish to follow Leslee’s journey (my Artist Way partner) you can find her latest blog post here.

BE AWARE!  Go to THE BUTTERFLY LAUNCH PARTY for details on the UNVEILING of my New Website on June 29th 2012!   My peeps are giving gifts to those you enter!  Details on how to enter click HERE!

 

 

Love and Light

Where The Butterflies Go – Heather Grace Stewart


“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”  ~Rabindranath Tagore

Butterflies have been my “sign” lately.  I have them everywhere:  On my windows, as jewelry, on shirts, as stickers, letter stationary on my journals and even clothes.  Just the other day I received a free box of kleenex from my local grocery store, and on it, YES butterflies.  When my friend was shopping for her first house a few months ago, she showed me the one they put an offer on,  and on the front door’s glass window, there were 4 butterflies etched in the glass.  I told her it was a sign she would get the house.  One butterfly for each child (there were 4 going from biggest to smallest).  She’s moving in next weekend!  Also,  My children have recently made me Mother’s day cards and gifts with butterflies on it. Show’s they know their mama.

Last week , when Heather Grace Stewart ,-a fellow Montrealer, author and poet, approached me about the release of her book Where The Butterflies Go, on Kindle, I had to say YES!!  On March 29th, Heather graciously answered a few questions for Muse In The Valley, she was my 2nd Author Of the Week, which in fact became a weekly event due to the enormous success of the interviews.    ( You can read our interview here.)

Where The Butterflies Go is now on Kindle for $2.99 with half the proceeds going to UNICEF!

However, for 3 days only:

Thursday June 21st, Friday June 22nd, Saturday June 23rd it will be free!

You can get it through Amazon.com just click here!

Natasha head reviews Where The Butterflies Go, she writes:

“The first part of the collection, aptly entitled Pain, takes the world face on. Heather’s words trigger sadness, loss and incomprehension, but, these very same words, also inspire hope. This is, in itself, a testament to the quality and strength of her craftsmanship.  The poem ‘Golden Days’, stands out strongly for me.  It’s final lines, looking back to the release of the collection from now, almost rings of prophecy…..

There are dark clouds/Across this Canadian sky

The second part of the book, simply entitled Growth is where you can really see the voice of the poet evolve. The questions that so many of us have; the where, the why of this world, tackled head on with no fear and honest pen.”

~Natasha Head, for The River Review

FREE stuff is always fun, if I had a Kindle I would be right on it!  So go, get Where The Butterflies Go while they are free of charge, and share this WONDERFUL NEWS with your friends.

Love and light


Taking ” The Artist’s Way ” Out


“Pray to catch the bus, then run as fast as you can.” 
                                                   ~  Julia Cameron 

A few weeks ago I pulled out the book The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron.  I know many of you are familiar with this book, and may have even completed the 12 week program.  10 years ago, I received the book as a gift from my friend Mireille. I remember she asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and at the time I read such good reviews about this book that I mentioned it.  Looking at the notes I jotted down in pencil on the sides of the pages,  I am sure I got through most of the program.  Yet, as I often did in those days (quit)  there is no proof that I ever finished it.

Just recently, in a Facebook group I am in, my friend Leslee stated that she too had pulled The Artist’s Way out and felt the urge to do the weekly work, as she tried many times, but to no avail!  So as we both embark on this creative journey together, I have decided to dedicate Tuesdays to write about my experiences and sometimes share some creative writing etc..

Part of this creative process is to help “stop the fear” which blocks creativity by doing weekly tasks, writing morning pages: or as  I call it, “emptying my head of junk”, and weekly artist dates.  The artist dates can consist of seeing a play, spending time at the beach with markers and sketchpad, writing in a park, visiting a museum, but with  no kids, no friends, just me and me alone.

What immediately struck me this week is the amount of synchronicity I am experiencing as soon as I decided to start this adventure with Leslee and Julia C, for example, this week,  Jennifer Shelton, over at FemCentral is talking about muses.  In the  introduction Julia describes her muse:

“I learned to turn my creativity over to the only God I believe in, the God of creativity, the life force Dylan Thomas called “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower”.  I learned to get out of the way and let that creative force work through me.  I learned to just show up at the page and write down what I heard.  Writing became more like eavesdropping and less like inventing a nuclear bomb.  I wasn’t so tricky, and it didn’t blow up on me anymore…”

My creative photography/art

This past year, I’ve been called to create more than ever. I am writing more, drawing more and have taken up amateur photography, specializing in close up work. All this, I’ve discovered, has allowed me to spread my wings, and feel more “me” for a lack of a better word.  I feel extremely free when I create, it expands my world, and I no longer feel trapped in this place where I felt I needed to conform, despite my long-term relationship with non conformity.

