By now you should know that I’m going to ask you about:
Hopefully you’re making some of these habits.
Today we begin Week 4 in The Artist’s Way: Recovering a Sense of Integrity. (Italics indicate quotes directly from the book).
This week may find you grappling with changing self-definition. The essays, tasks, and exercises are designed to catapult you into productive introspection and integration of new self-awareness. This may be both very difficult and extremely exciting for you. Warning: Do not skip the tool of reading deprivation.
1) Honest Changes and Affirmations.
We tell ourselves “We can’t” all the times. It becomes a block. It becomes an excuse. This week we will break down that block and change those excuses into affirmations.
This week you need to use your morning pages — or part of them — for writing affirmations.
“put it in writing,” we often say when making a deal. There is a special power in writing out the deal we are making with the universe. “I receive your good willingly” and “Thy will be done” are two short affirmations that when written in the morning remind us to be open to increased good during the day.
“I trust my perceptions” is another powerful affirmation to use as we undergo shifts in identity. “A stronger and clearer me is emerging.”
Choose affirmations according to your need. As you excavate your buried dreams, you need the assurance that such explorations are permissible: “I recover and enjoy my identity.”
Choose your own affirmation as is appropriate. Remember to keep the language positive and no “can’ts.” An affirmation does not look like this:
“I can’t write today.”
“I can’t stay at this abusive job.”
“I can’t rescue a sister who needs to save herself.”
“I will allow myself to write today”
“I will open myself up to new possibilities in my life.”
“I am supportive and loving to those in my life.”
You will also say them to yourself — out loud — as often as you can remember. (My technique is each time I have to visit the facilities, I take a look in the bathroom and say my affirmation.)
BURIED DREAMS, AN EXERCISE
As recovering creatives, we often have to excavate our own pasts for the shards of buried dreams and delights. Do a little digging, please. Be fast and frivolous. This is an exercise in spontaneity, so be sure to write your answers out quickly. Speed kills the censor.
1. List five hobbies that sound fun.
2. List five classes that sound fun
3. List five things you personally would never do that sound fun.
4. List five skills that would be fun to have.
5. List five things you used to enjoy doing.
6. List five silly things you would like to try once.
As you may have gathered by this point in your work, we will approach certain problems from many different angles, all of them aimed at eliciting more information from your unconscious about what you might consciously enjoy. The exercise that follows will teach you enormous amounts about yourself — as well as giving you some free time in which to pursue the interests you just listed.
If you feel stuck in your life or in your art, few jump starts are more effective than a week of reading deprivation.
No reading? That’s right: no reading. For most artists, words are like tiny tranquilizers. We have a daily quota of media chat that we swallow up. Like greasy food, it clogs our system. Too much of it and we feel, yes, fried.
Don’t know what to do instead of reading? Here goes:
Listen to music, knit, work out, make curtains, cook, meditate, wash the dog, fix the bike, have a friend to dinner, sort closets, water color, pay bills, rewire the lamp, get the stereo working, write old friends, paint the bedroom, sort bookshelves (a dangerous one), repot some plants, rearrange the kitchen, go dancing, mend.
Don’t read. If you can’t think of anything else to do, cha-cha.
And Now Your Moment of Writing Zen:
“When the soul wishes to experience something she throws an image of the experience out before her and enters into her own image.” ~ Meister Eckhart.