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!

Demystifying the Path of Depression


Walking the path of depression is probably the best gift Spirit has given me.  The opportunity for growth is extreme. However, not everyone goes through depression the same way.  It can take some longer than others to heal.  There is no magic pill anyone can take to rid themselves of this mental illness. You cannot “snap out of it” or “make it go away with positive thinking” and as my friend Mel Horrod cleverly said this week in a conversation about demystifying depression and it’s stigma:

Just pull your socks up’, was something I heard over and over again when I was ill. I couldn’t even get the socks into the washing machine, let alone put them on and pull them up!

Humor aside, many, including me (at one time) have judged another suffering from this, at times, debilitating mental illness, and made assumptions on how they are not doing enough to heal themselves.  Well today, I know this is bullshit!

Even as I continue the healing process myself, with my meds and therapy, there are still others who think they have the “magical cure” and now I am speaking up.  Don’t get me wrong, when others offer advice, I know it doesn’t come from dark place, comments and advice are often well intended in order to help the person with clinical depression, and even though their words are coming from a place of love, sometimes, words, just make it worse.

Now, let me reiterate, that there is a HUGE difference between being depressed, and actually having a diagnosis of clinical depression. When I google:  define depressed this is what comes up:

de·pressed/diˈprest/

Adjective:
  1. (of a person) In a state of general unhappiness or despondency.
  2. (of a person) Suffering from clinical depression.

  Don’t let depression define you!

   Know the difference!

Synonyms: dejected – sad – despondent – low-spirited – downcast

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Courtesy of taram.carbonmade.com

Everyone gets “depressed” every once and awhile, however, not everyone suffers from clinical depression, bipolar disorder, or any other disorder in the mental illness spectrum.  It is important to know the difference and act accordingly.  No one wants to suffer alone in silence!   Yet, the pains, aches, and overwhelming thoughts can be very scary.  One wants to chase them away…

Yet, in order to heal the pain, you must feel the pain!

So, read as many self-help books you want, post 1000 post it notes in your house with positive affirmations, listen to up-beat music, however, this is not the cure for depression, and this is where many of us get frustrated.  Sure these are all tools, and I use them all the time, but, there are times, when all I want to do is cry!

Why can’t I be happy like everyone else?  ITS NOT FAIR!

Because, you cannot will yourself to be happy when clinically depressed.  It just doesn’t work!  Oh.. yes, on some days it can, but others, one just has to wrap themselves up in a cosy blanket with all their favorite books, journals, music and maybe even a stuffy or your trusty cat or dog, and just be.  Feeling those emotions are painful, yes, letting them well up without pushing them away is the most challenging part.. You’d think it is torture!! Yet, this is the best way to heal.

Surround yourself with cheerleaders

Take clinical depression seriously.  Have tons of cheerleaders, those who have been through it, or those who really want to listen without telling you what to do.  Also, have a therapist you can trust, yes I know they cost money, but if you cannot afford one, keep calling help centers or community centers near you until someone listens!! Do not take NO for an answer.. and if you are too weak to do so, ask your “go to” person to help!

The dreaded “pill” 

Medication is an option only you can decide.  I was totally against medication for years.  I have a son who has ADHD, and trust me, I tried everything before resorting to giving him meds, now he takes his dose of Concerta every day, but only when he is in school.  For me, the meds came when I found this most amazing Therapist, she eased me into the idea for weeks, without giving me an ultimatum.  The decision had to come from me and me only.  I was very afraid of medication since I had a bag experience with Paxil 11 years ago, and I was afraid of negative side effects.  So I started taking low doses gradually increasing month after month.  Right now I am on 15mg of Celexa, and its working just fine.  I have no idea if I will have to take the pills for 1 year, 2 years or all my life, what I know for sure is, the pills have created a bridge between the darkness and the light, and I see the benefits now.

The journey is your own, and yours only.  No one can tell you what is best for you only you know in the deepest part of your spirit.  Listen to that, and if depression is numbing that part of you, and you cannot hear what it is saying… be still.. it too shall pass.  I am not saying to only hear what you want to hear, there are times when one needs to be shaken’ up a little!  Yet for this, there is a time and place.