So, I hope you will join me every Tuesday, as I “log into” the creative child in me, and prove to myself once and for all:

  • Creativity is the natural order of life.  Life is energy:  pure creative energy.
  • There is an underlying, indwelling creative force infusing all of life – including ourselves.
  • We are ourselves, creations.  And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
  • As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.
  • Our creative dreams and yearning come from a divine source.  As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.

Basic Principles, The Artist Way p. 3

One of the tasks this week is:

“If you had five other imaginary lives to lead, what would you do in each of them?”   I chose:

  • Nature photographer for National Geographic

  • Children’s book writer and illustrator

  • Belly Dancer

  • Spiritual counselor

  • “Penelope” from Criminal Minds, I would be like a super computer geek finding criminals!

Now I have to pick one and do something this week in relation to it.  I haven’t picked one yet, but I’ll let you know next week what I did!

So my friends, 10 years later, I am about to embark on a journey (which I think I have already began) which I feel, will allow me to express more who I am through writing, drawing and photography.

Are you with me?

I am.. if anyone else wants to join in our trip through The Artist Way land, feel free to let me know, and we can exchange our progress every Sunday.

I have a big announcement to make next week, and there are giveaways involved!  So stay tuned.

Love and Light

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June – Like Children Awaiting Parole, by Cathy Moryc Recine


“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”  ~John Lubbock

You can almost feel it in the air. There are some kids that are counting down the days as if they are awaiting parole. The school year is almost finished here in New York and summer vacation is about to begin. It seems like just yesterday it was the first day of school for my kids and I can remember their excitement and nervous anticipation of meeting new teachers and friends.

Where did the time go?

I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past 10 months and if you don’t mind, I will pat myself on the back and congratulate myself a little bit too.  You see I take great pride in the fact that my kids have not missed the bus at all this year. Nope not one day.  I know you are thinking “so what?” and I am well aware that many parents do this with great ease and poise but I will be the first to admit I am not exactly a morning person (especially before some coffee) and 3 of my 4 kids (that‘s 75% for my fellow math lovers) are not morning people either so the odds are not in our favor.  I should also mention that not all of these mornings have exactly gone smoothly. Its true and unfortunately I am the one to blame and I take full responsibility.  I have accidentally confused breakfast orders, attempted to pack healthy snacks for school and demanded weather appropriate clothing. Don’t judge me.

Of course its not just about getting the kids up and out to school. Other things happen at home throughout the day as well. There are drop offs and pick ups for pre-school, laundry, dishes, and vacuuming.  Repeat. All while trying to keep up with the ever challenging task of keeping a 2-year-old happy. And then, when that bus delivers them back home after school the second shift starts. That’s right.  Homework, after school activities and finding time for dinner.  Sometimes those things get combined, homework and dinner happen in the car to and from the afterschool activities. I like to think of it as time management.

And now here we are in June. The grand finale so to speak.  Homework begins to ease up until finally it is just no longer assigned during the last weeks. After school activities start to slowly come to an end.  There are dance recitals to watch, trophy days for sports, school trips, and end of the school year parties.  Just today, I watched my daughter’s first grade class during their field day.  The kids played various games on the field as the parents clicked away on their cameras. Kids being kids and running as fast as their little legs could to try and win the relay races. They ran around playing the games and the parents cheered them on.  All the kids had so much fun and they were so proud of their teamwork and accomplishments…

not half as proud as the parents were of them course.

After they completed all the games, we had a picnic lunch and then all the parents were invited to the classroom to watch a Flag Day presentation given by the kids.  They recited songs and facts about the American Flag.  This provided even more photo opportunities for us parents. And then just a few minutes later, there were tears. None of the kids were crying though. These were my tears. So many mixed emotions and as much as I love my country, these tears had nothing to do with patriotism. My daughter’s very thoughtful teacher made a slide show with her own photos of the class from throughout the year. She included everything from the first days of school, holidays, birthday parties and even those extra special moments for the 6 and 7 year olds, including the loss of a tooth.  All of these photos, one after another, on a giant screen while “Forever Young” by Rod Stewart played.

Suddenly I was reminded that these were the moments that occurred after we rushed out of the house in the morning and before we ran from one after school activity to the next while trying to do homework and finding time to eat dinner. It was easy to see how much she has grown and matured right in front of me, only I was too busy trying to accomplish all the things that needed to be done each day to really notice just how fast it was all happening. I was reminded how quickly the school year had passed and deep down I know the summer vacation will go by in what will feel like a blink of an eye.

So for the next couple of months I will do my best to slow things down a bit and savor those rare moments of nothingness that are sometimes taken for granted.  I will take many more photos and I will continue to be a proud spectator and cheer them on.

