Tag Archives: Julia Cameron
I’m sorry it has taken me 2 weeks to complete this week, but that might have been synchronicity at work, since this week is actually about:
Pivotal to any creative journey is the ability to resist the cliff’s edge of drama. All of us are tempted to binge on negativity. It is the careful husbanding of optimism that allows us to move productively forward. This week’s spiritual toolkit is aimed at dismantling the hobgoblins of fear and distrust that poison your well. You will align yourself with a Higher Power that extends itself in benevolent ways on your behalf. Sketchbook in hand, you will practice being in the now, where there is always sufficient safety for you to experience balance.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve incorporated my morning and evening stretches, my evening pages, walking, self-care, art, writing, reading, and a bit of meditation into my day.
“As an artist I must be able to see into the future. I mist be able to cast an idea forward and see it fleshed out and standing on its own, a real creation.” That really hit me this past week. Since I’ve been fleshing out the outline for my novel for NaNoWriMo using tarot and the hero’s journey (Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel course), I’ve been in the “now” with the novel, but I’m also seeing what finished work in my head. How it’s all coming together. I’m also noticing that my art, at least my daily sketches that are part of this week’s chapter, as well as my daily art for my journal, are changing. Not a whole lot, but enough that I’m noticing what feels more “me.” I’m finding my authentic voice with my art. 😀 That feels good. I’m not quite there yet, too many days are not really thought out and just thrown on the page because I’m in a hurry. I need to slow down. Enjoy the process.
“Anything that curbs our enthusiasm is the enemy.” So true. Comparing yourself to others is a good example of something that curbs our enthusiasm. I look at my drawing, at something I painted with watercolor, or my art journal page and then I look at someone else’s, someone who is trained, or how has been at it for longer, or…and no matter how decent my page is it’s not going to look decent compared to someone else’s… It’s like comparing apples and oranges. I’ve had to stop doing it. Now I watch other people’s process videos for helpful tips, tricks, techniques. I refuse to compare my works to theirs, unless about a technique–if I’m doing something wrong I need to know what I’m doing wrong and how to correct it.
“Each day I must find something to love in my day at hand.” STAY IN THE PRESENT. Since I started the little sketchbook Jen sent me I’ve been practicing the “Illustrate your life” portion (It’s one of the Divining Rod exercises) and it has helped me focus on being more in the present, on finding something positive each day.
“It shall pass.” Remember this, she says. Use it as a touchstone. There are cycles of acceptance. She says there are “bleak seasons and fruitful seasons. Successes and failures….to find the dignity in the doing…and (to remember) it counts for something.” This is something I am still working on. I realized how one bad day, or one bad piece, or one bad… throws me off and then the “I don’t know why I’m even trying to be a writer, to draw, to paint, to…” starts in my mind. I’ve got to learn to be more resilient when it comes to things like that, and to keep it simple. To find my “Calm oasis and listen, enjoy a sense of communion with a greater power than myself.” Getting outside for the walks, communing with nature, with the universe, really does help me. And sketching at least one small piece of my daily life has been fun…it makes me slow down.
Uncovering a Sense of Support
Critical to any creative journey is sense of creative support. You must practice discernment, weeding out that which does not serve and watering the shoots you want to foster. This week’s tasks invite you to consciously interact with those who are positive on your behalf. Reaching out to others for their belief, you will also reach within and steady your personal confidence. If you had the faith what might you try” This week’s explorations will lead you into knowing your own mind.
When I first saw this chapter (my first attempt at Finding Water), I wasn’t thrilled about it–this time, however, things have changed. Cameron talks about having a network of friends and family there to be supportive. She calls these supportive people in your life Believing Mirrors. Accordingly, they reflect back to you the beautiful being that you are when you aren’t able to see it yourself. And through their own beauty they inspire you and speak the words you were thinking, but hadn’t formed yet or the words that you’re afraid to say. In turn, you will reflect the amazing creative beings that they are and that you are yourself–without having to actually work hard at it, which is what we do when we’re doing it alone. In a group setting, this multiplies. Cameron states that “creativity occurs in clusters,” and I agree with her. Over the past month I’ve found this to be true myself.
