I took some time late this winter to read and complete some tasks in the excellent book “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron.
I discovered it while watching a YouTube video on plant based eating of all places. (I’m no vegan, but dabble in it due to reported health benefits.) A guest on the video was an artist who described following her passion of creating glass jewelry. She recommended the book. She was able to wean herself from emotional eating by immersing herself in artistic pursuits.
Among many, many other topics Cameron discusses the inner child – the innocent, creative being in all of us. What has also stood out to me are these topics: Showing up in the studio. Paying attention to our emotions and reactions. Relationships that either contribute to or contaminate our creative selves. Self-care as a priority.
I’m taking notes in the book as well as in the journal she requires. I have kept up with most daily writing sessions and many tasks – there are a lot to choose from. However, the seven weeks I covered so far have taken me a couple extra weeks – it seems my earlier momentum slowed a bit.
One aspect I love of the book are the quotes she includes on nearly every page. Here are a few of my favorites so far:
"Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent." -C.J. Jung
I found two ways to relate to that. First, my father died when I was only 2, and that left my mother a shell of herself who never really lived many days since without sadness. I took the torch from her in a way and have lived a life of safety rather than risk, which has been observed by my own child.
"To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive." -Robert Louis Stevenson
Amen to this! I remember so often in my twenties being unable to tell if I liked something or just went along with it because my friends did. This is where I learned trusting my gut and believing in myself has only gotten stronger and more reliant with age.
"I have made my world and it is a much better world than I ever saw outside." -Louise Nevelson
I interpret this as saying to myself: I am an adult and can create the environment I want, without worrying what others think it should be! Maybe one day I will build that Hobbit house in the country!
"Look and you will find it. What is unsought will go undetected." -Sophocles
So this seems to be an understatement when I consider all I have gleaned from her book so far. She talks about serendipity – making discoveries when not looking. Ironically that’s what this book is doing for me. All these years I have felt I needed a guide to follow in order to be an artist. Now I discovered this guide was always within me – to sound totally cliche!
As Socrates said: “Know thyself.” Without even finishing the course yet, I highly recommend it for any person like me who yearns to create more in a world that doesn’t always give rewards for the work. Finding acceptance in how I’m wired has been well worth my time and effort so far.