The Artist's Way Book Group - Week 10

"This week we explore the perils that can ambush us on our creative path. Because creativity is a spiritual issue, many of the perils are spiritual perils. In the essays, tasks, and exercises of this week, we search out the toxic patterns we cling to that block our creative flow". Julia Cameron.

The Artist's Way creative cluster I am facilitating is up to Week 10 this week. We have each completed ten weeks of morning pages, artist dates, and walks. In addition, we have done a lot of the exercises and tasks in the book. In the process we realised, that it is quite a challenge to complete each of the weeks information in just one week.

Julia mentions this in her book, and suggests that people take what they can do and then come back later on to parts that they may have missed. It's only as we have worked through the book that we have realised the truth of this statement! This week the book focusses on Dangers of the Trail, Workaholism, Drought, Fame and Competition.

Dangers of the Trail

Each of us has a have a way to dull our feelings, when we find things are getting too much. However, when we dull our feelings, we also do something else, we create a creative block. There are a myriad of ways to do this; alcohol, food, caffeine, being busy, sex, work, family, friends, drugs, sugar, exercise. These things in themselves aren't necessarily bad, what we are looking at here, is the abuse or misuse of these things. Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way this week, suggests that there are usually one or two ways that we favour.

"As we become aware of our blocking devices - food, busyness, alcohol, sex, other drugs - we can feel our U-turns as we make them. The blocks will no longer work effectively. Over time, we will try - perhaps slowly and erratically - to ride out the anxiety and see where we emerge. Anxiety is fuel. We can use it to write with, paint with, work with.

Feel: anxious!
Try: using the anxiety!
Feel: I just did it! I didn't block! I used the anxiety and moved ahead!
Oh my God! I am excited"
Julia Cameron Week 10 Dangers of the Trail.

Do you find yourself doing work after work hours... taking work with you on outings? Answering the phone after a certain time?

Is work fun or something to be endured? Do you have fun at work? What sort of attitude do you bring to your work?

"Play can make a workaholic very nervous. Fun is scary." Julia Cameron.

Your mission this week, should you choose to take it on... take out a piece of paper, and write down

  • Wouldn't it be fun to ____________________
  • Wouldn't it be fun to ____________________
  • Wouldn't it be fun to ____________________
  • Wouldn't it be fun to ____________________
  • Wouldn't it be fun to ____________________
  • Wouldn't it be fun to ____________________

    Now put one of those items on your list into action. Wouldn't it be fun to buy a packet of marbles the next time I'm at the store? Wouldn't it be fun to buy a dance DVD and dance? Wouldn't it be fun to invite my friends around for a slumber party? Wouldn't it be fun to buy a spirograph and doodle? Wouldn't it be fun to go bushwalking and sit under a waterfall?

    I hope you have some fun playing with this mission... should you choose to. :) Kareen

  • The Artist's Way - Week 9

    So we are up to Week 9 in The Artist's Way - and our creative cluster has continued to gather and work through the book. Julia warns that around this stage of the process that many drop out, but we've managed to keep going and while we many not do every task in the book - there is a lot - we have been continuing some of us with more tasks than others, but all of us with our morning pages and artist dates.

    Early on in the process we felt like there was SO much information and inner reflection in each chapter, that we felt that we were getting a bit overwhelmed. So we came to a group decision to to double up on a couple of weeks, in order to give us some more space. It is now two and a half months since we started on the 14th August. What an interesting journey taking part in this process is. For each of us we have found challenges, insights, more creativity, an unfolding in our ideas and dreams for our art or writing.

    Task number 1 this week is to revisit our morning pages - to take stock, take heart and acknowledge. Have you ever kept a journal, and revisited it? While I am yet to participate in this task, I have been going back and revisiting a few of my journals and re-reading. I only wish I had done more journaling. Hopes and dreams that I had wanted to achieve were there, and now I can reflect on those dreams as I am currently living them. Other dreams I have experienced in a small way, and have yet to see come to permanent fruition, however it is quite an insight and a realisation of just how many of the dreams I journaled about, are now reality.

    Julia says, "The pages have allowed us to vent without self-destruction, to plan without interference, to complain without an audience, to dream without restriction, to know our own inner minds." She also says to give ourselves credit for having undertaking them, and to give them credit for the changes and growth they have fostered. If you have done morning pages or journaling in this way, you will get an idea of what this means. If you haven't and are interested in the process... all you need do is to take an old exercise book and write 3 A4 pages each day - whatever comes into your head just write... thoughts, dreams, hopes, visualisations, plans, affirmations, ideas - there is no wrong way to do them.

    Early in our Artist's Way group process our creative cluster all went together for an artist date, to a Doodle Workshop run by local artist Yvonne Kiely . We had such fun, and each one of us created a doodle and a mandala. That workshop jogged my memory about doodling, and I realised how much I miss doodling. When I used to use a telephone landline all the time, sitting at my desk chatting, I used to doodle all the time... on the diary in front of me, on pieces of scrap paper... nothing was safe. Now with my mobile phone, I never do that anymore.

