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

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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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

Yann Martel – Author


“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”  ~ Yann MartelLife of Pi

Today’s Author of the Week is a bit different. Since I did not have an interview which I conducted, I decided to go with the author of the latest book I read and fell in love with:  Yann Martel, author of Life of Pi.

Life of Pi tells the story of a 16-year-old boy’s survival, after being cast on a lifeboat when the cargo ship his family was on sank into the Pacific.  Written like no other book I have read before, Yann Martel’s style and story telling allowed me to truly expand my love for reading, because reading his book was like taking a walk in a totally different part of the world.  I am now enlightened and inspired.

About Yann Martel

Yann Martel is a Canadian author best known for the Man Booker Prize– winning novel Life of Pi.

Martel was born on June 25th 1963 in Salamanca, Spain, the son of Nicole Perron and Emile Martel. His parents were French-Canadian. His father was posted as a diplomat for the Canadian government at the time of his birth. He was raised in Costa Rica, France, Mexico, and Canada. As an adolescent he attended high school at Trinity College School, a boarding school in Port HopeOntario.

As an adult, Martel has spent time in Iran, Turkey and India. After studying philosophy at Trent University, in Peterborough, Ontario, and doing various odd jobs -tree planting, dishwashing, working as a security guard,  Martel spent 13 months in India visiting masjids, churches, temples and zoos, and spent two years reading religious texts and castaway stories. His first published fictional work, Seven Stories, appeared in 1993.

In addition to Life of Pi, Martel is the prize-winning author ofThe Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios, a collection of short stories, and of Self, a novel, both published internationally. Yann has been living from his writing since the age of 27. He divides his time between yoga, writing and volunteering in a palliative care unit. Yann Martel lives in Montreal with his wife and children.

 

A few questions from here and there

When asked on an online chat interview how long it took to write the Life of Pi, Yann answers: 

“I did research for six months in India, practical research, then I read on zoos, animal psychology, religions and castaway stories for about a year and a half back in Canada.Then I wrote the thing out. Took me about 1 1/2 years to get to a draft. So 4 years in all. But I loved every minute.”

A question I often ask to the Authors I interview:  Do you have a particular writing routine?

“I have no particular routine. When I’m actually writing, as opposed to researching, I sort of write all day, in a quite inefficient way, mind you, but all day. Which doesn’t mean that I write much. A good day will mean half a page. But I’m in no rush, so I don’t mind my slow pace.” 

When asked:  “When did you decide to become a writer, how did you take that first step?”

“I’d say writing chose me rather than the other way around. It was really the last thing on my list, the only thing that worked for me, that gave me a sense of meaning. I started writing in 2nd year university, when I hadn’t a clue where I was going in life. I wrote a dreadful play, truly something  God awful, but I loved creating, I loved creating a stage and peopling it and giving things to say and do.”

In an interview with BookBrowse, Yann was asked this question, which I think rocks (the Q & the A)

Why the three religions in your book?

“The three religions because I wanted to discuss faith, not organized religion, so wanted to relativize organized religion by having Pi practice three. I would have like PI to be a Jew, too, to practice Judaism, but there are two religions that are explicitly incompatible: Christianity and Judaism. Where one begins, the other ends, according to Christians, and where one endures, the other strays, according to Jews.”

Yann continues to say that he IS a religious person.. in his words:

“.. in a very broad way, and riven with doubts, which is what keeps faith alive, I believe.  I go to mass every Sunday, but love going to mosques too. Muslims pray in a beautiful way.”

People connect with the book in such a personal way because…

 “..(1)  it’s a great yarn, and (2), it goes deep, talks about spirituality in a real, serious, concrete way, untainted by cynicism.

Last but not least, Yann gives his tips to aspiring authors:

“Get it down on the page. Work hard. And then let go. Ask yourself why you want to write. You have to be clear about that.”

If you have not yet read Life of Pi, I highly recommend it.  The book made me think, it made me shudder, it made me cheer Pi Patel on!  I wanted him to survive, to come back, to tell his story, and in the end… he surely did!

