Friday, October 4, 2019

The Artist’s Way Program: Week 6

The Artist’s Way Program: Week 6, Recovering a Sense of Abundance

This is a series of blog posts following my experiences doing Julia Cameron’s 12-week Artist’s Way program. If this series is new to you, feel free to read the original book review first.

This week’s theme of “recovering a sense of abundance” really means “let’s talk money.” Most importantly, Cameron is not pushing some spend-everything-in-the-name-of-art-and-go-bust agenda, so those of you whose hackles lifted at “money” (mine did) can relax now. Instead she discusses how money can be one of the bigger practical concerns blocking creative impulses. Along the lines of avoiding an all-or-nothing mindset, Cameron pushes her readers to find that balance between exploring their creativity without being financially irresponsible to themselves or their loved ones. She understands that we all have different financial means, but she does ask you to consider whether there’s any reasonable wiggle room in your budget for even a small creative indulgence now and again.

I had fun with a lot of the assignments this week. “Money madness” is another fill-in-the-blank exercise, this one specifically exploring your own attitudes towards money. I also liked disposing of five ratty pieces of clothing. I strongly agree that clutter can be its own kind of creative block, and it’s another good mindfulness practice: periodically assessing what you actually need and want among your possessions and discarding everything else. I loved baking something, although in confession I do that most every week, anyway, since I’m teaching myself gluten-free baking. But this week is was an official assignment! And my morning pages have become a natural habit by now. They’re easy and even quite relaxing at times, though I do still struggle filling a whole three pages.

I didn’t much like the task of finding five pretty rocks and five pretty flowers. I did the assignment, but—um—just didn’t much see the point. There’s also a subtle philosophy difference here. I’m not wild about removing something from its place. Noticing pretty rocks and flowers is one thing, but I would rather observe them and then leave them where they belong than take them for myself. This week also had us rereading the Basic Principles every day again. I obliged Cameron, but I still find them sweet gibberish. Same with synchronicity. I haven’t written about it again, although Cameron brings up the concept every week, because my attitude hasn’t changed at all. Suffice it to say I never gained much from the whole synchronicity concept throughout the entire 12-week program.

Money is one of life’s biggest issues, from lots of angles. Biggest general stress. Biggest source of relationship tension. Biggest decisions. So it’s no surprise that it’s one of the biggest factors in blocking creativity. But the fact is that you don’t need to be rich to be creative. Money (and time) are major limiting factors and it’s disappointing to settle for a lesser version of what you “dream-want,” but there are ways to explore your interests that are reasonably within your means.

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