Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Artist's Way

Julia Cameron published The Artist's Way in 1992-- a book which in her words, "hammered out spiritual principles as a path to high creativity." I began reading and using those principles shortly after that, some time after my divorce in 1994 and my initial return to Hawaii. I was rebuilding a foundation to start life over. The essential tool in Cameron's The Artist's Way is called "Morning Pages" three long-hand written pages done first thing upon waking. For many years after reading that book I practiced, one day at a time, the spiritual journey through writing those three (and then many more than three) long-hand written pages. In almost twenty years I have gone on to write and live, and create many expressions of my artist's way. As life continues, I have forgotten or found other forms aiding the expression of my art. Last week an old and dear friend, who is also a very fine poet shared with me her newly found joy through the practice of "Morning Pages." As a poet she has also maintained a spiritual path that parallels her writer's life. Are they separate, the spiritual and artist's life? Not really. What she reminded me was the perfect lesson that it seems is one that never loses it's value: practice and play with art and it will feed the whole! I needed this reminder, and am back to writing three long-hand written pages first thing ... before my schedule or my mind take over.

Julie Cameron has written many books about, and as a result of that initial publication of The Artist's Way". I have one of those books next to me as I press the keys for this post: The Artist's Way Every Day a Year of Creative Living. Like a daily reader, I found these two thoughts to include as I share the process, and in so doing, prime my own pump of creativity. "Using our creativity is therapeutic, but not because we need to be fixed. What we need is to be expressive. What's inside us is not all nasty and horrid and terrifying, not all shame and secrets and neurosis. Our inner world is a complex, exquisite, and powerful play of colors, lights, and shadows, a cathedral of consciousness as glorious as the natural world itself. This inner wealth is what the artist expresses."

That thought, that meditation allows me to accept the challenge of my complexity and how easily I can get caught in the quicksand of believing my expression is there to fix. The natural world is complex, ugly, harsh, grand, exquisite, dark and light. The thunder storms of this week have changed the woods from bright to dark. The blazingly yellow new paint on our neighbors house is now a light in the dark forest: not so bad after all! 

"Creativity is God energy flowing through us, shaped by us, like light flowing through a crystal prism. When we are clear about who we are and what we are doing, the energy flows freely and we experience no strain. When we resist what that energy might show us or where it might take us, we often experience a shaky, out-of-control feeling. We want to shut down the flow and regain our sense of control. We slam on the psychic brakes. Every creative person has myriad ways to block creativity. The choice to block always works in the short run and fails in the long run."

This thought, this meditation appeases my old habit of wanting to shut down the flow and regain my sense of control. I have a natal signature (astrology) that is charged with control issues. Saturn (in charge of control) rules my chart. My Mars (what I want!) is smashed up against Saturn (controller) in my birth chart. Bear with me as I make the connection between natal (birth issues and predisposition/psyche) and creative expression. Here's some astrology to put into the mix:

"Pluto in Capricorn turns direct on Friday morning(September 20, 2013) . Pluto is in an extremely tight sextile to Saturn in Scoprio.  These planets are in mutual reception. You’d be hard pressed to find a more opportune time to remake your foundation."
The opportunity to remake my foundation challenges me to blast through the blocks that come up when I get close to letting my words fly. For a year now I have been playing with the production of something big and wonderful, creative and deep, magical and mythical and choked full of metaphor. Can I do this, and make sense of all the part so me in a public performance? Blasting out of isolation means all the old habits and thoughts will have to go too.Writing those three hand-written pages is something I do one day at a time. It slows me down, puts something down on paper, and in the doing I clear the blocks, just for today. What a life!

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