    But participating in that workshop reminded me of how relaxing the process is, and I remembered when I used to doodle while talking on the phone, it was also quite insightful. Doing a doodle, is a very freeing experience for our creative selves. You don't have to have a big canvas, you don't have to have a lot of time, you don't have to 'show it' when you are finished, unless you really want to that is. The benefits are many - increased relaxation, more inspiration, mindfulness... I could go on. But the best thing is that you can do doodling anywhere on a scrappy piece of paper, and you can do a few moments or a few minutes while you are on the phone.

    I decided to create a new facebook group for those who are interested in doodling or zentangling to help with their creative practice. A Doodle - A Zentangle A Day - if you are interested, please join in.

    If you would like to participate in a Doodle Workshop in the Port Macquarie area visit: Artist Yvonne Kiely

    The Artist's Way Week 8

    Collage Image from Week 8 The Artist's Way - Basic Principles

    Week 8 - This week tackles another major creative block: time. You will explore the ways in which you have used your perception of time to preclude taking creative risks. You will identify immediate and practical changes you can make in your current life. You will excavate the early conditioning that may have encouraged you to settle for far less than you desire creatively.

    According to Julia Cameron the author of The Artist's Way, week 8 is the week when a lot of people decide to quit The Artist's Way. I have to say that I've noticed over the weeks, people online dropping away gradually - mostly with the excuse that they don't have enough time. After listening to people complain about their lack of time for participating, I have been interested to then see the amount of trivia that they choose to share online. I wondered, if they have time for that, then why not time for their creativity? How do you spend your time? Do you factor in time for your art, your writing, sculpting, your creativity - whatever that is for you?

    One place I spend time...

    Julia Cameron says this week... "Creativity requires activity and this is not good news for most of us. It makes us responsible, and we tend to hate that. You mean I have to do something in order to feel better? Yes. And most of us hate to do something when we can obsess about something else instead. As a rule of thumb, the odds are what we use to procrastinate about doing what comes next. This is our addiction to anxiety in lieu of action. Once you catch onto this, the jig is up.

    Watch yourself for a week and notice the way you will pick up on an anxious thought, almost like a joint, to blow off - or at least delay - your next creative action. You've cleared a morning to write or paint but then you realise that the clothes are dirty. "I'll just think about what I want to paint and then fine tune it while I fold the clothes" you tell your self. What you really mean is, "Instead of painting anything, I will worry about it some more." Somehow, the laundry takes your whole morning.

    The Artist's Way was written prior to the internet becoming such a part of our lives and I'm noticing that a common new way of avoiding creating, is the time we waste on trivia online (notice I said, we there). I encourage, you right now to take out a piece of paper, yes right now, and doodle or write a few lines. A theme? Time. The present moment. What you are noticing here and now.

    Journal prompt for this week: take note of the time you spend... what do you do with your precious time?

    A free colouring page - click on the image to enlarge - print it out and colour in.

    The Artist's Way Week 6 - October 2015

    Over the past 8 weeks or so, I have been participating in a group that I called together, to work through The Artist's Way. Julia Cameron author of The Artist's Way, suggests that, as a part of the process, that each week to go on an artist's date.

    "One basic tool of The Artist's Way may strike you as a non-tool, a diversion. Doing your artist date, you are receiving - opening yourself to insight, inspiration, guidance."

    Stingray Sandgate

    What is an artist date? An artist date is time put aside preferably each week, where you take yourself on an excursion, to somewhere that inspires your inner creative spirit, your inner artist.

    Beacon Sculpture - designed by Marion Hoad,
    executed by Ornamental Iron Work - Sandgate

    Surge Sculpture by Davis-Thomas Sandgate

    Week 6 theme from The Artist's Way is Recovering a Sense of Abundance. What does abundance mean for you? Do you feel abundant? Today I opened a book and read this quote; "We have so much already, and can open up to receive so much more, as we let go of the fear of loss and lack that shuts us off from the universal flow of abundance." Alana Fairchild.

    An abundance of Soldier Crabs - Sandgate

    This week Julia Cameron suggests a counting exercise. Buy a small notepad and write down every nickel you spend. It doesn't matter what it is for, how tiny the purchase, how petty the amount. Petty cash is still cash. We fritter away cash on things we don't cherish and deny ourselves those things that we do. For many of us, counting is a necessary prelude to learning creative luxury.

    Some years ago, when I was paying off my mortgage, I damaged my hands and couldn't work for a while. Budgeting suddenly became very, very important. I started to pay attention to where I was spending little amounts of money. It turned out that when I stopped spending money on small amounts, it became so much easier to save. When I sat down and worked out where my money was being spent, I decided to stop paying out money on media style movie programs. I worked out that over the years, I had paid out thousands of dollars. That really got me starting to think about where I was directing my money and what was more important to me. So Week 6 on The Artist's Way was a reflection on some of those times for me, and a rethink about my finances and what I want to be doing with my money and my abundance.

    Continuing my artist's date along Sandgate walkway, I spied a dear little cup cake alone on a bench. I took this photo and then noticed a young man coming to retrieve it.

    Another exercise from Week 6 of The Artist's Way this week - what gives you a sense of luxury?

    A rather wonderful sculpture I spotted at Sandgate on my artist's date walk. Thank you to the owner for inviting me in to take a photo ;)