The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self by Julia Cameron (post written by Ann Lihl):
As some of you know, I have been on a 12 week course, “The Artist’s Way”, written by Julia Cameron, in which provides basic tools and extensive exercises to achieving and creating the life you want. This course is geared toward “blocked” artists (artists who want to create but feel their creativity is lacking), or for those who wish to change the course of their lives but don’t really know how to go about achieving it. I have learned so much and I can’t express enough how this has impacted and changed my life forever. Besides reading Eckhart Tolle’s book, “A New Earth” in which teaches to live in the present moment, how NOT to worry about the future or to re-live in past, this course is a must for providing valuable tools in lining up events and goals that you would like to see happen in your life. If you feel stuck in a rut, bored or disappointed in yourself and where you are going in your life, this course is for you. It will impact your life forever.
I will write FOUR blog posts summarizing three chapters each (12 chapters total). I will be telling you about my own experience or feelings with each chapter. I hope that you will feel enlightened to join in what I call an experience of a lifetime. This blog post will cover Chapters 1-3.
The Artist’s Way Chapter 1: Recovering a Sense of Safety
This chapter talks about “Shadow Artists”: People who have been negatively swayed by either parents or others to not pursue their artistic gift for some reason or another. Shadow Artists have experienced a negative event in their lives which has caused them to become “blocked”. This chapter talks about how negative core beliefs that artists hold inside themselves causes these “blocks”. These beliefs stop growth and dreams from happening. These “blocked” artists are often intimidated by other active artists and so they sometimes become harsh critics. Sometimes they also become fans or collectors of art instead of being the “creator” of art (such as the film making book collector person who secretly wants to be a filmmaker). Affirmative weapons are explored in the chapter in which your negative core beliefs are written down, questioned, and explored further. Each negative belief is dealt with by a positive statement…and when feeling like you do not deserve the positive statement, it is again explored until each negative belief is exposed (reading daily affirmations, writing an artist’s prayer and other tools are learned). The chapter really explores the fears you have deep down inside (the only real reason you have these negative beliefs to begin with).
The exercises at the end of the chapter will explore your past. You will write time travel stories (good and bad). You will also explore imaginary lives (in which you get to explore lives you’d like to lead). I loved all the exercises (aka tasks) in this first chapter. I felt it got to the core of low self worth feelings. The imaginary life exercise is what pops into your head instantly, and is not to be over thought about. Over thinking in this course does not reveal what your heart and soul wants you to do. It is often right at the tip of your tongue or as they say what pops into your head in an instant. Be forewarned though: this chapter may bring up tears because of negative past experiences being painful. This course will help you deal with that and it will help you turn around those feelings to be positive ones. YOU ARE WORTHY of all great things!
The Artist’s Way Chapter 2: Recovering a Sense of Identity
Chapter 2 talks about watching out for “Poisonous Playmates” and “Crazymakers”. Poisonous Playmates are friends who are “blocked” artists themselves and who say well meaning things but who may unknowingly “sabotage” your creative “recovery”. “Crazymakers” break deals and destroy schedules, expect special treatment, discount your reality, spend your time and money, triangulate those they deal with, are expert blamers, create dramas, hate schedules (except their own), hate order, and last but not least, they deny they are “Crazymakers.”
The chapter also talks about our inner skepticism. The “Morning Pages” and the tasks that are given through out the course will help you deal with your self doubt. First and foremost, being gentle with ourselves is key to your creative recovery. The tasks involved with this chapter is some affirmative reading (in the book), making a list of where your time goes each day, listing 20 things you enjoy doing, and adding another five imaginary lives you’d like to lead. There is also a “Life Pie” exercise in which you chart where you feel fulfilled and not so fulfilled in the six areas of your life: spirituality, exercise, play, work, friends, romance/adventure. This is quite fun and will show you what you need to work on first and foremost.
This particular chapter was fun for me.It helped me know which areas I needed to focus on in my life and in listing the tiny changes I could make each week, it gave me a sense of accomplishment in the areas of my life I was lacking satisfaction in. It also showed me what fun things I could do to fill in those areas I needed help with.
The Artist’s Way Chapter 3: Recovering a Sense of Power
Chapter 3 talks about our emotions as we recover our sense of power into our lives. Some of the emotions that have not been dealt with and are holding us back from our recovery are anger and shame. If we have anger, it is meant to be acted upon–in other words, something that angers you needs to be dealt with. Anger is a map that shows us where we are to go and what to take care of (and of course, not in a violent way). Besides learning how anger can be used as a tool to help us move forward in life, the chapter also talks about how synchronicity plays a major role in receiving the answers or solutions to problems you need help with. I can’t tell you how many times in the past I have needed help or an answer to something in my life, and the the solution to my problems came to me quite easily. When I say easily, I mean it was presented to me without me knowing it was going to happen. I simply prayed about it, let it go and wham! It was there: the solution, the answer, the information I needed in getting what I needed to move forward with my intentions and goals!
Taking this course will provide you with many tools to find the answers you need. It will enlighten you and open your heart and mind to new adventures. Your life will take on a new meaning. You will feel more satisfied and happy, and your anger and shame will dissipate in due time.
The tasks involved in this third chapter deals with some detective work. It will bring out your strengths and gifts on paper. You will go back into your childhood to list your accomplishments, traits you love about yourself as a kid, and your present every day habits. You will also list people you admire or want to be like, who will be nurturing for you during this course and who will not be so understanding during this course. I have one recommendation that I have found to be helpful for me: do NOT tell anyone other than the people who nurture you, that you are taking this course! You do not need “opinions” or “judgments” on why you “shouldn’t” be taking this course.
This chapter was the easiest chapter I’ve had to do in this course. I was ahead of the game on this chapter. In other words, I was already doing the tasks in the chapter before actually taking the course. So for me, it was an easy chapter to accomplish and complete. Just remember that everyone is different and so what I experience may or may not be what you experience.
You are more than welcome to leave me a comment or question in the comments section below. In a couple of weeks, I shall write a blog post on Chapters 4-6. Until then, take care and have a blessed day!