The Artist’s Way: Week 3 Recap/Starting Week 4

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So how was the last week for you? I started off with high hopes, but things got busy and I didn’t do as much as I hoped. However, I did do Morning Pages every day (a couple at night) and it was a great exercise. It was amazing what would come out on the pages, things I didn’t even realize I was thinking. The previous week was so many creative ideas, but this week was more about how I felt about such ideas and what I really want to do, to be. These days it seems every blogger also has a clothing or accessory line or a book or some sort of side business. And while I have some amazing ideas that I think could prove successful, I’m only thinking in that matter because I feel I need to. And this week helped me realize I don’t need to. Accomplishing The Artist’s Way doesn’t mean I now know how to start some sort of side project or business, it just means I will feel unstuck and use that unstuckness in a manner that is right for me and my life. I won’t go into details, but Wednesday (I seem to do the best Morning Pages on Wednesdays) I wrote without evening thinking, “I don’t want to be famous, I just want peace and to give peace to others.” And it reminded me why I still blog. It’s not to be the biggest or the best, it’s to write freely about a topic I enjoy, and to help fellow women feel a bit more at peace with themselves and their closets. Writing that felt so freeing, I ended up writing it several times in a row.

We’re all busy people, and if you’re doing The Artist’s Way with me, know that if you haven’t done all the tasks, haven’t been able to fit in an Artist’s Date, haven’t written every morning, you are not a failure, and even a little bit can help you break through and find your creative self. I’ve been beating myself up a bit about starting this journey with all of you and not really putting in 100% with it, but this week made me realize a little is better than nothing and it’s better to do it at a comfortable level than stress myself over this. I know nothing should get in the way of my recovery, but if The Artist’s Way becomes one more thing on my to-do list that I dread, I don’t think that will help me either. SO I am doing it at my pace, and whatever your pace is, it’s better than none at all.

A random thing from Week 3’s Detective Work… in 2006 I wrote that my favorite childhood toy was Barbies. I spent so much time not just playing with Barbies, but making them clothes. Be it out of Kleenex and Scotch tape, or later on actual fabric with needle and thread or my mom’s sewing machine, Barbie wasn’t an unrealistically shaped beauty goal for me, but a creative outlet. As a mom now, I don’t like Emerson playing with Barbies (or Bratz or Monster High whatevers) because they don’t look like little girls and I don’t want to give her a complex or have her feel she needs to look like these dolls to be beautiful, but she seems to get a Barbie for every birthday from a well-meaning friend or family member. But reading what I wrote pre-child about Barbie made me think about how Emerson loves creating outfits for herself, playing Toca Tailor on the phone, changing the clothes of her Groovy Girls and how we’re both more about the creative part of clothing than the doll inside the clothes. In fact, I ended up writing a whole big blog post about how I still do this now with the blog when offering advice to reader questions, but chose not to write it because it sounded more as though I was defending myself than sharing some insight from The Artist’s Way. So instead I plan to make my next Artist’s Date be me, my sewing machine locked in the office, making a dress for one of Emerson’s Barbies. And then I think I’ll get Emerson a box of Kleenex and a roll of Scotch tape and together we’ll see what sorts of beautiful gowns we can make together.

the artists way julia cameron week 4

Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity
Week 4 gives a name to how I feel I need to have some sort of business from this blog and how I really feel – my real feelings and my official feelings.

“If you want to work on your art, work on your life.”

I find that when I feel off in my feelings on life, I add more to my plate so I am so busy and overwhelmed I can’t think. Then if people ask how I am, I can bitch about how busy I am instead of talking about how I actually am feeling. And to do this is accepted, congratulated these days. We get together with friends and drink coffee, talking about how much coffee we are because of how tired we are, and we begin unconsciously one-upping each other on who has it worse, who is more stressed, the most over-scheduled, the busiest.

Cameron mentions kriyas in this chapter, and when I read it I realized THAT’S why I have been sick all year. That’s why I get migraines the day after a stressful week at work. Looking back, I realize that my cold seemed to improve right after my a-ha moment in my Wednesday morning pages. I’m acknowledging the connections of everything, instead of rush rush rushing through life trying to keep it all together.

“A closet stuffed with ratty old clothes does not invite new ones.”

Well gosh, I write about this all the time, but in the literal sense. It’s true with clothing, and with everything else. I complain about lack of time, but when looking at my life, much of my time is taken up by things I don’t really enjoy or don’t benefit me, or are done more out of habit than pleasure.

“If you feel stuck in your life or in your art, few jump starts are more effective than a week of reading deprivation.”

Well damn, I should have read this chapter before buying The Goldfinch on my Kindle and getting knee-deep into the story. And how does a blogger NOT read? At my job, there’s a lot of time waiting and doing that waiting in front of computers. I go through Feedly, I hop on Twitter, I read articles and blog posts and share them on Facebook, I read industry publications. At home, I have a dozen different magazines sitting in every bathroom waiting to be read, a stack of books on my nightstand, a Kindle in my purse and the app on my phone. Not reading in 2014 is far harder than it was in 2006 when I busied myself by rearranging the cabinets in my kitchen. But just by writing this I thought how I have a spiral notebook and a favorite pen at work already, if I can’t read I can write and doodle and draw. I can visit coworkers and discuss projects or pop culture. I can get out of my seat and go for a walk. I can delve into an application I have been putting off learning. There’s a lot I can do when waiting. And when on the train, I can listen to music, or I can listen to my own thoughts. I think of The Simple Living Guide, another book I read a decade ago and keep revisiting. One of the best things I learned from that book is to drive my work commute in silence. No NPR, no Spotify, no audiobooks, no phone calls. Just me alone with my thoughts. This week, I had a day where my brain felt as though it was in overdrive and I turned off the radio and drove home in silence. And that silence helped me calm my mind and think through my thoughts. And a week without reading will likely do the same.

I'd love to hear your challenges and triumphs with last week and how you feel about Week 4's topic and tasks!

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