The Artist’s Way: Week 5

6 Nov

Chapter six, Recovering a Sense of Possibility, was all about learning what we want and how we limit ourselves.  I found it the most interesting and approachable chapter thus far.

The Basics

Morning Pages: 7/7

Artist’s Date: Super hard this week; I could not relax and I did not feel terribly creative.  I finally just watched Battlestar Galactica in the bath.  It was more passive than creative, but it was some nice, quiet time with myself.

Tasks: This week I did the majority of the tasks.  I love making lists and this week was all about lists designed to give me a little insight into what I want and what I can do.

  • 5 Things I Would Do If It Weren’t Too Crazy
  • 5 Things I Would Do If It Weren’t Too Selfish
  • 10 Things I Love That I Am Not Allowed To Do
  • 19 Wishes
  • 5 Grievances I Have With God
  • 5 Things My Wealth, 65-year-old Self Will Do
  • 10 Ways I Am Mean To Myself
  • 10 Items I Would Like To Own

Affirmations

  • I can do this.
  • Progress, not perfection.
  • I am focused and disciplined.
  • I have a beautiful, healthy body.
  • I deserve the wealth of the universe; I return it with joy and enthusiasm.

What I Learned

I’m starting to see that my problems are very basic in nature: Fear of deviating from that core story poverty mentality is huge for me.  I still see life as a zero-sum game, so if I have something good now, that means I can’t have it later.  Next week we work on recovering a sense of abundance, something I think will be very helpful for me.

* * *

I found it illuminating to look at the things I don’t do out of fear of selfishness.  Are these things really selfish?  What does it mean to be selfish?

If it weren’t too selfish, I would…

  1. Get the hell out of Spokane today.
  2. Buy nice clothes.
  3. Resume my annual trip to my favorite music festival.
  4. Let go of the friends who rarely put effort into our friendship.
  5. Spend more time, money, and attention on my appearance.

What are your selfish desires?

Seeds Planted #8

5 Nov

Future oak trees“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

I still find this exercise difficult: I end every week wondering just what I did that might help me move forward.  It’s hard to remember that seeds are often tiny things; hopefully they’ll grow into something healthy (and impressive), but right now they are so small as to be almost negligible.  However, I do this exercise every week because I don’t want to underestimate the power of small things, or small actions.

  1. I used Facebook to start some great conversations about faith.  My brother is creating his own brand of spirituality and it’s inspiring; I have a lot to learn from him.  One of my cousins converted from Catholicism to Evangelical Christianity, and I’m enjoying learning about her beliefs and the way they’ve changed.
  2. I’m getting sick, so I’m exhausted.  Instead of pushing myself to do all those things I “should” be doing, as would be typical for me, I’m actually going to be early and taking care of myself.  (Hence the recent lack of blog posts.)  Going to bed earlier is such a small thing, but it’s evidence of a big shift in my priorities.
  3. I showed my roommate some appreciation.  She deserves it.
  4. Two weeks ago I started the practice of a “responsibility date” as a response to the “artist’s dates” advocated by The Artist’s Way.  It’s a way for me to accomplish those nagging tasks I neglect without turning it into a daily ordeal of procrastination and disappointment.  They are wonderful.

* * *

What tiny, insignificant things have a huge potential in your life?

How Do You Wish To Nourish Yourself?

2 Nov
Photo credit: colon+right.bracket @ Flickr

Photo credit: colon+right.bracket @ Flickr

Wishcasting Wednesday: How do you wish to nourish yourself?

I wish to nourish myself by exploring my faith.  I’m not sure what this means yet, but I want faith to become a bigger part of my life.  I would like to have faith in myself, faith in my friends and family, and faith in something larger that brings us all together.

Faith, or a lack thereof, has been a part of my core story all my life, but it’s always been ephemeral, never clearly defined.  Maybe that’s just the nature of faith, but I am hoping that I will learn where it fits into my new core story and how to let it nourish me.

* * *

What do you do to nourish your faith?  Or, how does your faith nourish you?

Core Story: Religion

1 Nov

St. John's Cathedral, Spokane, WARecently I’ve been thinking about how faith has shaped my core story.

