Friday, November 5, 2010

The "Way" It Began, Part I

It was ten years ago, early December 2000, that I was feeling dissatisfaction with the stultifying boundaries of my life, and itching for change that would take me somewhere larger and fuller. What or how this transformation would be, I had no clue, but  I did know it had something to do with my wasted creative potential. As often seems to be the way in my life, when I have really needed something, it has found me as  much as I have found it. This is how, while perusing the shelves at Barnes and Noble, a book of massive import to my life practically fell into my hands. The title was The Artist's Way:  A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron. What it appeared to be was an accessible twelve week course I could take at home to jump start the journey to "creative recovery". 

I took it seriously, as if I were in a weekly class with Julia, and she did not let me down. The first and most important exercise was to write, to keep a journal called "The Morning Pages": three handwritten pages (for me, single spaced college ruled paper) stream of consciousness ramblings every day before doing anything else. I allowed myself one cup of tea, and in my quiet kitchen I wrote.

Of course it wasn't easy to begin. My first page starts with a whine from deep within the years of stored negativity, self doubt, and fear:  "I don't really feel like writing yet. I've got a headache and now my morning routine is broken." Then the flood began. I continued to write those pages every day for at least six months, and then sporadically throughout the next several years. 
Their purpose was not to start something new, but to release the negativity and the pain about creative failure from my head and onto the page, so that I could move on to other exercises intended to foster positive action. This writing was not for the eyes of others, and I rarely ever reread what I'd written. It was meant to be a purge. Although, upon revisiting some of those pages ten years on, it is very revealing just how much that purge has taken, how much I've changed since then.

So why publish a journal (in the form of a blog) now? Obviously what I intend to share here will be a different sort of record of self-expression. I feel I have long since come out of the darkness and I'm ready for sharing and feedback of a more supportive and practical nature. Those among you on a similar journey will understand. Hopefully you will follow, comment, and supply links of interest. I'm looking for some of you to become part of my new support team, or what Julia calls "The Sacred Circle".  More on that next time.

The girl on the left always dreamed of becoming an artist


  1. I also worked through the Artist's Way many years ago. What always amazed me was when I thought I had nothing to write, I suddenly had 3 pages filled. There were times I disliked the discipline, but I learned so much about myself that it was well worth it. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

  2. lemme just say Artist Way changed my life! I did it with a group, and it was sooo powerful and wonderful...