Finding Water Week 5
Uncovering a Sense of Autonomy
Essential to any creative unfolding is a sense of self-directions. We are the “origin” in “original.” The tasks of this week will help you to specify exactly who and where you are, locating the powerful currents that trace through your life. Listing you loves will allow you to move closer to them. Listing your fears will allow you to move beyond them. God lives in the details, the concrete, knowable facts of your life. As you explore you psyche and its place in you environment, your compass will becomes ever more accurate in pointing you true north.
Love the opportunity these two words give, “Self-Direction.”
Quote- Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Mahatma Gandhi.
The Doctors Advice
Julia Cameron noticed when she wasn’t writing and had to be somewhere else say a doctor’s appointment she would experience moments of frustration or I call it “Hissy Fits” She said whenever I am not writing enough, I feel overwhelmed. And appointments like the one I was keeping takes large nasty bites out of the time I have earmarked for writing. The doctor sense her frustration, suggest she go away to a cabin of sorts…and she replied with No I want to write about exactly where I was planted, in the rich soil of a bustling metropolis. I wanted to write, period. I had a lust to simply lay some track, to put some words to my experience, to try to achieve an optimistic balance by putting things onto the page.
Julia added, my daily quota of three pages felt skimpy. I was just enough to keep me grounded, but barely. The rest of my life seemed suddenly to be wildly out of whack and I know from experience that if I could just write through it steadily enough, life would calm back down.
Personal Note: When I read this my thoughts are Yes I know just what she’s feeling and how well it works when I’m able to use my creative collaging, art making or hanging out in the studio to get through whatever it is that is overwhelming me…I found what works to help me stay emotional sober…and Mindful. And when I can’t get there to do it, or use it to work through….I’m an angry frustrated mess, like a kid who’s not getting there way- kind of mess. From a very young age I found the process of going to my special place of creating with my hands worked so well when not able to is when all hell would break loose mentally.
Keep the drama on the page, is what JC lectures to herself and her students. There are time when the drama of others life’s seem to spill over on to our own. Be aware of this. Trying to find your calmness while it spills over, it’s hard to listen to their phone messages, listening to the endless variety of things that can be put before work. JC- says before “work” but what I mean is before emotional sobriety, the simple grid of a positive life lived one day at a time. Such a life must be free of frenzy, free of the frantic rushing here and there that cannibalizes tranquility. To be emotional sober, I must set my own gentle pace. I try to do that but lately I have felt jostled and pressed. The “world “has been too much with me.
Personal note: This artist way book, Finding water, Julia has written many books she has a career established and is good at it. What I totally understand is what she describes in that paragraph above. To share this kind of stuff with the others of sorts you look like a crazy person…or a bit too much for them to listen to and handle and no wonder people are on so many drugs…no really I know some are needed but the ups and downs the frustration of know what will help and what you need to do….these moments come at the odds time, when I’m able to take action on it, there wonderful moments. But when I can I get it what she’s talking about. Two things…staying emotional sober in your thoughts, even though there is drama all around you and keeping your life simple enough that you can tend to what is most important in your own life.
JC writes- Yesterday I went to dinner with a fancy lady writer, and she advised me at some length of the many things in the city of which I really ought to be availing myself. “When would I find time to write?” I caught myself thinking. There are many things that give me pleasure as the joy of making something. No, for me I must cling to my grid and keep things very, very simple. I tell myself this almost as a mantra. Despite myself, despite all that I “know,” I feel myself spiraling into drama and despair.” “Just keep it simple,” I tell myself daily in my Morning Pages, Go to the keys, go to the typewriter, go to the easel. Go for a walk. Edge forward a little. Guard yourself against Despair.
Personal note: My manta has been stay focused and stays grounded. How do you share about this to others…this is the behind the scenes stuff going on in my head….not because Julia Cameron wrote this and I’m reading it and thinking Oh I’m that too. No this stuff really goes on. I use the tools to get though…as keeping my drama at bay or taming it to the watercolor paper and tacking some papers down to it….being able to spill out and keep it there is so awesome. I have tons of “Emotional Tracks” left behind, pieces of my Artwork, reactions or by products to my emotional state. As I reread this sound kind of despite but it’s not, my emotional state as a very full spectrum to explore, like color.
