Chapter One video has most of the topics below, plus a few extra thoughts
It’s been one week of prep and I’ve already had moments of wanting to give up. It’s ironic that at this moment I am trying to check in and connect more, my husband is really checking out. Particularly because I get so hooked by that, and want to focus on him. This is a major theme of the Artists Way, to not focus on others so much we lose ourselves.
Check in from last week – prep:
The private messaging group on Twitter has been growing and been a great source of support and ideas! Any spoonie doing #spoonieway can join.
I did my daily pages most days but not every day. I find it helpful to not track it because then I get caught up in “I didn’t finish it” and push myself beyond what is good for my body.
In the group, @aL0Es had the idea for an emergency plan for the daily pages: on bad brain fog days to just write “fog fog fog” over and over to fill the page, and on really bad days write five words in summary of a ten-minute verbal brain dump. On one of my bad days when I was really angry, I just wrote in huge words and filled up the page with about six words. It wasn’t verbose, but it sure was cathartic.
One thing that I and others discovered was that it’s important to do pacing with the daily pages! Because our spoonie bodies are sensitive, we can cause physical injury. My hands were pretty sore even with only writing one page, and that not even every day. I pulled out the arnica to use in the future to help with the sore muscles. Also sometimes I would wait until later in the day, so that I would have over night to recover.
Already with the daily pages I’ve been feeling fear and liberation. Surprising things have been coming up, things I had no idea were in there.
There’s been a lot of discussion in the group about the artist date. In thinking about the artist date, I realize that I was actually kind of fuzzy on what it really is. I went back to read that section in the book The Artist’s Way.
Julia Cameron says that it is about magic, delight, fun, mystery. I would describe it as containing a sense of wonder, so that my body actually feels lighter, more joyous. Julia also says the artist date is “filling the well”. The act of creativity causes us to draw on the resources in our lives, and we have to fill up that space inside us to have something to draw on. She says that art is sensual, and composed of image and felt experience, even when we are writing. Does not pain she says that makes us better artists, but focused attention. And pain is one common way to get more focused on the things around us. I take it as bringing intentional Focus to the moment, bringing mindfulness, and feeling and experiencing the moment. This is the heart of the artist’s date.
To me this is very different from self care or pacing. If we don’t do careful self-care and pacing we will get sicker, in a serious and tangible way. If I don’t fill the well, I’m not as creative but it doesn’t damage my health.
One person asked how they could do the artist date when they were exhausted and unable to get off the couch. Does Netflix count as an artist date?
I think it depends on the intention we are bringing to the moment. If I am watching Netflix just to zone out, that is not an artist date, although it is important self-care and pacing. However, if I am watching Netflix and really checking into the experience, being aware of the sensuality of the images, sounds and imagining the smells, filling the internal well with these experiences, then I would say it absolutely is an artist date!
I would say the same thing about being on the internet. If I am just surfing the web mindlessly to self soothe then I don’t think that is an artist date. However if I am being deliberate about my experience then I think it can be. For instance if I decide my theme is Japan and I search for videos on YouTube for a day in the life of Japan, that can definitely be an artist date. Especially if I decide to add green tea, Japanese candy, incense or other tangible sensual experiences related to Japan.
Here is a list of spoonie friendly artist date ideas, that I will be updating throughout #spoonieway.
New chapter – Safety
I highly recommend getting the book because each week is like a mini therapy session with Julia, but I will go over a few things that struck me.
This chapter opens with the sentence “one of our chief needs as a creative being is support. Unfortunately this can be hard to come by.”
I think this is especially true and difficult for us spoonies! Already there is such a burden that we have to deal with because of our illnesses. It can be really hard to get support from others, and it can be really hard to get support from our self. I know that I tend to have a lot of judgement of myself. It can be difficult to embrace myself with kindness and compassion. I think learning to do this is going to be one of the most powerful things about doing #spoonieway.
She goes over how often as children we were actively discouraged from being artists. Sometimes it was because someone was being mean, but more often it’s because they were trying to help us be practical. But the side effect was that our inner artist got squashed. And often times when we experience that, we become what she calls Shadow artists, who support the artistic dreams of the people around us but not for ourselves. She encourages us to say I am an artist, and to really do that for ourselves. She also says that judging our early artistic efforts is artist abuse. It’s kind of like we’re learning t-ball, but we compare ourselves to the Major Leagues.
She also talks about the negative beliefs that we have around being an artist such as everyone hate me, or even, I will die. She calls these blurts. And then says we should turn the blurts into affirmations. So for instance I’m not gifted enough could become I Am A Gifted writer.
To me paying attention to how I do the affirmations is really important. Sometimes it’s literally turning around blurt, but sometimes it is deeper than that. Paying attention to my gut feeling as I’m doing them can help me get to the heart of the matter for me, and find the correct affirmation for whatever deeper fears going on.
The tasks for this week that I’m hoping do are the daily Pages, artist date, imaginary lives, time travel, and working with blurts.
Julia encourages us to do the blurts right after the daily pages. But this isn’t necessarily very practical for spoonies. Personally, I’m pretty tired after doing my daily page. I will need to do the blurts at a different time. I probably won’t do them everyday as Julia suggests, because that’s just not feasible for me with my energy.
The imaginary lines exercise is imagining if you had 5 other lives to lead what would you do in each of them? Whatever occurs to us and to not overthink it. She then encourages us to do one thing connected to one of these lives. So an example she gives is if you want to be a country singer can you pick up a guitar?
Time travel is an exercise I really don’t want to do. At all. This is why I picked it, because she encourages us to pick the ones we most like and are most resistant to. The first part is listing three old enemies of our creative self worth. People who squashed are desire to be an artist or creative. This is our monster Hall of Fame. The second part is writing out one Horror Story from our monster Hall of Fame. My memory is really bad, so I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do this. But I really like the end part where she said we could find it cathartic to draw a sketch of our old monster or find an image that reminds us of it and then do cartoon trashing of it or at least drawing a big red X through it.
Saturday check in
On Saturday we do a check in for how the week went. The questions she gives are:
- how many days this week did you do the daily pages and how was the experience for you?
- Did you do your artist date how did it feel?
- Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.