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The Artist's Way

I've been working through The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity for the past couple of weeks. When I went to NC, my dear friend lahermite was telling me about all the awesome progress she was making with it, and I happen to have that book (started it but never stuck with it), so I decided to give it another try. It's very helpful having a partner, and I find that the book is helping me quite a bit.

It's somewhat modeled after the 12 Step program, and in that regard is somewhat similar to the 4T Prosperity Program that I've participated in several times and found very useful. I don't necessarily think that I'm blocked as an artist, but I'm definitely in need of spiritual and creative healing. She incorporates God, but isn't preachy (and really, these are metaphysical concepts). I really like how she explains that God is “Good Orderly Direction”.

The two most important parts of the Artist's Way program are the morning pages and the artist's date. Morning pages are just three long-hand pages of “brain dump”. The first time I attempted AW, I didn't write it out long-hand. Maybe that's why I never kept with it. I have this time, and sometimes I give up before three pages, but I am finding them beneficial. The first week, I explored why journal keeping long-hand was such an issue for me. Ha! The artist's date is just a two hour block that you take for yourself, to nurture your inner artist. I enjoy those quite a bit.

There are other tasks that you do every week. She lists several, though you don't have to do all of them. There's affirmation work, which I've used a lot of. She also suggests that you find your “blurts” - negative self-talk – and rework them positively. She calls the culprit the inner “Censor”, though something about that word turns me off. I at first thought, 'Oh, I'm a very optimistic person already. I do affirmations all the time.” Then I realized that I do indeed have a running stream of negative self-talk. I can catch it and reaffirm it when I'm consciously working on my goals, but it's quietly there in the background almost all of the time, getting away with talking down to me. For me, I find that my blurts tend to center on the theme/belief that I am a failure, both to myself and my extended family. By that, I mean the family I grew up with. My husband and children, I do right by them and they always support me. It's the not-meeting-expectations thing, and echoes of conversations where that was solidified by very important people in my life.

I realize that this feeling of failure I carry may be contributing to all of the crazy “outside” circumstances that always hit us whenever we start getting ahead. I've done a lot of releasing work as far as my hurts and past abuse, but that underlying belief about myself is still there. Luckily, I'm working on it.

I've also been sticking with my Flylady routine. My house, while still half-full of unpacked boxes, is staying pretty nice and tidy. I've kept with my basic routines for a few weeks now. My bed gets made in the morning, I dress to the shoes, do morning pages, reboot laundry & dishes, do a little zone work. I figured, if I was fighting to reclaim motivation in my life, I'd fake it til it happened. Luckily, it starts happening through the act of faking. It's hard not to feel good about myself when I can report back positively to my partner, and my husband calls our home lovely, and my sink shines at me at least once or twice a day. I even have our menu planned for the week, and I'm tackling our spending.

Part of it is that farm life agrees with me. Being able to walk around my land, play with my critters, and bask in the love of my family has done some serious good in my healing. Now I'm ready to actually take control of my life in a conscious manner again, and I'm able to do that with some degree of success.

One task is to list five imaginary lives – if we had five other lives to live, what would we do? A lot of my choices have a similar, spiritual theme. We're supposed to make a list of 20 things we enjoy doing, and the last time we did them. I realized how totally I'd dropped my spiritual practices. No wonder I lived in a state of constant apathy! I decided this week's focus would be on reclaiming my spiritual being. I was supposed to start taking solitary walks again, and to do shamanic journeys. The weather has been awful all week, so I never got to my walks, but I did try journeying last night. I almost put it off since I can't find my drumming cd, but I realized it for the excuse that it was. I didn't get as “deep”, but I got the guidance I needed. And as far as making the decision to improve it, and opening back up to the spiritual reservoir, I've crossed off several other “love but been too long” items from my list. I've been keeping up with my reiki self-healing, I've done several distance healing sessions for others, I spent some sacred space time in prayer, and I'll be holding a ceremony for a few people tonight.

