WEEK TWO – RECOVERING A SENSE OF IDENTITY
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!
You can buy the book, here, and while doing so support small business bookstores. What a win!
“Just as a recovering alcoholic must avoid the first drink the recovering artist must avoid taking the first think.”
From the get-go, Julia Cameron dives right into the necessity of shifting out perspectives. If we want to fully recover our creative selves, we must not only find how to let go of “the muck that has blocked us,” but also start recognizing the way we internalize and allow ourselves to repetitively attack who we our with doubt. She calls these self-attacks, which is when we immediately turn whatever we appreciated doing into a doubt of continuing forward and being good enough in the future. There is no merit to self-attacks, it’s something we’ve learned to do, especially as shadow artists, to hold ourselves back from merging onward.
The antidote to self-attacks, or expressed self-hate, is the practice of affirmations. Julia Cameron encourages us to do this work in our morning pages. If we are in a stream of flow when we attend to our pages, it will be easy for us to produce these self-attacks on the page. This process of flow allows us to see how we treat ourselves in real time and correct the self-hate expressed.
“Through self-nurturance we nurture our inner connection to the Great Creator. Through this connection our creativity will unfold.”
Julia Cameron warns us to be cautious of those we surround ourselves with and share our journey in recovering our creativity. She says it’s not uncommon that as blocked artists, we would likely have those around who were also blocked. And this is what she refers to when she calls them poisonous playmates.
She’s seen time and time again where jealousy comes out of blocked friends and instead of rising you up, the often tear you down. They will express their limiting beliefs, perhaps be disturbed, and may express that you’ve become selfish or that you seem different. This usually tends to be a gateway for those who do become poisonous.
Poisonous playmates encourage you to continue to dedicate your time to others instead of yourself. And to recover your creativity you must give your time to you. Otherwise, the goodness we thought we were contributing by focusing on others will only lead to frustration and can even turn us into a poisonous playmate.
Allow yourself to nurture, to walk away from self-harm, and dedicate the time you need to become fully you. As you do this, you’ll be deepening your relationship and general trust with your Great Creator. And it will become easier to do your art rather than find another reason to not do it. You will be following joy.
“Whether they appear as your overbearing mother, your manic boss, your needy friend, or your stubborn spouse, the crazymakers in your life share certain destructive patterns that make them poisonous for any sustained creative work.”
Crazymakers are a step above from poisonous playmates. Instead of simply discouraging you, they will create drama and demand your time. They do their best to dominate your life and keep your attention on helping them. Crazymakers are very destructive and will get in your way of recovery.
The thing is, with crazymakers, we follow their orders and allow their dominance because we want them to do the work of preventing you from recovery. By spending time with crazymakers, we are also being self-destructive. “As blocked creatives, we are willing to go to almost any lengths to remain blocked.”
Quoted examples of crazymakers from the text.
- “Crazymakers break deals and destroy schedules.”
- “Crazymakers expect special treatment.”
- “Crazymakers discount your reality.”
- “Crazymakers spend your time and money.”
- “Crazymakers triangulate those they deal with.”
- “Crazymakers are expert blamers.”
- “Crazymakers create dramas – but seldom where they belong.”
- “Crazymakers hate schedules – except their own.”
- “Crazymakers hate order.”
- “Crazymakers deny that they are crazymakers.”
“More than anything else, creative recovery is an exercise in open-mindedness.”
Julia Cameron refers to the skepticism we hold of being able to better our lives through this process is just another way we’ve allowed ourselves to self-invalidate. She actually calls this the secret doubt. To take back your power and follow this recovery, we must let our thoughts of skepticism rush right pass us and let it drift off.
Often, when self-skepticism approaches, we grab hold of it and put it somewhere safe for later when we might need it. That’s how they are able to wash over us at times, because this is something we’ll do unconsciously. If we want to combat this, then we must not only let skepticism pass us by, but we also need to shift our beliefs to where skepticism has no merit.
The creative recovery is a continued practice of being open, in all of our trifecta, but especially the mind. The mind is where our greatest tricks are held. Instead of leaving your door open for skepticism, open a different door and nudge little by little that door to stay open to new positive beliefs for your mind to take hold.
“Survival lies in sanity, and sanity lies in paying attention.”
There is a difference between paying attention to your life with the gifts that are in it, and living in a daydream where only the things that get done are a fantasy. To live the life of an artist, we must have intent and be in the present. It’s useful to ideate and find what it is that you want for your future – it’s another thing to stay in those thoughts and watch your life pass you by. To survive in a creative life, one must pay attention and be present. Only then will we be able to heal, evolve, and be fully delighted by what life has brought us.
Remember, we want to be practicing the morning pages and artist dates.
Determine where your time goes. Make a list of your major activities for the week. Look at how much time was actually spent on them. Did a poisonous playmate or crazymaker get in the way and take time from this activity? Did you pay attention? Did skepticism get in the way?
Draw a circle and place the topics you need to protect. Then place those that are supportive inside the circle, as well. Once you done that, list all the names that cannot be supportive in this time on the outside of the circle. Keep this circle with you and reflect on it as a source for your autonomy.
And with that my friend, is the end of week one. Thank you so much for joining us and we can’t wait til next week!
Remember, you can buy the book, here. And the podcast episodes are dropped every Friday.
No pressure, friends! After all, we’re trying to be better.