Today was strange… and amazing. All winter – and all the time I’ve been doing The Artist’s Way – we’ve been promising the boys that we’ll take them and their shiny red super-fast Swiss sled up to the Sierras for a day sliding down the slopes and generally having fun in the snow. Every weekend, we’ve had some reason or other that we couldn’t go – ranging from no time to no money and all the shades in between. Each time, they’ve accepted our explanations and waited patiently until the next weekend… and the next…
And every weekend, a little part of me, my inner child/artist, has looked up at the rapidly retreating snowline and wondered if adults like me are really to be trusted and if we’ll actually get to go this year. Each weekend I doubted myself a little more, but also kept telling myself that we’d make it eventually – that we’d overcome the hurdles, whatever they were, and that, by hook or by crook, we’d honor our promises and take the boys up to the sierras this season for some snow fun.
But today, we finally did it! What an Artist’s Date. Despite a whole load of perfectly valid reasons why we shouldn’t go, we went. And despite having to drive through a thick layer of cloud and sideways rain to get there, without a hint of snow left on the mountain, David, determined to find the boys some snow, kept his faith and kept going up – to over 2,500m above sea level! There, we finally found a patch big enough to have a snowball fight with… and after a further recce in the driving rain, a small dirty slope of snow just about long enough to ride the sled. Snow smiles and giggles all round! We did it! (thank-you David!).
So, it seems very appropriate, after having finally achieved such a lingering goal, that this week is the closing week of the Artists Way – and that the theme of the chapter is Recovering a Sense of Faith;
“Creativity requires Faith. Faith requires that we relinquish control… Our resistance to our creativity is a form of self-destruction. we throw up road blocks on our own path. Why do we do this? In order to maintain an illusion of control.”
Our snow smiles to me were the trophies of a test of faith – faith in myself, my faith in David, and my faith that everything will be ok, if only I’ll let go and trust that it will be ok.
So, my check-in this week goes as follows;
- How many days this week did you do your morning pages? 5 – they are shorter than 3 sides of A4 now, but I justify that because once I recognised the 1.5 page rule, I’ve been bypassing that first waffle bit and get straight to what’s important. Have you accepted them yet as a permanent spiritual practice? Yes, I do them most days, especially when I feel that I need to express/expel some negative or self-destructive emotions and get to the root of what’s behind them – I’m kinder to myself afterwards – they calm the mind-chatter and they always help shift my energy. How was the experience for you? I’m using them now, not just doing them because I have to. They help.
- Did you do your artist’s date this week? See above – with bells on!! Woo-hoo! Will you allow yourself these on a permanent basis as well? Yes, for me, these fun bits are my own AA program for workaholism. What did you do? Went “wheee” down a mountain. How did you feel? Freezing cold, wet, exhilarated, alive, happy in this moment and grateful.
- Did you experience any synchronicity this week? Once again, my kundalini yoga practice is just incredible for showing up just what you need, just when you need it – this week we did a set on the Solar Plexus Chakra – your sense of boundaries and sense of who you are on a really deep level – reflecting on where I was at the beginning of the Artist’s Way and how I feel now, my sense of who I am is so much stronger.
- Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant in your recovery? We’re just coming to the last few tasks to finish re-roofing the yurt – at last it will be waterproof and next week, after it’s served as the space for our yoga retreat, I can reclaim it as a creative space again. I don’t know how long for, but I don’t need to know that – my job is just to show up every day and work/play – Create.
So, this is the last blog post in this run of The Artist’s Way – I haven’t done every single exercise, I haven’t kept strictly to the 12 week schedule, and I haven’t magically become a super-productive uber-artist; but I have absorbed week-by-week Julia Cameron’s sense of what it means to be an artist – not as a job title, but as a daily commitment – a practice. And I’ve strengthened my own belief, my own faith in The Joyful Life – that’s the one that I’m focused on continuing to create right now 🙂
And I’ll end with a quote from Joseph Campbell (one of my heroes);
“Follow your bliss and then doors will open where there were no doors before…”