My “life pie” is way off balance. To make a life pie, you draw a circle and divide it into six segments. Then you label each one Spirituality, Exercise, Play, Work, Friends, Family, and you put a little dot in the area as to the level you feel satisfied. The inner ring is “not satisfied at all” and the outer ring is “very satisfied”. Mine is totally screwy. Family is the only area I'm extremely satisfied in. Work got better than I expected, since I've been keeping on track with these two programs. I feel good about that. Play is better than it should be, with everything else lacking. I'm trying to even that out. I'm slowly gaining my spiritual self back. I've taken to repeating my Life Motto daily, which I haven't done in over a year. Maybe two. I need to start exercising again, which is why I'm eager to get back to my walks. I've totally ballooned. And I have no friends. None here where I live now, anyway. No one I can just hang with if I wanted to go out without the family. I've enjoyed being hermitish, but I do realize I need friends.

Tomorrow starts week 3. I will try to keep track of my progress here on my blog. If anyone would like to join in, don't hesitate! lahermite is three weeks ahead of me, and it's working out fine anyway.

Now that I've finished this blog post (another thing I enjoy doing but have been neglecting), I'm going to spend the rest of my artist's date working on my NaNo WonderSaga. I've been going through what I wrote in November and working out a timeline. I'm also working on family trees and plotting ideas. After I get caught up on everything I came up with in November, I'll be back to writing again. I think I'll make some salsa too. That's a creative endeavor, and one I have also been putting off. I'm holding a healing ceremony tonight for a couple of friends, too. I look forward to that.


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 31st, 2010 05:51 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're doing so well! I'm trying to take control of my life too. I feel like a failure in many ways.
Jan. 31st, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry. :( That's what I've been trying to work through. Have you ever tried the Artist's Way? I'll help you along if you want to do it with me. Whatever you try, I hope it's successful.
Feb. 2nd, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
Do I have to buy a book to do that? It sounds cool. I've just been trying to do more like we've joined a gym and I've been getting more of my long term to do list done and doing more stuff on my own. The bad part is that I feel bad when I get something done like I still haven't done enough. The working out is helping a lot though!
Feb. 2nd, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)
Every little bit helps! If you have a to-do list, make sure you also keep a ta-da list. That's what I do. I'll keep a list on my fridge (or, more lately, on twitter) and list all the little baby steps I accomplish each day.

The Artist's Way is a book, but a lot of libraries carry it so you may not have to buy it. If your own thing is working for you though, that's great! It is a good one if you need active healing though.
Feb. 2nd, 2010 04:10 am (UTC)
I do keep a planner with everything that I do (including the housework!) I guess I can use this guilty feeling as a sign that I want to be doing more and let it go. That book sounds good though, I'll check the library!
Feb. 1st, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)
Hi lady! Haven't been on LJ for a while, and been busy with not much to say. I am glad you are loving your farm, and working on healing! *hugs* I made a little life pie like you describe and I need to play more and exercise also. I went on a detox and it made me miserable, so I think just eating better and exercising will be the key rather than being on herbs that make me unable to eat pretty much anything. Just wanted to say hello. *waves*
Feb. 1st, 2010 01:22 pm (UTC)
*HUGS!* I haven't really been on lj much either, and I'm trying to fix that.

What kind of detox did you do? I tried some kind of cleanse once, and it made me sick. I used to fast regularly, and I'm really going to try to get back to that. I always felt healthier and refreshed on/after a fast.
Feb. 1st, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC)
I tried Colonix, which it touted as being mild, but it totally kicked my ass. I was irritable, crampy and miserable, although it took me two weeks to give up. I read through the ingredients and think it may have been the rhubarb root in the mix that was doing me in. Severe abdominal cramping is listed as a side effect, and that is surely what I was experiencing. I pretty much stopped eating for fear of being in pain. It seemed like all I could eat without problems was fruit, and oddly, pad thai and sushi. But that isn't enough to live on all the time, so I was starting to not eat much. :(
Feb. 2nd, 2010 03:43 am (UTC)
Yikes! Definitely don't want to stick with it that long if it's making you sick. It seems like lots of folks get ill on cleanses. I'm not sure I put much stock in them anymore, personally.
Feb. 2nd, 2010 03:55 am (UTC)
After my experience with it (and this was my second try, about a year later from the first bad week long experience), I don't put much stock in them at all anymore. I think a fast and water would do better for me than any commercial cleanse. Because really, I felt fine before it, and felt horrible on it. Something that you take and makes you feel horrible probably is responsible for the horrible feelings. They advertise that this is all a part of cleaning you out, but I think that just plays on our fears that we are dirty somehow. I won't do a cleanse again at this point.
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