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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Finding Creativity in Nature’s Details


I learned that the real creator was my inner Self, the Shakti. …. That desire to do something is God inside talking through us”  ~Michele Shea

This morning as I sat looking at the blank screen, I asked my Goddesses above to inspire me to write something, ANYTHING.   The word which keeps popping in my head is creativity, and I thought out loud:

“Creativity! You want me to write about creativity?”

So, now, I must get creative… let the magical brain waves flow..

…and then I got to thinking of the walks I’ve been having with my mom this week, this led me to think about Spring!

It is true, those who know me, know I LOVE winter. Winter allows me to cocoon, to seek comfort, to find joy in the little things, however, it is the season of spring which inspires me most. Nature’s awakening never ceases to amaze me.  There is something quite creative about spring which makes me feel alive and empowered. Plus, this year, I am paying extra attention to this magical season by documenting the buds and birthing of the leaves, flowers and blossoms, by capturing the awakening on digital film.

(You can get access to my FB photos here, here and here. I hope the links work, let me know if they don’t)

Yet, spring, is not in all you see… it is about what you hear (the bird’s laughter), what you sense (like a cool breeze) and what you smell (those lilacs rock the aroma world!).  It is really paying attention to what is going on around you because it is moving at a very quick rate.  God (or whatever spirit you believe in) has put together this dance during spring, where birds, bees, buds, flowers and trees gently Waltz together to create this marvelous scene which captures my senses and brings out the need to create in myself.

For the past few days, every morning and every evening, I inhale the sweet smell of blossoms and lilacs, this event (and yes it is an event) lasts merely two weeks, but how wonderful to walk each dusky evening and breathe in the aroma God has created  which admittedly,  I wish I could put in a bottle for future use.  To me, this is creativity ..natural unfolding creativity…

Imagine if earth had its own form of “writer’s block”?  or decided it wasn’t producing sunsets for 6 months because it was depressed?  The world would be in shambles!!!

I just pulled out The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, looking for her take on creativity.. She writes:

“Creativity is God energy flowing through us, shaped by us, like light flowing through a crystal prism. When we are clear about who we are and what we are doing, the energy flows freely and we experience no strain.  When we resist what that energy might show us or where it might take us, we often experience a shaky, out-of-control feeling.  We want to shut down the flow and regain our sense of control.  We slam on the psychic brakes”

So imagine all the years spent stifling my creativity.. I was numb, restless and so hard to live with.  It was the death of me, inside, thus my depression roared even louder.

As I allow my creativity to flow, to be unleashed by the spring of life, I find myself feeling so alive, really, like a flower blossoming under May’s purple sky.  What surprised me during this process is how easy everything I need to create is already available. Camera, markers, magazines to cut, journals, blog, pens, paper and string.. ribbons, paint and buttons.. It is all THERE!  This is why spring amuses me so, it does not  need money or coaching to become or to grow..  Spring happens, it just is.  Spring.. is my muse.

How magical is that?

Julia writes:

“One reason we are miserly with our selves is scarcity thinking.  We don’t want our luck to run out.  We don’t want to overspend by anthropomorphizing God into a capricious parent figure.  Remembering that God is our source, and energy flow that likes to extend itself, we become more able to tap our creative power effectively.”

So the next time creativity urges you.  Next time you feel restless and insecure, or do not know which outlet to use.. Take a walk, in Spring, Summer, Fall or even Winter, and look at the details the Universe has created for you to take inspiration from.

“Look and you will find it — what is unsought will go undetected.” ~ Sophocles

As I walk to the water this evening with my mother, I will pray for all of us to find inspiration this Spring, and reclaim who we are meant to be..

AND lets figure out how to bottle the Lilac/Blossom scent!  I think we could make millions!