Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Artist's Way - Week Five!

in which we try to reconnect with a Sense of Possiblity by examining the attitudes and ideas we have about the nature of God the Creator and also by examining what Julia calls Virtue Traps we build around ourselves. Maybe the subtitle of this chapter should be Remember When You Weren't Everything to Everybody? Or, How I learned to let go and let others make their own peanut butter sandwiches. Or something like that. Tasks were all about lists of ten: ways I am mean to myself (I had a HARD time with this one - I am pretty kind to myself as a rule), ten items I would like to own (surprise! I want a VW camper van!!). If I were 20 and had money, what would I do? If I were 65 and same, what then? A lot of what-if'ing and idle dreaming and I am pretty darn good at that.

The Virtue Trap stuff rang dishearteningly true. As I look back over my adult life, I realize that I've gradually surrendered every second of solitude I once treasured. I was a weird kid, I freely admit, and I liked being alone. Not all the time, but I was, as my mother was delighted to find out, totally content with my own company. Once I got married, I still had some alone time, because we worked different shifts a lot. Once the first child came along, it got a little harder, but I was still in college, so I had the class/commute time. Out of school, with baby #2, it got even more scarce and somewhere just disappeared completely. Last summer, I found myself on a Saturday all alone - kids off with friends, husband working. And I had no freaking idea what to do! I had completely forgotten how to be by myself. So, I took the dog to town. Literally. Pet Smart and two dog parks! A big day for her. What I realized from this chapter is that I need that alone time.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Artist's Way - Weeks 3 and 4

Up to date, I'm not. The good news is that I'm busy doing the stuff, so I don't have time to blog about it. And to be fair, week four was media deprivation week, so technically I wasn't allowed to blog about it.

Take that, Bembridge scholars.

Week Three was all about recovering a sense of power. How one recovers something one has never had is a conundrum I could not solve, but whatevs. Most of the tasks involved remembering favorite things from childhood - toys, games, friends, etc., and remembering things you liked about yourself as a child. I was ridiculously curious about things and I had an active imagination. I liked to read Greek mythology and play pretend Olympus, watch the Wild Wild West on tv and play that with my friend Ian in the wilds of our California neighborhood. Another task was to list 3 subtle foes of my creativity and how I sabotage myself by allowing them to control my time. This is where I discovered the Seat of Sloth that calls my name every night after dinner and, truthfully, sometimes before. I tend to gravitate towards it after the day's work and open a book. Sometimes I read it, sometimes I look at the back of my eyelids. So, that's a place to beware. Nothing wrong with sitting, reading OR napping, but it's hard to be creative there. I do assume some unusual positions when I nap, so there's my creative expression.

Week Four was designed to recover a sense of integrity. What this has to do with reading/media deprivation, I do not know, but I am proud to say that I did not read a book, magazine, newspaper or pamphlet for the entire week. I also severely limited my internet usage. Only work sites allowed! No Facebook! No Elvis! No soccer news! I did allow myself to check email on two different occasions just to see if anybody missed me (and damn your hides, NONE of you did!). I allowed myself to watch tv and dvds also. If I lived alone, I would have chucked that, but it's hard to NOT watch tv at our house. I would have been spending all my evenings in my room. Alone. This does not sound bad, come to think of it. Maybe next time. Again, most of the tasks involved visualizing - ideal environment, what my 80 year old self might say to my present day self, what my 8 year old self would say to her as well - and being good to myself with an extended Artist Date (did not manage) and a ceremonial tossing of some ragged low self-esteem article of clothing. That would be my entire underwear drawer!

Just kidding.

Sort of. Note to self: bras! buy new ones!

I don't recall experiencing any synchronicity during these two weeks, but I have observed that I am not very observant and I'm trying to pay more attention and not just skim through the experience.

Just to define it once and for all, integrity to me is a synonym for authentic. And I want to be my (eeep!) authentic self.

With power. :)

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Artist's Way - Week Two

In which our heroine recovers a Sense of Identity. In order to accomplish this, she will figure out where her time goes, remember things she once loved to do but forgot how when she grew up, make a Life Pie, play If I Could Be... and plan 10 Tiny Changes.

Well, hmm.

A great deal of my time is frittered away waiting. Waiting for the work day to end, for practice to be over, in check out lines, in traffic. I dislike beyond words the feeling of being "on hold" but I tend to internalize that into a kind of finger-drumming, wheel-spinning frustration that is bitter to taste and toxic to productivity because when I'm finally free, all that I can think about is breathing on my own time and not having to answer to The Man. Or The Child, as the case may be. I also waste a lot of time on the internet and in front of the tv and behind books - maybe the book part is a bit harsh. So, I think I need to work on perhaps being more engaged at work. And to remember a book or notebook for the basketball doldrums. And limiting my internet access. I truly believe we all need a little less internet access and more quiet soul searches and some face-to-face just to keep things in perspective.

Coming up with 20 things I like to do - well, you'd think that would be a no-brainer. Proved a little more difficult for me. I like to read, I like to watch TV and dvds, but I do these all the time, so maybe they aren't the treats/refuges they once were. I tried to come up with things that, well, for want of a better phrase, feed my soul. Oh, the humanity. These things include hiking (preferably w/dog), swimming in rivers or oceans (preferably where I can see my feet), going to concerts, rollerskating, writing silly birthday poems for friends and writing letters. Gotta find me some rollerblades!

The Life Pie was kind of a mystery to me. You draw a circle and divide it into six segments: Work, Friends, Romance/Adventure, Play, Exercise and Spirituality. Then you make a mark within the segment as to how fulfilled you feel in that area. My lowest rankers were Spirituality, Friends and R/A. I feel like I've got waaaaay too much work, but it's the have-to variety and not the want-to kind, so maybe it's time for a change there. ( I always envy people who love their jobs so much they don't describe them as work!). Connecting my dots, I created a diamond shape - not that it means anything in particular, it was just kind of cool. Like using a spirograph! Something cool appears just when you least expect it. Gotta find me a spirograph!!

p.s. I really did kinda look like her when I was that age.