In the Arms of the Angels

If I had only one wish when everything was dark, and I felt alone in the world, and sometimes I even feel this today. I would have wished for a loved one to come, sit, read a book and NOT say a word when my tears started to flow.  I would have loved a hug, a snuggle or a pat on the back… The presence of the person, not the “advice” is what I would have needed at the time, and there are days, like yesterday, when I felt that too.  Yet, I am so blessed to have those friends, who in spirit, came to me every day, and offered me love and support.  I have a mom who still calls me every night a 7!  A dad who comes when I call, and I don’t call him enough.

I have my angels! My guides and my spirits!

I felt those loving warm arms of my late grandmother, and the warmth of my spirit guides whispering in my ears.

Love, in fact, is what held me tight… without love there would have been no light… Just like today, when I saw a glimpse of the sun, after days and days for rain and cloud, giving me just a tad of rays to brighten my day before the clouds rolled over it again, the love I received, even in small doses, the self-love and care I gave myself, I know there is more to come.

There will be sun, but there will be rain, and there will be storms, tornadoes and rainbows!  Just that when depression hits, it is the storms that envelop us, so please, just be there .. just be.  No need to cheer me up.. no need to “fix” me.. just tell me “I love you” and all is well.

Because, in fact, I love you too, and if someone you love is depressed, now you know how you can help.  Read them a story, offer to wash their hair, get them flowers, cook them a dinner, or just curl up with a book and watch them sleep..  Its is the most loving thing you will ever do!!

Wishing you love and light today!! 

Kim

Time to Take OUT the Garbage!


Open your mind, allow your feelings to be expressed, to be pushed out, and your heart will neither break nor burst, but be a free-flowing channel of the life energy in your soul.

°~Neale Donald Walsch

I must admit, once upon a time, I was a borderline hoarder. In my 20’s I would keep piles and piles of dishes on the counter of my sink. Hundreds of old newspapers waiting to be recycled, would line up in my hallway. My room was rarely clean, and I always had a storage room full to the brim.

Then, in my 30’s, when my children came along, I decided it was important to rid myself of clutter. This would happen every time I move, and I moved often, and more and more things would finally disappear from my life. I was never ever good a housecleaning though. Cleaning was always a challenge, and I always found something better to do.

When spring sprang out of nowhere, and the sun sparkled on all my belongings, I noticed the dust and grime left over from a deep dark winter and felt quite overwhelmed. My soul cried out for order.   Out came the Pledge, the Windex and rolls of paper towels. I would finally clean a 6 month’s worth of dirt and grime.

God this is taking FOREVER!

As I went through this process every year, I started asking myself, why do I  let things go so far? Why do I create so much work for myself? Instead of cleaning on a regular basis, I left, for example,  the leftovers in the fridge go until new breeds of mushrooms were born! I had no choice but to clean these awful things out, and as I opened each container  (or just throw a perfectly good Tupperware out entirely) of “whateverthisgreenstuffis” I would gag and cough as I chucked the obnoxiousness out.

WHY DO I PUT MYSELF THROUGH THIS?

Cleaning time for me, is when I had company coming over. This was rare, however, I did have get-togethers with family or sometimes friends. This is when I frantically run all over the house making it look and smell like it was clean all along. I was so tired by the time everyone got to my place, that I had to put on the mask of hostess on and pretend I was happy.

AHA! Pretend I was happy! What a statement!

Fast forward to 2012. I am in my new place, I am committed to making this a “no clutter zone” and I am doing terrific at it. I clean regularly, no I am not perfect, but I will not feel uncomfortable now if you just popped in (although I would probably say: don’t mind the dishes, as they are STILL sitting on the counter.)

I’ve always known that what lurks inside of ourselves, often manifests on the outside. Meaning, our immediate environment. That our “home” is a reflection of our soul. Since our soul is our home, it makes total sense no? So, as this process continues with me, I noticed this week, that although in therapy I am now healing a lifetime of soul clutter, there was still one more thing I needed to deal with. The garbage!!! The ugly, stinking, piling up garbage.

