SUNDAY NIGHTS have a new routine for me – we usually have a hearty soup and fresh bread, then I retreat to my desk and work on the next chapter of The Artist’s Way, ‘a course in discovering and recovering your creative self”.
Author Julia Cameron suggests taking an hour or so to read the next week’s chapter of this 12 week course then speed-write through the exercises on the week’s theme.
There are also suggested weekly tasks – she recommends selecting around half, based on ‘those that appeal to you and those you strongly resist’ – where there is most resistance, there may be most growth.
This week is about going deeper into what blocks the expression of creativity, into owning the most self-sabotaging parts of ourselves. The week’s tasks include ‘The Deadlies’, which involve looking at seven areas which may be good or neutral in themselves, but which may be used or abused, consciously or unconsciously, to dull pain, avoid facing fears or hold ourselves back and block our creative self-expression.
The idea is to take seven strips of paper and write a theme on each one as follows:
Then place all seven strips in an envelope, randomly select one and write five ways in which we use that topic to block our creativity or prevent ourselves from fulfilling our potential.
Then return the paper to the envelope and repeat the exercise seven times, selecting from all seven topics each time. If a topic seems irrelevant, or it is drawn more than once, it may reveal some resistance to looking at blocks in this area.
I did the exercise and randomly drew: Alcohol, Work, Food, Work, Food, Drugs, Work – sounds like a typical day!
Seriously, though, it did lead me to reflect on areas where I need to exercise greater self-care, especially around food (always a big issue for me; so-called ‘comfort eating’ which is no comfort at all) and workaholism (too busy to care for myself, for significant relationships, and to prioritise my creativity because it seems ‘selfish’ when in fact it gives me hope and energy to be better at everything else I do for others).