Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week Seven: Sense of Connection

Can it really be Week Seven if we're in the end of August and I was supposed to be working through one chapter per week of The Artist's Way?  I guess we'll call this a Marie Week, which means it happens whenever it's good and ready.  I have put off tackling this book -- and returning to consistent morning pages -- for far too long.  Even though I know it's good for me.  Even though I know I feel better and more reflective when I am consistent.  Sometimes I'm just stubborn.

Week Seven is all about connecting with dreams, goals, creativity.  This is exactly what I need at this moment: a connection to self...especially since I don't always really know who that self is.  I used to be hard on myself for this, thinking that other people were always reflective, always knew who they were, always knew what they wanted.  As I get older, however, I realize that most people move and live day to day but rarely take the time to sit down and think about who they are, what they really want, why they work in a particular way.

That was why going through the "branding" (self discovery and description) process with Jan last month -- and then walking through the process of discovering a brand of brilliance with teachers last week -- was so incredibly helpful.  It let me identify what makes me tick and why.  Now I just need to figure out how that turns into a goal and jobs.

The ironic part of all of this is that I am exceptionally good at listening to what another person says and then figuring out what they really want and how to get them to that goal but I am horrible at doing that for myself!  I  just wish someone would tell me what to do.

Morning pages and artist dates -- things that I have neglected for far too long -- are exercises in listening; listening for what our inner voice is really saying.

My inner voice is yelling right now.  Yelling at the world.  Yelling at people who betray me or hurt others.  Yelling to be heard.  I think it's time to return to pages and dates and give the voice a bit of an escape.  Perhaps if it quiets down I can hear the actual message.

As I worked through chapter seven in The Artist's Way, there were several interesting tasks: a jealousy map and an "archaeology exercise."  Julia Cameron's theory about jealousy is that it is really a message showing us want we want to do but what we are afraid to try.  Action will remove the jealousy.  So, for example, I was jealous (of a sort) of my sister's ability to sew beautiful clothes.  I decided to try that myself.  Can I sew?  Sort of.  It will never look like what my sister can create.  But I tried it, I figured out how to do a few things, and my jealousy is gone.

Jealousy Map
Who                                           Why                                 Action Antidote
SAHMs                          They seem to have flexibility                    Clean out the freezer & buy ice
                                     They can be appreciated for what       (a small task, but one that will be appreciated)
                                        they do even without a salary

TT                                 She always gets what she wants              Be more direct (while still polite) when I
                                    and so life seems very easy.                        want something

Manicured Yards          They seem beautiful & peaceful                Mow the lawn and create one pretty spot

Painters                         Artwork is beautiful                                 Paint something

Novelists                       People read their books                          Write another chapter in my novel
                                       They are known & admired
                                    Books are a great escape

Singers/Musicians       They bring enjoyment                                 Make a sing-a-long playlist for the house
                                       People admire them                              Get a piano (this is a long term goal -- gotta
                                                                                                     have money/space)

Chefs                         Make incredible food that nourishes          Cook a beautiful meal for the family
                                    the soul

Archaeology Exercise (uncover yourself!):
1. As a kid, I missed the chance to be a kid.
2. As a kid, I lacked much of a social life.  And sometimes food.
3. As a kid, I could've used an encouraging parent and a loving family.
4. As a kid, I dreamed of being a doctor in a far away land helping other people.
5. As a kid, I wanted a horse.
6. In my house, we never had enough food. Or time to sit and read.
7. As a kid, I needed more positive role models.
8. I am sorry that I will never again see my grandparents.
9. For years, I have missed and wondered about what it would be like to have had normal childhood experiences, a mother who took care of the family, a father who cared about his children, and adults who could've shown me how to navigate the system and get into college.
10. I beat myself up about the loss of many things because I always think that I could do better, be more.

1. I have a loyal friend in...
2. One thing I like about my town is that people are laid back, they enjoy their dogs, and most people garden (even if that means only a pot or two for tomatoes or kitchen herbs).
3. I think that I have nice...teeth?  No, shoes.
4. Writing my morning pages has shown me that I can listen to my inner self, I just need to do it consistently.
5. I am taking a greater interest in embracing art in all its forms, not taking BS from others, and finding ways to enjoy life.
6. I believe I am getting better at slowing down and enjoying a moment (although this is still rather difficult).
7. My artist has started to pay more attention to how items can be given a new lease on life if one just looks at them with a certain set of eyes.
8. My self-care is still lacking but I am getting better with setting boundaries.
9. I feel more self-assured.
10. Possibly, my creativity is...very powerful, just waiting to be fully realized.

This week's tasks:
1. Mantra: Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.
2. Listen to one side of an album just for joy. Doodle. Relax.
3. Go to a sacred space and enjoy the silence.
4. Create a wonderful smell in the house through food or candles or whatever.
5. Wear a favorite item of clothing for no particular reason.
6. Buy one thing that is comforting -- a wonderful pair of socks, gloves, or whatever.
7. Collage a pictorial autobiography -- take a stack of about ten magazines, set the timer to 20 minutes, and tear out all the images that appeal to you and then paste them onto paper.
8. Quickly list five favorite films.  What do they have in common? Does the theme appear in the collage?
9. Quickly list favorite things to read about.  What do they have in common? Does the theme appear in the collage?
10. Give the collage a place of honor (even if it's a secret place).

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