Sources:

FictionAddiction.net

WikipediA

GoodReads

BookBrowse

If you are an author, and you wish to be interviewed, please send me your press info, bio and website at kim.larocque@sympatico.ca

My son is actively looking for sponsors to get him to camp this summer.  Summer camp is something William looks forward to every year and it is so good for his self-esteem.  This year I am on sick leave (due to my depression diagnosis), and being a single parent family, you can imagine I cannot put up the whole amount.  Anything you can give would be greatly appreciated.  I’ll even throw in a Dream Interpretation whenever you have a dream!!    Here is a link :

Camp Sponsorships

Proud As A Peacock


“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”
Jane Austen 

I woke up this morning thinking about how proud I am of my children. My son came home last night with his official Grade 6 graduation picture and I immediately busted into tears. He told me to close my eyes as he took down the picture frame which holds every 8 x 10 school picture ever taken (including pre-school). Then, with pride, he told me to look on the wall, and there he was, all handsome in his cap, smiling, and holding a 2011/2012 elementary school diploma.  William put it right next to his sister’s who is holding her 2008/2009 parchment in her delicate hands.  Both my children are shining.

To see how far he has come since the kid who literally used to run away from Kindergarten, who was diagnosed with ADHD, who was bullied at school, who struggled with learning, his self-esteem, studying and math. To look at my daughter, who, didn’t have the struggles he had, but tried very hard to keep up because unfortunately, a lot of my attention was given to Wil and I think she felt the need to grasp at some straws for me to see her too!

I see her more clearly now:  full of life, excitement and she has this “no-nonsense” attitude which often grounds me.  She loves to be out, to explore, to push the boundaries of the world, always on the edge, yet not so much that she is too far from home, literally, and in her spirit.  She does things I would have never done, like longboarding, and riding the “sling-shot” at La Ronde amusement park.  Angela is the epitome of youth, and she truly inspires me.

These sudden surges of pride have come up a lot lately.  Not only in my children, but in myself.  If my children have succeeded this far, it is part and partial due to me!  (this is hard for me to write so bear with me)..

Being proud of oneself, is not something I am used to.  If you look at many blog posts and self-help books, one doesn’t see many references to “pride”.  The terms self-love, self-care, self-esteem are often used..

So what’s wrong with pride?

I began my research and stopped over at the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word pride comes along with ego, self-regard, self-respect, however, the antonyms are humbleness, humility and modesty.  Now, in most of the self-help books I have read the latter terms have come up OFTEN.  They are something, according to many of the books I have read, that we should strive for.  Which leads me to the question:

Is pride a negative or a positive thing to express?

Have we been programmed NOT to toot our own horn ?

For this post, I went through dozens and dozens of quotes on pride, and in fact, they are mostly speaking of “the sort of pride” which often gets us in trouble.  We often hear expressions “Her pride got in the way”  or “He’s too proud to admit he was wrong”.  Ahh.. so that is where it comes from.  Pride is often associated with the negative ego, so we don’t talk about it much.  Well at least the “negative” connotation.  Furthermore, in my research, I googled the words “when it is good to be proud” and to my discovery, many people are asking the question:

“Is it good to feel proud?”

I say YES!!  It is important to have pride in yourself, in your children, in your accomplishments.  I am at that point now. I am proud of the journey I have taken so far.  With all its wondrous moments and bad choices.  With all its chaos and moments of joy.  With all the drama and times of peace.  I have grown to take responsibility for my life and I AM PROUD OF ME!!

So yes, be proud, not proud enough to keep people out of your life, or to never say I am sorry when you’ve hurt someone, but proud of where you are right this moment. RIGHT NOW.. Go look at yourself in the mirror with the pride of a lion!

I am proud of the mother and woman I am, because that, reflects in my children’s eyes, and I am so proud of them!

Be proud as a peacock!  Proud as a lion!   Proud as an open flower waiting for butterflies! Proud as you are!

Speaking of my son, he is looking for sponsors to get him to camp this summer.  Summer camp is something William looks forward to every year and it is so good for his self-esteem.  This year I am on sick leave (due to my depression diagnosis), and being a single parent family, you can imagine I cannot put up the whole amount.  Anything you can give would be greatly appreciated.  I’ll even throw in a Dream Interpretation whenever you have a dream!!    Here is a link :

Camp Sponsorships

You can also email me if you want to send a money order at kim.larocque@sympatico.ca