Quote- Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health. Carl Jung
When you begin to slide into despair, it is because you have lost your sense of grounding. Therefore, the tool to apply is one of gentle well-being. Put simply, your need is to count your blessings. Gratitude is a homely but effective antidote to despair. Number 1-25, Begin with big things. Grief and loss come to all of us but gratitude lists help us to keep things in proportion. The half empty glass is actually half full. It is all a matter of perception.
Human life begins on the far side of despair. Jean-Paul Sartre
Change is not made without inconvenience, eve from worse to better- Samuel Johnson
JC in this section has shared about her moment, and how she uses what she knows can help her work off the edge of the rim of the glass, as of talking about the days newly sober and how she made it through. She had to become willing to work through it. Small steps…phone calls etc. She shares about writing something small and something centered in the day that she was in. Staying in the Now, and asks herself what is it that has her so frightened. Julia had latched on to the string of despair and was being dragged along, and taken on someone else drama which could feel like being in the Abyss I could imagine.
Personal note: Some may or may relate to this in regular life moments were we circle or feel so overwhelmed that we don’t know if it will ever stop or how we will get out of it. Our emotional state that is.
Divining Rod Task work- When large fears overrun us, we must turn to tiny yet revolutionary actions. When the chips are down it’s time to rent a comedy. Invite some humor in. Knowing that the abyss that you feel you’re in will pass. It is not time to get serious about becoming a better person. You are already a fine person; you have just lost the perspective that tells you so! Sound like it’s time to step back out of the picture and add some grace and space so you can see better about your life.
Going back to Basics
Julia Cameron has shared her despair or the emotional bender of terror she just went through. From my understanding she knows what to do but still needs help from friends. Taking some sound advice she goes back to the sane and steadiness, and knows enough to be gentle with herself. All this is a perspective adjustment from my gathering. Going back to basics doesn’t mean we invite more drama in can’t afford that. Going to daily habits, like a few simple things and keep doing them. Morning pages, artist dates and walking. The picking up of the first doubt and allowing it to slip in lead to a downward spiral of her own deep despair. “When one is on an emotional binge the anxiety is like a drink. Your system is drunk with anxiety. You need to do tiny things to move yourself back from the chasm” As basic as this sounds, wash your hair, clean your room, fold clothes, and straighten sheets. Do concrete actions in the life that I actually have not in the terrible life that I imagine as coming toward me, she shares. So what are the facts? Facts, unlike fears, are sober.
Divining Rod Task work- Sticking to our grid of positive actions adds to our shaky self-esteem. There is power to be found in perseverance. “Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle” Write a letter to God, and be humble and ask for help. Asking God to meet us exactly where we are, we are practicing compassion towards ourselves. Compassion like humor begins our healing.
Focusing on the Positive
In times of despair it is said that we cut ourselves off from our higher source, god, and good orderly directions. God is in the details, the concrete facts of our lives.
Divining Rod Task work-When joy is elusive; we must actively seek it out. List 50 things you love. Use this list as a resource list; plan a week in which you allow yourself to be near what you love. As you list will quickly show you, there are many small ways in which we can fill our lives with those things that bring us happiness.
The Bagel Scrap
When we have an obsessive fear, we hold on to it like Julia’s dog Tiger Lily and her bagel..not letting go of it for nothing. It is a question of being open-minded, but when our mind is trained on the bagel scrap, nothing can help us. This is when we must learn to let go and let God. How do we do that?
Tiny things catch our attention and tiny changes begin to happen along our neural pathways. We have something to chew over besides our bagel. In a moment of distraction, we drop the scrap.
What happens when we drop the scrap? We may have a moment of free-floating panic. We may dive wildly to our feel looking for another scrap to hold on to. Freedom is disorienting. What do we do when we have so many choices? This is when the walk helps.
So much of being sane and happy begins with the doing of things that are sane and happy. This means that we must train ourselves to think small rather than large. Walking is a potent form of prayer. “Guide me, Show me,” we pray as we walk, and as we walk we are guided and we are shown.
We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are. The Talmud.
Divining Rod Task work- Take a walk at a different time than normal. By venturing out at an odd time you will experience a more vivid focus. You are being urged to experience yourself as a character. Your thoughts and perceptions are interesting. What do you notice that is new and interesting to you in our habitual habitat?
Slipped in an Artist Dates yesterday to an Antiquity shop....so full of objects I was on over load at the end of the date. Found some great old photos's to use in my Collage and Assemblage boxes for the class coming up.
My walks this week have been a great source of comfort and meditation.