As I said in a previous post, I decided to sit down and do the work, and I have managed to finish the first week of The Artist’s Way programme, and of course there have been some findings that I would like to share here.
The course is divided into 12 different weeks, and its main objecttive is to unblock creativity and let ourselves be the creators we know we are. The book is not focused on any specific artistic path, despite the fact that it will require of you to write your Morning Pages everyday.
Each chapter is organised in more or less the same way: it first introduces you to the topic of the week at hand and then it proceeds to remind you about the Morning Pages, the Artist Dates, and the other tasks that you should try to cover throughout the week.
The first week’s focus is on constructing a protective, caring environment around yourself and your creativity. When you read it you can’t help but remember all those different voices which, at different times in your life, have told you that you are not creative, or that you don’t have the right to create, that only special people do it. Or maybe, like in my case, you might have learnt or told yourself, or both, that you are not allowed to be creative.
And many times we end up living our creative lives vicariously, enjoying other people’s creative enterprises while we wish the whole time we could do the same. I have to say this part was enlightening to me, because I realised how important it is to be surrounded by people who will nurture your creativity, and I also realised how necessary it is to expand your social circle, to find people who will enrich your soul and who can help you, by means of guidance, to achieve your full potential.
Julia Cameron tells us that our inner Artist is (like a) child. And so, how do you protect children? You offer them love and support, you listen, you guide, you defend, you nurture, you sacrifice yourself for them with a smile, you stand by their side and watch them grow with delight and with joy. And this is exactly how we are to work with ourselves as Artists.
You have to be honest with yourself and think how many times you have failed this child. All is not lost, though. Everytime is as good as any to start nurturing and bringing the inner Artist back to life. It only takes a decision.
And so you sit, everyday, and write mostly stupid things, repetitive, chaotic, on your Morning Pages. You have the silly Artist Date and you end up exhausted because you still don’t understand what you’re really supposed to be doing. And you do the Tasks (some of them, anyway) and the Affirmations, which leave you tired and brokenhearted. But at least you have started. It feels good, at times, to put your faith in something and work, with all your might, to break the patterns you have enslaved yourself to.
The Morning Pages have been nothing short of revealing for me. I think I said it before, but they are like a perfect mirror of the state of your mind, and they have made me aware of all the stories I repeat to myself again and again and again and…
I feel I’m still not ready to see and understand all the patterns I am discovering within me at the moment, but I’m pretty sure that my vision will eventually widen and it will allow me to see what I can now only catch a glimpse of.
Because of the quarantine, I am not really allowed to go anyhwere much, so at first I thought having the Artist Dates would be a problem. Every week I go to see my parents and so these last two weeks I have decided to walk, in order to avoid having to take public transport. These have been the most beautiful walks, there is so much beauty and variety hidden in the city. Walking has been a means of thinking and re-thinking many of my current life issues, while feeling empowered and big.
There was even a test of courage and bravery. To get to my parents’ house I have to cross a huge avenue, which was built on top of a river which is now paved on. Because of these huge pipes, to cross by foot you have to go over a tall bridge with two steep flights of stairs. I hate those bridges. I am afraid of heights, yes. But really, I would feel a little bit safer if the banister reacher higher than my hip. I don’t know where my irrational fear comes from, if I’m scared that someone will suddenly appear and push me to my death or perhaps that I will have a clumsiness attack, fall over and perish without any assistance from a helpful pusher.
I cannot say how much farther I will go with this programme. It’s been so long since I have trusted myself to finish anything, so I will not make any promises. I will only say that seeing myself, in my human experience, so reflected on the pages of a book, has been illuminating and it gives me hope for all the things I can and will do.