Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Artist's Way

Years ago, my friend and mentor gave me a book to help me through some of the creative self-doubt I'd been struggling with. It is a book that has changed my life and one I have bought and given to friends many times over. The book is called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and it is a 12 step program, a spiritual path to creative self recovery. Who would have thought artists needed creative self recovery? But we do. Artists as a group tend to be very sensitve and doubt themselves and their abilities frequently. Artists are rarely encouraged to pursue their love of the written word, or music, or painting. It's most often supported as a hobby or not at all.

I was blessed to have a mother who encouraged me to write. It was a love we shared. She'd always wanted to be a journalist, but life and family made her put that dream on the back burner for many years. She finally turned that love to writing several family histories, and writing occasional articles for magazines, and gaining a final publication credit of two experiences in a book just a few weeks before she passed. Mom always told me I could do anything I wanted in this life if I wanted it bad enough. She always told me she had confidence in me and my abilities--and yet still this book was needed, though I've never been able to get beyond chapter 4, for some strange reason. Just those first four chapters have given me tools that allow me to be creative and know where that creativity comes from.

Recently, three of my dear friends and I have begun this journey together. They are new to the Artist's Way, but their e-mail to me have been full of excitement and eye opening wonder as they discover the gifts that doing morning pages have given them, or the eye-opening understanding of adding voices to their Monster Hall of Fame. Discovering where those negative critical voices come from has been crucial to their creative self-recovery, just as it has been to mine.

This journey for me is not new, and yet even now, the fifth time I've begun it, I have discovered things about myself and the blocks that have made me what I am. I've added new Monsters and am realizing some of my potential.

But, I think the pinnacle of this week was knowing that I'd made a difference. While doing affirmations two of my three friends told me that they weren't hearing any blurts (the negative self talk that comes when we praise ourselves). And then they told me why. They in essence said that they weren't hearing blurts because when they did the affirmations they heard my voice telling them it was true. One of them listed me in her Hall of Champions. It was an act that was more dear to me than any award I've won, made me feel more value than any money I could gain. It humbled me to the depths.

I was somebody's hero.

Quote of the Day: "Creativity is God energy flowing through us, shaped by us, like light flowing through a crystal prism."
--Julia Cameron, TheArtist's Way


Christine Bryant said...

You are also a great example to a great many people, including youth. Your journey in your life and writing career will surely inspire many. I love the Writer's Way. Thanks for introducing me to it and for helping me weed through the mess I call my life.


Cathy Witbeck said...

Sounds like a great pep talk type of book, the kind we all need once in a while. Thanks for sharing.

Noble M Standing said...

Interesting, I found that book a long time ago in the Tooele DI and bought it but never cracked it open. Sounds like I need to. I need to do morning pages too but have never caught the "desire or understanding" to do that.


L.T. Elliot said...

You are a hero to me, Karen. This Artist's way is already changing my life. Thank you will never be enough. *hugs*

jdcoughlin said...

Karen, Thank you so much. I totally forgot I have this book. It's been years since I've read it. Thanks for reminding me how much it's done for me. Perfect time for a reread.

PS Great Blog!

Anne Patrick said...

Great post! I too was blessed to have a mother who encouraged me to go after my dream of publication. Unfortunately she passed on before my first book was published. But I know she's looking over my shoulder and still pushing in her gentle but persistant ways. Congratulations on your book contract!

Karen Hoover said...

Thank you, Anne. I lost my mother last August, so I understand completely about that feeling of having her around pushing behind the scenes. Thanks for stopping by!