I grew up Catholic, but around the age of nine, I began questioning that and soon rejected it on feminist grounds.  (Seriously.)  In high school I began to do some reading on Wicca and paganism, which had an appeal, but a lot of what I was reading was historically and scientifically inaccurate, so that didn’t take either.

Later I identified as an atheist, but I’m not.  I might not believe in the Judeo-Christian god, and I might have problems with the idea of a variety of rather specific gods and goddesses to choose from, but I do have faith that there is something larger than myself, and something worth a bit of reverence.

Last year I tried going to Quaker meeting (the unprogrammed version) and I enjoyed it.  It was an hour each week to sit in contemplative silence, giving attention to faith and waiting for something to speak to me.  I’ll probably continue that in the future, but it’s not a practical choice for me here in Spokane.  It allowed for me to be agnostic, but still actively interested, which I appreciated.  (Several members of that particular meeting were Christ focused, but no one felt moved to evangelize.)

Looking back, faith has always been a part of my core story.  I remember having endless discussions with my more devout friends, and even going to church with them purely out of (respectful) curiosity.  It’s always been an interest and right now it’s an interest I would like to pursue.  I don’t need answers, but I would like to have room for both faith and doubt in my life.  I would like to find a way to satisfy my appreciation of science and fact while still giving attention to my faith in the as yet unknown.

* * *

If you’re comfortable, please tell me about your faith or lack thereof.  I am always very interested in how people feel about this subject, so I would love to hear your thoughts.  Also, if you have any relevant books (besides obvious choices such as the Bible) that made an impression on you, I would appreciate the recommendation.

Hello Universe: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!

31 Oct

I’m going to break from my usual formula this week because I know exactly what I want to do.  I want to dance along to the theme from Rocky Horror every day this week.  I went to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show Saturday night and I had fun.  I want to have more fun.

 

Four minutes a day for the next seven days.  It certainly fits in with last week’s attempt at joyful movement.  Let’s see what happens.

* * *

I highly encourage you to join in.  Dance along at least once — even if you’re wearing ridiculously high heels on a slippery theater floor.

The Artist’s Way: Chapter Four

30 Oct

I spent this week trying to recover a sense of integrity, or trying to discover what genuinely interests me.  The exercises seemed geared toward moving past my assumptions so I could be aware of desires that I’ve ignored.  I’m always ready to move on the next chapter at the end of the week, but it’s also typical for me to feel like I’ve only just begun the work I need to do.  Progress, not perfection; I can always come back and do more.

I did a few of the exercises, including the one asking me to write about my ideal environment.  I also spent some time thinking about where I’m stuck and what possible benefit there could be in staying stuck.  I still feel stuck at my job.  I just do not make enough money there and I can’t see the benefit to leaving myself stuck, even if that job does have its good points and even if it’s only for another five months.  I have to try to improve.

I’m still enjoying the morning pages and doing them every day.  I find them to be an excellent tool for helping me learn what I’m really thinking and what I really want.  Writing 750 words means that I do get past the surface thought patterns and eventually see what else is there, beneath the layers of habit and reflex.  I do learn things from the simple act of writing my thoughts down.

* * *

The question I found most challenging this week: What are five skills that you think it would be fun to have?

Seeds Planted #7

29 Oct

Autumn in Spokane“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

The weekly reminder that I can and do make an effort to progress every week, no matter how frustrated I feel.

  1. I wrote three blog posts for my new skiing project.  (This one surprised me — I felt like I’d been procrastinating on that project, but instead I made some progress.)
  2. I’m still paying attention to my emotions.  It’s getting easier.
  3. I spent a little quality time with my roommate.  We just drove into Coeur d’Alene and had dinner, but it was nice.
  4. I feel like I’m starting to make a friend at work and that I’m becoming a little friendlier with everyone I work with in general.
  5. I found a theme for 2012.  That was completely unexpected; I wasn’t thinking about next year at all, but I think I’ll really enjoy my return to childhood.

I also saw some results from last week — I had a response to one of my job applications!  I expect to hear more details next week.

* * *

Honestly, it’s been a frustrating week.  Before I found the Stevenson quote I’d never considered measuring my progress with anything but results; I appreciate the reminder that my effort is worthwhile.