|I need all the pens. I wish I had more pens. In all the colors.|
Each chapter is a new week, with new ideas and new exercises to help you unlock the artist within, and to remove blocks that have been placed there; either by yourself, other people, or circumstances of life.
The ultimate goal is to give yourself permission to Create. Because after all, you were given these talents; you may as well use them!
While my focus is currently on The Artist's Way, I am using it in conjunction with Creating on Purpose. I'd already started that book prior to picking up the second, but they complement each other well.
I'm currently on Week Five of The Artist's Way. Each week focuses on something a little different, and depending on your set of circumstances things will resonate differently depending on the focus. Personally, this week is really hitting home for me.
This week is all about what happens when a blocked Artist doesn't use their gifts. It's also about confronting all the reasons why we "can't" create; all the reasons holding us back, big and small. It's about all the things we're not "allowed" to do, and how we lull ourselves into a false sense of virtuosity by putting ourselves on the back burner while going out of our way to fulfill everyone else's needs.
It's about all the things we wish we could do. Seriously, one of the exercises was to finish the phrase "I wish" eighteen times. On the nineteenth, you completed the phrase "I most especially wish." My answer:
I most especially wish I had Jedi powers and could wield a lightsaber.
Ironically enough this is the one wish I'm truly working on fulfilling (hello Green belt in Kempo with an eye on a weapons class starting in September that will include Bo Staff work).
But I digress. This week's exercises have really pulled to the foreground just how much I subvert my needs and desires under the umbrella of "serving others" and "being a good person."
There will always be more grocery runs, more laundry loads, more meals to cook. There will always be more walkies, more lawn mowings, more driving all over town doing errands. They aren't going anywhere. And yet, where they've been going is ahead of my writing, my creativity, my me time that would give me enough space and quiet to have some frickin' creative ideas once in a while.
Seriously, the hardest thing for me has not been the Morning Pages (three pages of journaling every morning), but the weekly Artist's Dates, where you do something all for you that you will find fulfilling and - most importantly - fun.
You guys, I suck at Artist's Dates. Here's how the last four have gone:
- Week one: never happened
- Week two: Successfully completed exactly what I wanted to do, and had a great time.
- Week three: wanted to go berry picking, then make strawberry shortcake. Got called on account of rain and a very hurtful comment that ended up with me in tears and depressed the rest of the day. Ended up calling an early morning walk I did prior to the comment as the Artist's Date, although that's not what it was meant to be.
- Week four: had plans to take a trip to a local museum. I was really looking forward to it, but last minute family needs necessitated me postponing the date. I ended up doing a less planned Artist's Date the next day, wherein a bought a cute hat and took myself on a picnic.
I know what you may be thinking: Kate, you did three out of four! That's great! Sure, they didn't go as planned but you still got something good out of them. You should be happy and grateful that you were able to do anything at all.
Here's my response to that: but I didn't get what I wanted.
Yes, I know you don't always get what you want. But when you're in the habit of putting your needs behind everyone else's, wanting something as simple as going berry picking and then having to do something else because life got in the way is not fulfilling. It's settling. When you spend your life settling, trying to climb out of that hole by having to settle some more is not helpful or effective.
Also, I realize that I am doing this to myself to a certain extent. I'm not completely in the dark here. It's a boundary issue as much as anything else. It's not putting my needs first. Another term for Artist's Date could very well be Self-Care. And we all know how good I am at that.
I have this week's Artist's Date planned for tomorrow. The current plan is to do an extended date (one of last week's exercises, and the one that got pre-empted). I'm getting an acupuncture/facial treatment in the morning, then I'll take myself out to lunch and then to the Museum I didn't get to last week.
That's the plan. I'm almost scared to say that out loud.
But you know what? Overall, the course is working. I bought a sketch book. I haven't sketched since high school.
|My very first sketch in over 25 years. Framed for posterity.|
Last week, I wrote fiction. For the first time in almost twenty years, I wrote fiction. It was just a couple pages, never meant for human consumption. I just wanted to see if it could be done after all this time.
I don't think that will be the last. Not anymore. I'm pretty rusty; my imagination has been off limits to everyone but me for a very, very long time. But I'm interested in seeing how far I can take that.
My steps are small, and I've still got a lot of personal crap to work out. But I'm moving, god damn it. It doesn't matter if it's forward or backward; I'm moving. I'm shaking off the stagnation and trying.
And that's half the battle right there.