May was a great month for my Artist Dates, but tough for my Morning Pages. In the previous chapter of The Artist’s Way, you were challenged to stretch your Artist Dates out a little. So, when my husband had a business trip to Florida, I jumped at the opportunity (something that I have passed on for the last two years). I have been excited to explore new territory & it had been too long since I took a break. I took the month off from lots of stuff, and unfortunately, I also let my Morning Pages slide. By the end of the month, I felt really out of sorts and that could have been a contributing factor.
Fort Lauderdale and Miami are favorite spots for my husband & I, so going back would be good for couple time, yet when he would be at all of his business stuff, I would have time for adventures of my own. With the reading deprivation exercise of April, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a book. I found The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh at the airport prior to departure and blazed though it by the next morning.
The whole trip was magical & I felt tuned into beauty where ever I went. On the plane, even though I couldn’t sit next to husband (due to our boarding order and limited seating left), I sat by a chatty lady who reminded me of a book character in the making.
While in Florida, I limited my internet time and spent the majority of my time soaking up the sun and relaxing (that is, when it wasn’t pouring rain and storming). The up and down weather amazed me because one minute it was 90 degrees and the next you were receiving tornado or flash flood warnings. The tropical climate with its distinctive personality draws me back again and again.
I came back refreshed and feeling creative. As we landed back in Portland, Belinda Underwood, a beautiful, young musician was playing folk music in the airport and I bought both of her available albums as souvenirs of the trip.
The Artist’s Way, Chapter 3: Recovering a Sense of Power
I am in an Artist Way group that is taking a chapter a month in the book. I find it so interesting to go through it at this pace because I have really slowed down to examined more closely the practical application of the material in my life. I loved going through the book in 12 weeks because it is its own type of emersion experience, but this way slowing it down, I have been able to read the chapter a couple of different times and really hone in on the lessons to be learned.
Chapter 3 is crucial in the process because it deals with anger and learning how to take back your sense of personal responsibility in your creative life. AND since we know that we are creative in EVERY aspect of our life, it is fundamental to making the life that you desire. The first couple months of Morning Pages can seem rather petty since you are becoming aware of the negative thoughts that you may be having on a regular basis. By slowing this process down, I remained in what I felt to be petty a good share of the time. I always used the end of the pages to write affirmations because I wanted to end my journaling on a positive note, but until I got to this chapter, I hadn’t really looked closely at where I was just handing over my personal power.
I am always struck by the crazymaker section in chapter 2 (people in your life that bring drama and distract you from your craft), and I believe chapter 3 gives the antidote for this issue. The four main topics are anger, synchronicity, shame, and growth. When you realize that the crazymakers are truly a distraction that you use to avoid your own vulnerability (practicing your craft authentically/knowing & expressing yourself deeply), you can realize it is you who you’re really angry with, can be open to God’s goodness and abundant giving in your life through synchronicity, release shame and live in a space free of it, and be gentle with yourself as you go through the growing and shrinking of your own creativity.
I had a major breakthrough this month with my more difficult relationships. I learned that God’s love is unlimited. I had misunderstood the source of my love for others to be coming from me. When we realize that love is coming from the same source of energy (God), it is possible to learn to tap into that unlimited source in every personal interaction. I think that in my own mind I felt that I could be used up and sucked dry. This is not a good space to live in. You end up feeling like people are there to take from you. It is a reason many people shut down who are more giving and loving by nature–they don’t feel that their need for a source of love is being filled and withdraw-the most extreme case in their social life. I learned that when you have people who seek a love source in you, you can simply tap into God’s love energy at that moment and since it was never really yours… you have lost nothing, but gained something very special. You are energized and both go away feeling uplifted and happy. People are more able to share their love with you as well. It’s amazing how much happier and energetic I have become.
I believe this is a lesson connected with many of God’s gifts and blessings. We must get out of the way and realize that we are really a receptacle. It is our own selfishness and ego that causes us to stumble and withdraw from the creativity source.. the love source. Our main job is to be open to the incredible power of love and creativity in our life–to be open and ready to receive.
Weeks 5-8: February Morning Pages
The Artist’s Way, Chapter 2 Recovering a Sense of Identity
Reflecting back on February brings recollections of emotional ups and downs. Moodiness crept in especially on days that I missed my Morning Pages. I noticed that I have began to depend on them to keep insight into my own thoughts and feelings. When that was gone, I began feeling foggy and out of touch with myself. It was like a barrier is formed between me and the outside world. When I completed my pages, the barrier was in place and I knew what I liked and what I didn’t like. I was aware of my inner desires. I was able to set boundaries more effectively with the other people around me as well. I felt more intentional. Also, in February, I noticed that I was more aware of my own negativity and not in a way that is personally judgmental. It was just more matter-of-fact. I was able to lightly think it over and just let it go without giving it too much importance. I knew when it was time to go for help. Sometimes we don’t have all the answers! Sometimes we need to go to other people for wisdom who we know we can trust. I am happy to say that even though I had a pretty challenging month, I was still able to move ahead in my creative endeavors and met my goals. I stayed the course!
Week 3: Morning Pages
This week, Morning Pages seemed more natural. My son returned from a two-year mission and I had a lot of processing to do. My week was very busy (in a good way). It felt like I was living a “real life.” Instead of spending a lot of my free time working on my pages, blogging, or creating, I was visiting with a lot of other people. It was a week of celebration and reunion. Because my son had been away for two years, I was nervous about how things would pan out. Would he be different? What were his plans? Had he outgrown our family? Would he still want to be around us? Would he think that we had changed? Would he be disappointed? All of those thoughts were going through my mind and making me anxious.
The morning pages helped me to see which of my thoughts were rational. I could see that I was in my head a lot and needed to be aware that my thoughts are not me. Also, it helped me realize why I was feeling nervous and let it go. Affirmations were a great tool once again for this step.
The overall biggest difference like I said was that Morning Pages felt like second nature. They were there like an old friend. I could unload and tell my concerns without feel like I was burdening someone and do it again the next day. Morning Pages are more than blank pages to fill. They are a loyal companion for you through the good and the bad.
Week 4: Morning Pages
Looking back on the week I only remember a blur. Nothing in particular stands out to me in with the pages themselves, and I only missed one day. I did, however, notice an overall productivity all around me throughout my week.
Projects that were left undone for months and sometimes put off for years came together (a sort of tying up of loose ends). My patience for redundant situations as well as behaviors and attitudes wore thin. My attention somehow shifted. Anything repetitive became unacceptable. However, this was not a feeling of unease, but of decisiveness. I understood what was important and did not get in my own way with my tendency to hang back on important decisions.
I knew that in some instances that I was going to need to be strong–not to let other people into my head. Peoples’ opinions and judgements did not quite have the same importance to me. You know that space that can be fleeting for a recovering “people pleaser?” I felt brave, but not in spite of fear because the fear itself had vanished.