It has been a heck of an start to 2017, don't you think!? I have had my strong moments; moments where I believed that all is well and as it should be; where I have had the faith that what we are experiencing is just part of the process of birthing a new consciousness, or perhaps even a new world. And...I have also had moments where I was totally freaking out because I felt like we were complete and utter victims of vile tyranny. For most who know me, I am rather Pollyanna-ish, and I am proud of it. But the last couple weeks have been hard for me. I have spent many moments wondering how things could possibly work out for our collective good?
Admittedly, I am not good at being in the dark...or being in the anger that sometimes accompanies the dark-side of myself. Maybe that is part of the lessons I am here to learn? Maybe I need more practice feeling my way through these dark moments? I know that being able to feel my own anger, and allowing it to just move through me, came up a lot in my Jump Coaching sessions with Nancy Levin (which, by the way, I highly recommend for integrating those invisible,past wounds, so we can become whole).Perhaps I need to remind myself to breathe more, knowing that I can get through this...but I still think that we are in for a hell of a ride. I'm convinced it is going to be a feeling-roller-coaster for some time yet. I guess I better learn to hang on (loosely) and be okay with dwelling in the unknown (or at the very least learn to accept that I am).
Thanks to a dear friend (an earth angel sent to help me through this time) I was asked to do another round of the Artist's Way -Julia Cameron's 12 week book/course, with her. It has been quite sometime since I last did the TAW, and I had forgotten all the really cool and juicy tid-bits, that this wonderful practice brings me. This is the book that set me on my artist's path years ago.
Yesterday I read the Introduction, and already I have had so many epiphanies. I realize (again?) that Julia Cameron has used recovery as the framework for her course. A course that has, over the years, successfully helped unblock many artists, of all descriptions. I did not realize how recovery was such a big part of the TAW, last time I cycled through it...weird. Perhaps that was because I was so early in my own recovery. Because of what recovery has brought me in my own life, I feel like everyone could benefit from the tools and gifts that recovery has brought me. Well, guess what? Everyone does have access...and it can be found within this amazing and healing book.
If you are a blocked artist, or even someone who does not feel like they are living a fulfilling life; or if you yearn for more, this blog post is my gift, custom-designed to your needs. I would put a link here for Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way, but my preference would be for you to support your community and buy it from your local bookstore:-)
I have been in recovery for nearly 15 years but, as I have written before, but two and a half years ago I had a small slip (a slip means that I used my substance of choice and broke my continuous abstinence). That slip now reminds me of what is going on today in the world. The gift of that slip was that it helped me become more aware of the fact that while I had not been using my substance of choice to numb out anymore, I was not really recovering (healing) either. When I slipped, as painful as it was, I kept it a secret for a month before I had the courage to reach out for help. Thankfully,sharing my shame helped get me back into recovery. That slip really woke me out of a deep slumber. Perhaps, for the first time, I realized how powerless I really was. I had been in recovery for twelve years, sure, but truthfully I had merely substituted one substance for another more invisible, and more socially-acceptable substance. Substances were the Band-aids I used to covere the pain of my broken heart, and my soul-sickness.
The way I relate my story, to the state the world finds itself in, is this: While I deemed things as "not really that bad," I allowed myself to stay stuck, in a deep state of slumber. But when things get really bad, and I could no longer deny it because I slipped, I began to suffer so greatly that I could no longer deny that something was seriously was wrong with me. I had to reach a sort of spiritual-bottom (and that is what I believe is happening now. Globally we are suffering a collective/spiritual -bottom). And we are being forced to wake up.
Recovery introduced me to the idea that there was "Something More" that I could access, around the clock, for support. That Something More helped me get straightened out so I could begin to heal. I began to realize that the joy I was seeking could not to be found out there in the external world. Through recovery, I began to wake up to the realization that healing was an inside job. As I have begun to heal, my creative journey has continued to expand...and I feel fulfilled.
There is a certain prominent person in the world right now whom, I believe, is a reflection of our collective/spiritual-bottom. My eyes have been opened wide to the fact that the material world, and our desires for more and more stuff, are NOT where the joy we crave resides.
I love how Julia Cameron uses TAW to lead us to the place where we can find our joy; our true place of Something More. I love how she teaches us how to find our creativity within, so we can begin this healing process. TAW is a deep process. But I feel that the more creative we can become right now, the more collective-healing we will experience.
I started the Basic Tools chapter yesterday morning, and I decided that I would not push to get through this book this time, even though I wanted to do Week One's reading straight away. This time around I want to savor the journey, and really take it in. Here are a few concepts that have literally jumped off the page for me already:
*We must make a commitment to one hour a day of practicing TAW principles. This is easy for me because I have to limit doing my art most days because given the chance I would do it all day. But I know we must learn not to make excuses for why we have no time to do the things we want to do. Most times our excuses are fear based. Perhaps we think we can't be the kind of artist we want to be. I am here to tell you that we can. we just have to commit to showing up and putting the time in. All artists start off as beginners..
*Cameron distinguishes that "withdrawal" is different for the recovering artist than a person recovering from substances. She says "We ourselves are the substance we withdraw to, not from, as we pull our overextended and misplaced energy back into our own core."
*"We must allow the bolt of pain to strike us." This year has been all about learning to feel all of my feelings....especially anger. Cameron just reinforces how necessary it is to integrate all our fragmented parts into our awareness so we can become whole and heal.
*"Stop fearing that your family and friends would think you are crazy." I love my family and friends, but I DON"T care what they think of me, my writing, or my art anymore! And it is such a relief. I stand at the edge of the abyss and allow myself to free fall (most days :-)!
*Make a cartoon character out of our censor, so I can laugh at it whenever I hear it rear its screechy, and ugly voice; remembering that my critic's opinions are NOT the truth. In fact, I am going to allow the opinions of my critic to challenge me.
*On the other side of our fears we get to "hear the still, small voice that is at once our creator's and our own." Love!!! This is where we get to be with the 'I" that is not this body. And we get to be with that "I" during our morning pages meditation (three pages of free writing each morning....magic happens here).
*I love how Cameron explains that our "Logic Brain" is always our second, third or fourth thought....never our first! ."
*Cameron says that any original thoughts look dangerous to our Censor (fear of failure?taking risks).
*I love how she says morning pages are meditation, and as meditations are the gateway to God.
Hope this look at the bright side, at creativity, makes you feel better. I really do believe we are all being called to raise the vibrational frequency on the planet, more than ever, right now. That means we must get out from under the fear that keeps us stuck and sick. If you can, look into doing The Artist's Way for yourself. Find me on Facebook, or send me an email, if you want to ask any questions, or if I can help in any way. Either way, let's commit to keeping the faith and trying and find joy in our lives. Even though we are eternal beings, our physical lives are short. Don't forget to live it!
Wishing you love, healing and creativity,