After all, I will always be their biggest fan

Cathy Moryc Recine writes a monthly parenting column for Muse In The Valley.  She lives in Manorville  New York, with her husband and four children ages 9, 6, 4 and 2. She works as a mom,  yet still finds time to enjoy the things that keep her unique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Deadbeat Parent


“It’s not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself.”

                                                                        ~Joyce Maynard

Dear DeadBeat Parent,

Let’s be clear about one thing, this letter is not about putting you down, or making you look bad, this letter is truth, and I think, as I speak for myself, my children and all the other  single moms and dads out there struggling for support.

How the heck do you do it?

That is the question, how can you walk away, knowing that your flesh and blood, your children, are out there, crying at 3 am,  living their lives, going to school, running with holes in their shoes,  making new friends, scraping their knees, getting their hearts broken, graduating, having birthdays, menstruating, fabricating, and creating?  Your children are getting all A’s or struggling with C’s.. they are dyslexic, anorexic, or athletic. They are learning to walk or learning to drive.  They are  sick in hospital, or hiding out at the park, longboarding, skateboarding, wakeboarding or snowboarding.  They can add, subtract, divide and multiply, recite the alphabet and sing a song.   They can touch their toes,  lick their nose, spray a hose, and make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They smile with pride when they accomplish a goal, or cry in disappointment when things go wrong. They laugh with their friends, and play pretend.

There is one thing they cannot do: They can’t share any of this with you! 

Do you ever wonder how they are?

As I watch my two leave for school, all grown up and proud of who they are, I remember it wasn’t always this way.  When they were little, they would compare themselves to those who had a daddy in their lives.  Even though sometimes the dad was apart from their children, he was present.  I wonder if you are present even when you see them.

When you speak to us, all I hear is:  “Wait, I’ll be there (financially and emotionally) when I get back on my feet”. This, every single time you call for the past 15 years.  Isn’t that a tiring response? Have you even challenged yourself to reach the “feet on the ground” trick?  And really, what does that mean to be “back on your feet”?  I mean there were times when, during my single mom moments, that I was unbalanced, unprepared, unsafe, unwell, underestimating myself. I  often felt unloved, unsupported, unappreciated and yes, at times, unhappy.  However, I still laugh at my kid’s corny jokes, or, when they were little, sat with them in the living room having a Teddy Bear picnic. To tell you the truth  is was then, and is now, those times when I feel or felt most grounded.  Kids have a way of doing that, bring you back to who you are:  A fun, loving, caring and attentive parent.

So, let me get this straight then, quality time = needing feet on ground?

Interesting….

Another question, and its an important one, how does one “detach” themselves from their own children. How does that work?  Do you turn off the love valve, or ignore your own feelings?  Do you imagine they do not exist, that they do not need your love, or they are aliens from another planet?  How do you not listen to them each time you call when they say: “Dad I miss you, I love you and I really want to spend more time with you?” I mean, often, when they were little, they would cry for you daily.  They would ask me where you are and why you couldn’t pick them up that weekend. Then, who was left with their anger and picking up the pieces you have broken?  Yep!  ME!!

It takes a Village, and the Village won!

Also, how do you convince yourself that financial support for your children is only my job or the job of my dad, my mom, good friends and family? How do you feel when you cannot provide for those glasses, the braces, their food, a roof over their heads?  How do you sleep at night when you know they need winter clothes, hats and boots, or need a trip to the dentist? Doesn’t that bother you? I know I cannot handle it for very long. I wonder if you know how much guilt I have felt over the years having to say no every time they NEEDED something.. I mean kids often want things, and sometimes even when they do not need an item it is a challenge to say no. Imagine when they NEED new shoes, money for a birthday party, school trips and events, camp, school fees, books, acne cream, and sanitary napkins.

The words “because your dad doesn’t give us a dime!” almost comes out of my mouth in anger, yet I resist.  Ok.. ONCE!!  I did, in a moment of panic at a grocery store because I didn’t even have a dollar left to buy my daughter a pack of gum.  She was having this huge 4 year old fit, and the frustration I felt was bigger than not being able to buy a pack of Juicy Fruit.

MAKE IT HAPPEN!

That is what I do.  I’m an acrobat who makes things happen. A magician of sorts.  I step on my pride, run to church sales, stand in line at food banks, walked into community centers, worked, even when I was unwell to the point that I had to stop!   I run campaigns, and ask for money.. I have even been criticized for that once.  Yet, the support from friends and strangers is amazing.. but you wouldn’t know.. do you?

