True confession – I’ve attempted to follow The Artist’s Way 12-week course for “recovering your creative self” two previous times, and never got past week one. Then I read an article about another artist’s journey through this process (who also couldn’t finish it previously), and suddenly I was inspired to give it another more try.
What’s different this time around?
I’m at a strange crossroads with the art I create, and how (and if) I want to share it with the world. I still believe that art is the way for the Universe to speak through me, and that its the way I’m meant to serve. However, after 20+ years of following my passion for art, I’m suddenly not sure where I want this path to take me next.
Frankly, I feel a bit stuck.
So three weeks ago I jumped into week one of The Artist’s Way for a third time, and instantly felt like I’d come home to myself. It was as if this entire course had been created specifically for this time in my life.
I quickly committed to completing “morning pages” every day for the 12-week program, which are 3+ pages of long-hand, stream-of-consciousness writing about anything on my mind. Although I’ve journaled off and on since I was 16, I often didn’t give myself the focused time to get the most from this process. Yet this time, I was all-in from day one. It didn’t take long until extraordinary information started pouring onto the pages about what potentially could be blocking my creativity, and surprisingly,
much of it had nothing to do with creating art.
The other foundational piece of the program is to take myself (alone) on a self-nurturing “artist date” once a week. This can be as simple as a long country walk, a solitary excursion to the beach to watch a sunrise, or hanging out in a gallery. The purpose of this play date is to fill my creative well, opening myself to insight, inspiration and signs along the way. To make sure I actually did this (its so easy to pretend I don’t have the time), I blocked 3+ hours for an artist date each week for the next 3 months.
Now on my 3rd week of artist’s dates, the following is what I’ve done so far:
Week 1 – walked around a beautiful urban lake in the middle of Charlotte that I hadn’t seen in 15 years, picking up leaves that I sketched on a park bench;
Week 2 – toured the Renwick and Horschorn Museums in Washington D.C. while traveling for my part time day gig, a totally inspiring experience;
Week 3 – explored a new neighborhood on a lake near my home and checked out the latest exhibit at one of my favorite Charlotte galleries..
Each week I also have the option of completing many additional tasks for the purpose of exploring and healing my inner artist. For instance during week two, I listed 20+ things I enjoyed doing, and then committed to doing a couple of the activities that I hadn’t done in a long while (read a good novel and meandered through a museum). I also enjoyed listing 10 tiny changes I dream of making, and committed to doing at least one of those during week two (1. arranged to display my art in a local retail space for the holiday; and 2. ten “girls push ups” each day).
My favorite task for week three was to identify habits that might interfere with self-nurturing and could cause shame.
It didn’t take long to realize that I have a self-destructive, unconscious habit of indulging in angry resentful thoughts about my ex-husband, even though I am very happy with my second husband and the new life we’ve created together. I have already devoted at least 3 days of morning pages to exploring why I chose to entertain such negative thoughts. Then I committed to catching myself mid-thought and replacing those thoughts with the image of me hugging my inner child. Now on day 7 of this new healthy habit, I can see how this simple act has the potential of busting my blocked creativity wide open.
Now I’m excited to see what week 4 will teach me.
I would deeply appreciate if you would follow along as I chronicle my journey through The Artist’s Way. Knowing that someone in the world (you!) is witnessing what I’m up to will propel me forward as I move deeper into the process.
Want to join me on The Artist’s Way? I would truly love to travel this road alongside you.
Have you already taken this road before me? Please share in the comments, either here or on Instagram, how this process supported your creative healing and opening.