They say that God works in mysterious ways. Now, perhaps you don’t believe in God, but I’m sure that even if you don’t, you admit that sometimes, this world syncs things up in very interesting ways.
I find it very funny that chapter 5 of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is all about accepting possibility, generosity, and positivity in one’s life – accepting that, “Yes, I may succeed in life” instead of always listening to one’s Inner Editor. [Wordpress says positivity is not a word. Oh well!]
Just this past month I visited California. I got a lot of things in my life resolved. It was a huge relief. I had previously experienced a sortof Sound of Music torment between serving a very wonderful lady mentor, or choosing a relationship with my current partner. Even after having chosen to be with him, I still felt conflict over having left the full-time service of this particular spiritual teacher.
Here is a picture of her:
As you can see, she is an extremely sweet person. Very wise, full of empathy and compassion, very strong and bold and beautiful. It was hard to decide to be less close to her. But I did so, yet even after “deciding”, I experienced conflict.
Now that all came to a conclusion recently in California…I made new friends, I bettered important relationships to me, and I figured out the mood that I want to take when things are difficult in life. I want to be bold, I want to be positive, I want to understand that sometimes being strong means asking for help (T.E.A.M – Together Everyone Achieves More!), I want to be giving, but understand that I need self-care and time alone, too. It’s basically balance. I feel I achieved a glimpse of a future in my life where I am balanced.
And this was what chapter 5 of The Artist’s Way was all about.
THE UNLIMITED BANK ACCOUNT
To know that God is protecting us is to know no fear. To know that we have an ever-expanding, blooming, flowing well of creativity at our command is soothing. In chapter 5, Cameron talks about how the shift to spiritual, or to believing in an ongoing and unbreakable power (within and without of ourselves), great stuff happens:
We find we are able to tell more of our truth, hear more of other people’s truth, and encompass a far more kindly attitude toward both.- Julia Cameron
The more that we listen to our artist’s child within, Cameron says, the safer it feels. We discover our truths. We discover what in the world resounds so deeply within us that we simply must write about it. We discover why we must write about these things. We find out how to do this.
This is what this entire blog is about. Find your truth, find out how to write about it, and then write it.
For me, the struggle is in how to write it, and finding out the truths. I thought that I had what I wanted to write about, what my truths are, all figured out. But then I started revising my fantasy novel, a book which is very beloved to me and which I’ve been working on for a very long time. I came up against challenges that made me feel almost like abandoning the novel altogether – still do, sometimes – and had to ask myself: Why?
Why do I need to write this story?
This is my quest this upcoming week. I outlined half the book; I realized I need to know the end, and to know the end, I must know every bit of my villains’ minds and hearts. Beyond all that, deeper and deeper I dug, and found out, I must know why I write about this, and what things I’m actually writing about in this novel.
Back to generosity and the unlimited bank account…all of the above tasks around my novel are challenging. In order to continue forward, I must continue with the mood of positive loving kindness towards myself, with the mood of hope.
It’s the only way I can keep on going.
CATCHING THE BUS
One point Cameron makes in this chapter is how often writers dawdle and say that doing nothing is doing something. Yes, indeed it helps us to daydream and plan out our novels. But then you reach a point where you have to act. Acting is scary. It’s so easy and tempting to not act. But if you believe in that unlimited bank account, that hope, that generosity of the universe or God…then you can reach out. Stop running. Catch that bus!
Cameron calls all of this “the virtue trap”, where we make excuses for not writing, saying we have to spend time with family, golf with our coworkers, etc. Some exercises she offered at the end of this chapter are:
- Make an ongoing collage of your dreams – financial dreams, house design dreams, sports dreams, travel dreams. Feed it. Let the positive hope and wishing flow. Let one of those wishes come true. Try new things.
- Write a list or make a collage of what you would do if you were 20 and had money. Think of the possibilities. Buy something interesting!
- Cartoon yourself indulging in your favorite writing procrastination activity (Netflix, etc.)
- What is your payoff for staying blocked? More time to laze on the couch? More time to daydream and not face how hard it is to be a writer?
Please note that I’ve slightly modified the above list to put it into my own words, and to make it apply specifically to writers. The entire list can be found in any copy of The Artist’s Way.
The Artist’s Way Blog Posts so far:
What’s your favorite writing procrastination activity? How do you remind yourself of hope and generosity that the world gives to you and your writing?
Until next time,