The Artist’s Way: Week 4 Recap/Starting Week 5

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So how was last week for everyone? I’ll be honest, I did Morning Pages I think three days and that’s about it. By Thursday I started reading my novel again along with multiple-page articles online. I didn’t do any of the tasks, I sort of took an AW break. But when I did do my Morning Pages… they were fantastic. Inspiring, such great ideas, and I even started talking about one of the ideas with a friend, making it into a reality, part of the future and we’re both excited. I started doing a bit of self-analysis about things in my life, and it has made me make more sense. I don’t want to drop the habit of Morning Pages once the 12 weeks of The Artist’s Way is over, it has been a great addition to my life, has helped me clean up my thoughts and clear out my brain of fuzz to let creativity and important thoughts have space.

So I can’t really recap the week because I was an AW slacker, so I hope to hear inspiring and interesting recaps from you folks. It has been hard to find time to properly comment, but I save your comments in my email inbox and often revisit them to keep me motivated with AW. I know that if I was held accountable with this blog I would have given up already; I need to finish and I bet you do too. So though I’ve been a bit mute in comments I’ll try to step it up and give back what you all have been giving me!

the artists way julia cameron week 5

Week 5: Recovering a Sense of Possibility
I realize the biggest issue I am having with myself during The Artist’s Way is I don’t know what I want. Do I want to have some great success based off my creative endeavors, or do I want to live more simply and enjoy the small things in life? I look at those who “have it all” and it doesn’t look appealing to me. And then I think… I have it all, the all that’s right for me. Why am I striving for more, is it for me, or is it to prove something to others? I don’t feel stuck, I don’t feel blocked. The only thing I feel that I don’t like is stress, I don’t want to add any more of that to my life.

Creativity is a spiritual issue.

I fully agree with this, and it makes me realize how much I have grown spiritually since 2006. When I feel frustrated and blocked, it’s usually when I haven’t made time for yoga, meditation, good sleep. When I put up barriers regarding a great idea or creative project, it isn’t because I don’t think I can do it or I don’t think it will be good, but because I weigh my options and I don’t think in the long run it will benefit or improve my current station in life. More money and more fame doesn’t mean more happiness. I don’t think I’m rigid, I think I fear messing up what beauty I have built around me.

For an artist, withdrawal is necessary.

My birthday was January 28th. I told Karl that what I wanted as a present was a day alone. A day where I didn’t have a schedule, no responsibilities, no need to change what I wanted to benefit others. When my birthday arrived, Karl had forgotten my hopes for the day. I woke to hearing, “Emerson get dressed so we can take Mommy out to breakfast for her birthday!” He came in the room with a cup of coffee and talked about after breakfast, heading to the phone store to upgrade our phones, stopping by the dry cleaner and grocery store, then spending the day together as a family, maybe renting a movie. He was excited, Emerson was excited, and I was near tears. Was I a terrible person for wanting to spend my birthday alone? I brushed my teeth and thought about it. I came out of the bathroom and gently reminded Karl about what I wanted to do today. He was miffed, but he understood. The day started off rough, I felt such guilt, but as I sat at the diner with my solo birthday breakfast not reading (damn it’s hard to eat out alone without reading!) I let the guilt disappear. And the day was amazing. I came back refreshed, calm, happy, inspired. We spent dinner together as a family, I had the best night’s sleep in a long time, and the next day Karl apologized and saw how the “Me Party” day brought me back to myself.

When I think about how I fight against doing a lot of new ventures, I wonder if it’s The Virtue Trap. I can’t quit my full time job and pursue creative endeavors, I need to support my family. I can’t go on an Artist’s Date, I already missed bedtime yesterday because I worked so late. I can’t take on that project, I already have so little time with my family and friends. But then I think… I am the one doing this, and it’s not because I want them to feel better but I want to feel better and I feel better with them than stressed out, no sleep, solo success. It’s not about being nice, it’s knowing myself and that family is more important than fame or fortune.

However, reading the piece about the mother and the pottery classes I thought about me and exercise. I totally do this all the time. I can’t take a class or go to the gym, it’s not fair to my family who sees me so little already. But they’ll see me even less if I die early, or our time together won’t be as enjoyable if I have health issues restricting my mobility or happiness. This Virtue Trap truly is self-destructive in every sense of the term.

List ten things you love and would love to do but are not allowed to do.

When I did this in 2006 I remember listing this quite quickly in my journal. This year I couldn’t think of anything except Quit Corporate America. And really, I don’t mind my job. Part of me hates the commute, but I’d rather work in the city than be stuck in the suburbs 24/7. Part of me hates the time at work that could be used for other things, but the money lets me do other things at the other times of the day.

With the wish list exercise, I was also stumped. I wrote a couple things and then got stuck. I pulled out my 2006 answers and saw one or two were the same from 2006, but the rest that I wrote… half I don’t care about any more and half I actually do or have now.

All of this and the tasks have made me question why I am doing The Artist’s Way… but this questioning is just as important as having some sort of creative breakthrough where I become a flamenco dancer and fill my home with plants and pillows. It’s a working meditation of sorts, who am I and is this who I want to be?

So how did it go for you? Do you find that page and a half truth point? I totally do and it makes writing easier because I look forward to that aha moment. Did you do an artist’s date? I feel my birthday was one, I trolled through a thrift store and IKEA with no goals and left a bit poorer but richer with ideas. Did you experience any synchronicity? Any other issues? Can’t wait to read them!

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  1. Hi Ally — Week 4 is my favorite week yet, which demonstrates that we all have different needs when it comes to getting un-stuck. I did not check Facebook, twitter, instagram, bloglovin’, or read the newspaper for the entire week. I either did something or sat quietly. Sitting quietly was fine for a few minutes, but I got bored quickly. I got so much done — not only creative things, but also chores that had been hanging over my head. I am going to avoid internet lurking until after work and after exercise from now on. 🙂

    1. I love that you’re doing this Kate, you’re inspiring me to return to it when the cast is off. And internet lurking is huge, I’ve started putting away my phone most nights as soon as I get home and the times I do, I have so much more TIME and with it, a sense of calm!

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