Peeling away the layers comes with going deep, and sometimes going deep stinks! As I go to where no Kim has gone before, I noticed one thing in my apartment that was truly bugging me. The garbage pails are all full! I would go to the bathroom and stuff that kleenex in the waste basket until garbage was overflowing. I would curse at the kitchen garbage, because when it did come time to “take it out” it was so full I couldn’t tie it. Then there’s the balcony. I had kept garbage on the balcony all winter, and it finally dawned on me: Why the heck do I do this to myself? STILL!!

Speaking with my good friend Sylvia, we came up with: You keep the garbage to keep people out! You keep the garbage to keep your truth from exploding! You keep the garbage because what is coming up inside you is old garbage which needs healing. So, in one swoop of the wrist, I took all the garbage, filled 2 bags, and brought it to my front door in such a fury, like the power of a lioness. I marched downstairs to the dumpster, and threw the bags in so hard and yelled “F YOU!!

Eff you effing garbage get out of my LIFE!”

The picture below relates to the poem Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would not take the garbage out.  by Shel Silverstein Go take a read and come back! 

Now I hope the neighbors were not watching, because they would probably think I just fell of my rocker. In a sense, I did lose it, however, it was for a really good cause: – me!  The rage had to come up, in order for me to release it. I needed to tell off the the stinking mess. I am so sick and tired of CREATING trash!

The next trip to my therapist came the next day, and guess what? Yep, stuff, feelings, experiences, that I didn’t even know where bothering me came up so strong I cried for 5 minutes in my chair. I discovered, that I was carrying trash in myself that needed disposing.

I discovered, that I was in love with everyone else’s potential and not mine. I discovered that I can trust myself again, but in the past I didn’t and I discovered that the garbage in my apartment and the garbage in my soul was a way to keep people OUT! I built walls I didn’t even know where there.

So now, I can slowly start dismantling them, one at a time, so that I can eventually create friendships, and relationships that matter.

Now Mr Glad .. I’m kicking the garbage to the curb! I’m getting mad so I can get glad!

Time to let love in!

Love your trash and set it free!

You can read the follow up to this post:

HERE:  Spring Of Life

Kim 

Rocks Rock my World


A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery


I love rocks!  Big rocks, little rocks, pebbles, gems and crystals.  As I was cleaning out my candle holder (it is full of rocks) I started playing with them in my hands.  They felt cold, and smooth to the touch.  I like the clanking sound they make as I let them drop back into the glass bowl.

Then I asked myself.  Where does this love for rocks come from?  Looking back, way back, I used to spend lots of time in Saint-Adolphe d’Howard and Magog.  My grandfather and aunt owned cottages in those towns, and I spent much time on their lakefront beach.

I remember gathering rocks into piles.  However, before I would choose which rock would go into my pile, I specifically remember inspecting each rock really closely. I would wonder how God made them, because, rocks are hard, and each of them very different.  I loved the see through ones, I thought they were diamonds.

“Mom mom.. Look I found a diamond!!” I would eagerly cry as I ran to show her.

When I found a pink rock magic would fill my soul.  Then some looked like they had gold in them.  Did I find a treasure?

I was attracted to rocks so much as a child that I even tried to sell them.  Yep, when I got home from the cottage one year, I took out my most treasured rocks and set out to sell them door to door.  Making money, around the age of 7 or 8, was such a pleasure.  I set out with my little bag, knock on the door, and believe I had something important I had to share with these people.  MY ROCKS!!  I did sell a few, probably because the people who bought them thought I was cute.. Mostly, though, the adults would laugh and politely say no thank you.

I went home that day with most of my rocks, yet I was so excited that one or two adults saw the love I had for these mysterious creations of God.  With 50 cents in hand, I went out and bought lots of candy!

My love for rocks still exists.  I always keep enough to play with in my home, and use some to decorate my candle holders.  They are a reminder strength, and endurance. I just bought myself a necklace with rocks in it!   Rocks stand the test of time, and most important, that one grain of sand among thousands that makes up one rock, may have lived a million years ago… you never know!

There are many rocks and crystals with healing powers, I know, but these simple rocks and my love for these pebbles, heal me in ways I could have never imagined, and I am grateful for them.

What symbolism do you put on rocks?  What comes to mind when you think of them?