Call me super mom with one weakness:

I play a huge role –HUGE!–in their lives, if you havn’t noticed.  However, do you know what goes through my mind, VERY OFTEN.  As dreadful as this sounds, I worry.  I think about “what if I passed away?  Who would take care of them like I do?  Listen, care, nurture, and love them?  Who would fight for them, cry for them, let them speak their mind without reprimand?  Who would do that?  Certainly not you.  You are not back on your feet yet!

So as I sit here looking at their pictures on my wall, while they are at school, I think about how I chose you to be their father, and if there is one thing I AM grateful for is that I have them because of you.

My daughter said yesterday, despite her own “dad” issues:  “Dad IS the best dad to me, because he is my dad and I love him”.

You are, one lucky guy!

P.S.   Take the challenge, pick up the phone, get that job, stick with it, and have a Teddy Bear picnic with them no matter how old your children are.  You will find ground, I promise.

“The guys who fear becoming fathers don’t understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man.  The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent.”

~Frank Pittman, Man Enough

Wacky Writing Wednesday


I’ve been busy this week, so busy that I have had not a second to write for Muse. I am convinced my muse is on vacation in the Cayman Islands somewhere, because I feel the block. I hope to join my Muse soon, maybe share a drink?

What has kept me so busy?:

Summer Camp Fund!! 

My son’s Summer Camp Fundraiser for one.  I’ve been helping William promote his Fanpage The Camp Experience and building a website. I’ve been Tweeting and sharing, helping to get him sponsorships to get to Camp Amy Molson this summer.  WOW!  So much positive feedback, and we are so blessed with the support and sponsorships we have received so far.

In addition, I am offering free Doreen Virtue Angel Oracle Card readings straight into you inbox (for a week)  for any donation of $5.00 or more, and for a $25.00 donation you can choose between a free dream interpretation OR Oracle Card readings for a whole month! (excluding weekends).

YES!! The fabulous Christiana Kanaki, from Under A Sacred Tree, is donating all her proceeds from her Etsy shop this week to help fund my son’s camp experiences. You can find Christiana here or here.

For more on my son’s experience and how to give go to:  The Camp Experience, and click on Our Story.

Dream Interpretations:

I have 2 dream interpretations in my inbox. Although 1 is short, it seems to hold the key to my client’s next step into her journey.  So I want to take the time I need to focus on her dream.   All the dreams I receive are so amazing.  They all tell such a different story, yet, it remains, that these stories are truly a mirror of what is going on in our waking lives.

Writing Prompt!

Jennifer Shelton from FemCentral is hosting a writing prompt which is totally igniting my passion for writing, the thing is, this writing prompt is different (for me) than the ones she has hosted previously, and I am letting my imagination run wild.  I am almost done my first draft, however, I feel the need to tweak, pinch, and make it better.. It is due at midnight tonight.. I got to get rocking on the editing. WOO!

Giving a different perspective to a fairy tale is what this writing prompt is all about.  Jennifer writes:

“Tell the tale from another point of view – the one that seems to speak to you most pointedly or the one to which you have the most aversion.  It is not necessary to tell it from the perspective of the hero or heroine – even the pumpkin and the glass slipper in “Cinderella” have something surprising and unpredictable to say. If you are a woman, tell the tale as if you are Hansel lost with your sister Gretel in the woods; if you are a man, take Gretel’s point of view. Tell the tale as if you are the step-mother in Snow White, or are Bluebeard, or Rumpelstiltskin, or the king who wants gold spun from straw, the prince coming through the brambles to awaken Sleeping Beauty, or the Giant’s wife in “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

So without giving away the story, I can tell you that I am writing about Rapunzel.  Something in her tower is telling the story!

If you have time to try this out, the prompt is due today.  You can find the info here.

Creating, creating, capturing and creating!

I’m addicted to taking pictures and creating art with them on PicMonkey.  PicMonkey is free right now, so I am busy taking advantage of this service while it lasts.  I am considering paying for it once the free time is up, however, now my soul is busting with the urge to create create create.. so I am capturing close up, the world around me, and creating works of art.

I have a project I am working on for my photographs … So stay tuned! There is an Etsy shop in my future!

My happy happy loving Computer (laptop) 

Many of you know I have had tons of hiccups with my computer since last summer.  Some things seemed to have fixed themselves (God intervention I am sure).  Also this winter my friend Daniel was kind enough to send me a new power cord, since my other burned out literally, and my battery is totally drained.  Now, my connections USB, power, etc.. are starting to short out too, so I am looking for MORE divine intervention.  I love my Laptop and we really need it here for work and school!

This is my wacky Wednesday writing, hope you have an amazing day!

Tomorrow I will have an interview with Sarah Elle Elm, author of the new book Prismatic.

Blessings