This week has been chaotic, especially the weekend. I’ve been busy with family, as well as personal and creative projects. I missed doing Morning/Evening pages more than once this week. I had to split my Artist Date into two different things because of time and obligations, but I ended up having much more fun than I might have had I just done what I had originally planned for my Artist Date. For more about what I did for my walk and my Artist Date I’ve included the video for this week.
Truth is, with each passing week I’ve realized that 1. I need to prepare for my Artist Date better. 2. I need to make the time for my Morning/Evening pages. 3. I need to ask for help more. I know that things are getting better, I can feel it inside and out, but it’s slow going and I’m not the most patient of people–What? Me? Nope, I’m not. It’s one of my flaws.
I prefer to do things on my own, I don’t like asking for help, nor do I like feeling like I’m not able to do things myself… so asking for help is difficult, but not impossible. Over the past few years, I’ve had to ask for help from family and friends much more than I wanted but it helped me, and made me feel good–I have people I can ask for help. Over the past month, I’ve realized (thanks to our group, Destination Me) that I am not out here alone, and it’s alright to ask for help. 😀
Overall, this was a much better week, and a much better experience, than I thought it would be. Now, I’m off to address thank you cards.
Week 2 is titled: Uncovering a Sense of Reality. At first glance I was unsure about this chapter, but after reading the introduction I felt good. Stronger. That perhaps I’d gain more of a sense of my own power and strength… resolve.
“As you explore your inner world, your outer world will come more sharply into focus. As you face your imagined barriers, you will encounter real ones, as well. This week’s wortk will help you to become more grounded and farseeing. As you seek your own internal support, as well as the support of friends, your creativity will become more steady. As you undertake small actions on your own behalf–watering the garden, as it were–larger actions will seem more possible. A sense of your own power will return to you.”
The first section is called Claustrophobia. I know that feeling even though I am not claustrophobic. Feeling like you’re stuck, enclosed in a room, stuck looking at the same four walls, backed in a corner creatively–blocked, or even just overwhelmed and suffocated by all the things going on, especially if there are outside forces causing you drama. Cameron states that “drama is contagious,” and gives an example of a young writer who called her quite a few times in a short amount of time, about how the writer’s friends were “misbehaving,” that “life itself” was misbehaving, and that “things weren’t going her way.” The writer is unable to write and blames all the stress in her life. I’ve been there.
Cameron says, “It is only when she is not working that her normally nice boyfriend suddenly becomes the monster. It is when her mind is not on her work that it is so closely focused on the workings of everyone else’s personality. Her own personality is what is on tilt, but she can’t see that.”
I agree, and disagree. There are those who are never going to take an artistic career seriously, who see being an artist (like a writer, musician, painter, illustrator…) as not being a real job…You can’t change their minds, all you can do is what you do, have boundaries, and do your best.
My reality is that I sometimes lose focus, get distracted easily, and/or I try to do too much in a day. Along with a few other things that I discuss in this video about Week 2 of Finding Water.
Uncovering a Sense of Optimism
Julia Cameron starts this week off with the mantra that “you’re never to old to be young at heart, never to old to be a beginner.” I agree wholeheartedly with that, as a matter of fact, in the past few years I’ve began several new things (creating art again, writing a novel, making YT videos, my own website, created a group on FB with three other women, and am now working on three major creative projects). 😀
Cameron goes on to say, “To begin, resign from competition, stop comparing yourself to your idols,” and to that I also add to your old self and to your future self. In the Divining Rod section of this portion she asks you write about your deferred dream(s). Here are a few of mine:
- Take a watercolor class
- Finish my novel (completely)
- Publish my novel
- Take a photography course/class
- Go to a writer’s workshop and a writer’s retreat
- Take a cruise with my husband
When I thought about what I’d have to do to make some of those things happen I knew the answer immediately…Money. Some of that isn’t feasible right now, but there are other things I can do that are. I can research free watercolor classes, free photography classes. I can write every day and work on my novel… (I’m working on that currently).
She also asks write down a list of people you can go to for encouragement:
Friends, husband, DM group, family… I’m not naming names here… 😀
Now we’re to the focusing portion, and the big thing here is to “take time to see,” which means to take the time to really look at the world around you. Taking time to smell and see the roses. 😀 She says, “I must work to husband my own optimism. I must cling to the small and positive.” The Divining Rod for this section says to make a list of 5 beautiful things you’ve recently spotted.