Nothing is as it seems


We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.  ~Anaïs Nin

Earlier this week I introduced you to Monica Wilcox. (scroll to the bottom of the page for all her info!)  She wrote a guest post for Muse In The Valley:   Where World’s Collide, recounting the dream she had of her mom after her passing.

Today, I am presenting you with a recent interpretation I did for Monica, allowing me to delve into her subconscious.  Could this be a visitation dream of another kind?

The Dream

I was going to a high school reunion type dinner (I have this thing about H.S. dreams, don’t ask) and realized my date was a boy I did not like and did not want to go with. I was wearing a beautiful white gown with black flowers but thought is was too little girly for the event and wanted to go home and change. As I am trying to leave to go home a man walks up with a bouquet of exotic flowers. He’s come to “save my night” and be my date.

Here is the interesting part. I recognize him as a good friend I’ve dreamed of before. He has recently broke up with another mutual friend who is dating another guy I know. He would like to start dating another woman I know but she is unaware of this and…. The point is I consciously realized that I not only know him and his whole story from past dreams but a literal cast of other people we both know. I knew as much about these people from past dreams as I know about my family and friends in life. I realized I had had the previous episode of this dream the night before and this was a continuation. Anyway, I get the continuation dreams a lot (like the story just keeps going on, it’s not repetitive) but I didn’t realize until last night how long and how in depth I knew these “characters”. It was kind of crazy. Have any of you experienced this?

The Interpretation

(Note:  I have never experienced this kind of dream. However, I am discovering that some of my clients do an am in full research mode! )

Monica, I was wondering, since you have many High School dreams, including this one.. Maybe there are things in your past… (or past lives) that is unresolved and now is the time to face them.  The boy you do not want to go with may represent that side of you who resists going (where no Monica has gone before!)  … maybe there is a bit of fear there.

In the dress I see black and white, yin and yang, male/female.. like/dislike…  Since you find the dress “too girly” I am wondering if this has something to do with your feminine side.. What seems too girly in your life now?  Or.. is there some male aspects of yourself which want to come out.. Because you do say “I want to go home and change”… Going home?  Is that back to your spirit?  Change?  What changes have you been making or want to make lately?

The man with the exotic flowers!  I see here:  expressions of love, deep love and far away places (spirituality maybe?) or.. another dimension you are playing with.  I think this man represents acceptance of this.. and helps you cross over to this place.. with unconditional love.  He can also represent that loving side of you who is ready and willing to change and move forward.

The fact that you recognize this man.. and all the cast of your dream.. leaves me to believe that this is “knowledge” that you already know..  (re:  above)  These people may have been on your path before and are all in your dream to remind you to where you are going.  You recognise what you already know!! and I think there will be more revelations to you in the next few weeks.  So keep me posted!

The message I got for you,  at the end, when I finished reading your dream is:

Everything is not all black and white!  (there is a huge grey area).. and Nothing is as it seems.. 

Monica’s Response

I’ve never had anyone interpret my dreams before so it’s a treat. I totally agree with your overall message: Nothing is as it seems. That could be the title. (thanks for the idea Monica!!)  I also feel like the “man” is a spirit I have known for a long time who comes and goes, we know each other’s history and he shows up to give me some support. Weather he is a living spirit who dream jumps with me or someone who is in spirit and comes to me from a spiritual plain…not sure. I will say that the majority of my H.S. years were filled with boys who liked me but I had no interest in. The boys I liked were usually clueless, shy, or not interested. Maybe there is a part of me that feels like I’m stuck with something I’m not interested in??? Thanks Kim!! This gives me a lot to think about.

Conclusion

Do you think Monica has a guide or a soul mate visiting her? Maybe souls she already knows visit her in her dreams, thus, the reason she is recognizing them? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

Thank you for your awesome feedback!

Kim Larocque

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About Monica:  

Monica Wilcox is a regular contributor for Care2.comOwningPink.com, and FemCentral.com. Her work has been featured on McSweeney’s.net and in Parent:Wise magazine. When she’s not editing her first novel, she’s blogging about women’s issues, living green and everything woo-woo. She’s been advised to publish a dream journal. Until then you can find more of her nightly drama at Femmetales.com.