WEEK TEN – RECOVERING A SENSE OF SELF-PROTECTION

QUICK NOTE: In respect and honor of Julia Cameron’s work, I will not be providing a full report or deep dive into the text. I’ll be sharing a light summary and one or two of the week’s activity list. To hear my thoughts and insights, listen to the pod!

DANGERS OF THE TRAIL

We begin to sense our real potential and the wide range of possibilities open to us. That scares us. So we all reach for blocks to slow our growth.

There are so many ways that any individual can block themselves from their creative flow. For some it could be food – over pilling on carbs or sugars making them feel dizzy or blurred. For others it could be alcohol, painful memories, sex, or obsessive tendencies.

When looking at each of these things, none of them are inherently bad, but it’s when we abuse them that they become blocks to our creativity. Overindulgence is a way for us to block abundance and tell Source to turn away from us.

And we do it to let the fear subside within us. We turn to our choice of block whenever the feeling of unfulfillment rises. It’s a way for us to escape and avoid doing the work. Instead, try to look at ways that you can use the uncomfortable feelings into your work – channeling it through – and let it form into something anew that helps you continue walking forward into your inner practice.

WORKAHOLISM

Workaholism is a block, not a building block.

The following is directly quoted from the text.

The Workaholism Quiz

  1. I work outside of office hours: seldom, often, never?
  2. I cancel dates with loved ones to do more work: seldom, often, never?
  3. I postpone outings until the deadline is over: seldom, often, never?
  4. I take work with me on weekends: seldom, often, never?
  5. I take work with me on vacations: seldom, often, never?
  6. I take vacations: seldom, often, never?
  7. My intimates complain I always work: seldom, often, never?
  8. I try to do two things at once: seldom, often, never?
  9. I allow myself free time between projects: seldom, often, never?
  10. I allow myself to achieve closure on tasks: seldom, often, never?
  11. I procrastinate in finishing up the last loose ends: seldom, often, never?
  12. I set out to do one job and start on three more at the same time: seldom, often, never?
  13. I work in the evenings during family time: seldom, often, never?
  14. I allow calls to interrupt – and lengthen – my work day: seldom, often, never?
  15. I prioritize my day to include an hour of creative work/play: seldom, often, never?
  16. I place my creative dreams before my work: seldom, often, never?
  17. I fall in with others’ plans and fill my free time with their agenda: seldom, often, never?
  18. I allow myself downtime to do nothing: seldom, often, never?
  19. I use the word deadline to describe and rationalize my workload: seldom, often, never?
  20. Going somewhere, even to dinner, with a notebook or my work numbers is something I do: seldom, often, never?

DROUGHT

Droughts tell us that they will last forever – and that we will not.

No matter how we live our lives, there will always be experiences of drought. Sometimes these are abundant opportunities to give back to ourselves, but if we don’t have a unified practice, they can drive us to a scarcity mindset.

Showing up to our practice, like to our morning pages, can be really hard and tricky – because we simply don’t want to. Showing up to ourselves seems like a great feat that we can’t face. And what is happening is that we are fighting with our Great Creator – we are fighting with Source.

Droughts can be painful and terrible experiences. But the only way to get through it is to move through it. They often arise when we are between two dreams and we are lost as to find the next step in our journey. But droughts are a necessity. They bring us clarity and purpose.

So even when you show up to your pages, and nothing comes through, continue to show up. Continue to practice. Continue to believe. And the messages you need to keep going will arise. Inspired action will be by your side.

FAME

Treating yourself like a precious object will make you strong.

The desire to have fame, or recognition is counterproductive to feeling fulfilled and sustained in your work. Instead of looking at the success of the work in your own terms, you evaluate and judge yourself based on how you believe others perceive it. Your art is no longer your art, it’s now about being publically appreciated based on society’s ideals.

To oppose this impulse, getting lost in comparison culture, look instead to how you feel about your art. Write yourself your own fan letters and shower yourself with the love that you seek. It’s not about how they see your art, it’s about you feel creating it.

COMPETITION

The spirit of competition – as opposed to the spirit of creation – often urges us to quickly winnow out whatever doesn’t seem like a winning idea. This can be very dangerous. It can interfere with our ability to carry a project to term.

When we live with fear, seeing someone else that we know go farther, faster towards their dream compared to you – that can unravel us to believe that that they have succeeded instead of ourselves. As if it is a matter of them or us. We spend our time wondering why they got the lucky break and what we have done wrong. Which can lead us down a spiral into asking if it’s even worth it and whether or not we should just give up.

But that’s a distraction from the actual questions we should be asking ourselves, such as:

  • Did I work on my art today?
  • Did I make that deadline so I could take that great leap?
  • Did I share my work with others and continue to get it known in my community?

Comparing and contrasting is useful for critics, but as creative beings it does no good for our practice. Competing with others keeps us away from our alignment and what truly fulfills us. Needing to win or supersede those you compare yourself to is another form of getting others approval. But the only acceptance you need is from yourself.

TASK

Touchstones: Make a list of tangible things you love. Post it somewhere you can always see and turn to when you need console and reminders that it’s all going to work out.