- My grandson’s smile.
- The sight of my husband taking the time to make me coffee before he went to work.
- The sunrise after the storm
- The blush roses in my rose garden blooming with dew still on their leaves.
- A bird on my clothesline singing.
Grounding: “What I am doing still matters in the scheme of things…Optimism is partially the happy accident…” and my favorite part of this section: “The doing of something productive regardless of outcome is an act of faith…just do the next right thing.” Believe you can and you will mentality. The Divining Rod section here made me realize just how often I turn to simples tasks to ground myself:
- doing dishes
- making coffee
- taking a shower
- taking walk
- folding laundry
Possibilities: She says, “Learn to try…learn to act affirmatively.” and that “wherever creativity is afoot, so is blossoming.” But my favorite part is this: In order to make art we must be willing to labor…to reach inside and draw forth what we find there…it begins with possibilities.”
It’s is possible to do things.. You say… “Oh… It is possible that I can write a novel.” And then the notion of well “I can” becomes “I think I’ll try.”
- I could try writing poems again.
- I could try (again) to learn the new video editing software.
- I could try to put the flooring in the kitchen down myself.
- I could try writing short stories again.
- I could try creating my own Tn folder/pocket dashboard things.
- I could try making my own facial scrub…
- I did Morning Pages 6 out of 7 days. I wasn’t feeling well on one of those days and went to bed really early. It helps clear my head when I do them, and the only repeating issue is that I noticed I need to slow down… I need to take a little time for me and make sure that I use the time for my Morning Pages as a more of a meditation thing as well.
- I did my artist date. I actually did more than one. I took two nature walks just to enjoy the outdoors, and I went on a coffee/hot chocolate date with my grandson and we created art. 😀 I felt much better after all of those things.
- I walked multiple times during the week. I took a longer walk one day, but the other days I walked for 20 minutes. So 4 walking days out of 7. It felt good, and I enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. I also spent 10 minutes walking around in the rain–for fun, before the storm here got bad.
- I need to remember that it’s okay to ask for help.
In preparation for tomorrow, I’ve been working on the schedule for Finding Water. It is a 12 week self guided course. We’re going to cover the basics this week since it’s only half of a week… and then starting on Monday our official week begins.
Week 1: September 5-11 Uncovering a Sense of Optimism
Week 2: September 12-18 Uncovering a Sense of Reality
Week 3: September 19-25 Uncovering a Sense of Support
Week 4: September 26-October 2 Uncovering a Sense of Balance
Week 5: October 3-9 Uncovering a Sense of Autonomy
Week 6: October 10-16 Uncovering a Sense of Resolve
Week 7: October 17-23 Uncovering a Sense of Resilience
Week 8: October 24-30 Uncovering a Sense of Truth
Week 9: October 31-November 6 Uncovering a Sense of Perspective
Week 10: November 7-13 Uncovering a Sense of Safety
Week 11: November 14-20 Uncovering a Sense of Discipline
Week 12: November 21-27 Uncovering a Sense of Perseverance
A more detailed post will be coming soon. 😀
Creativity, the act of “turning new and imaginative ideas into reality,” the “ability to perceive the world in new ways to find hidden patterns, to make connections,” “the use of imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.” There are more definitions, but those are basics.
To me creativity is about passion, imagination, curiosity, and expression.
We’re talking about creativity all month our women’s group called Destination Me: Adventures at the Round Table. And I’m also staring 3 projects for the month of September this week.
Like I said before I’m going to re-read the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I’m currently reading The Eyes of the Dragon, but on September 1st I’ll start reading the Gunslinger.
I’m also going to work on a projected called the Decorated Page, it’s based on the book with the same name by Gwen Diehn. And I’m re-starting Finding Water by Julia Cameron. Not to mention I’m still participating in the #hotandsticky summer novel writing challenge. WHEW! I’m going to be such a busy creative person this upcoming month. Oh, and did I mention I’m trying to finish organizing and cleaning my writing/craft room? No, well I am.
I am really excited about the projects. If you’re following along, participating, or would like to participate please leave me a comment and let me know. Especially if you’re going to be blogging and/or vlogging about it. 😀 For me details about the projects I’ve included the video I made for YT (and the group). I hope I’ll see your comments and likes. 😀 I’m so excited about these projects.