The Artist Way – Week 1: Recovering a Sense of Safety

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Hello and welcome to this first Artist Way check in. If you don’t yet know what the Artist Way is, it is a book written by Julia Cameron that is meant to guide artist and creatives of all walks of life through a 12 week process of self discovery and unlock of your creative freedom. If you’re curious to know more about it and see the recompilation of my weekly check-ins, check out this blog where I describe the different components of the 12 week journey and tools included in the book:

There is some tasks that I didn’t fully complete within it’s own week so the completion of each week does merge with one another on occasion. I decided to include the tasks as I like to illustrate and compile them but I don’t want to spoil them if you’re about to do it yourself and want to discover what each week entails by yourself so beware!

The weekly check ins in this blog answer the questions Julia asks to put your progress into perspective. I added the weekly tasks to the list and categorized the questions as follow:

  • Morning Pages:
    How many days this week did you do your morning pages
  • Artist Dates:
    Did you do your artist date this week? What did you do? How did it feel?
  • Weekly Tasks:
    I added the weekly tasks here.
  • Check In:
    Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it? 
    Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

Without further a do, let’s have a look at these weeks’ check ins!

Week 1: Recovering a Sense of Safety

Morning Pages

  • How many days this week did you do your morning pages? 

7/7 Days. Word Count: Mon 728, Tue 640, Wed 775, Thu 860, Fri 1567, Sat 1080, Sun 1142

I decided to write on the computer because of my hand injury. The first days Jono and I were van camping so I wrote on the phone and it was uncomfortable for my hand so I kept an eye on the word count to be done when I reached the number. When we were back home, I tried to fill in 3 pages on word and didn’t keep an eye on the world count. I had a lot in my mind after starting therapy a few months ago and I hadn’t been writing any of my thoughts down for ages. I also didn’t have work yet so I wrote a lot.

Artist Dates

  • Did you do your artist date this week? What did you do? How did it feel? 

I didn’t set aside specific time to do anything thinking “ this is my artist date” but I did the 20 minute walk in the tasks. 

I also had a small painting session by myself before I started the Artist Way while Jono and Dom were watching tv. I felt restless and I wanted to get up and do something else and I felt like painting. This was the 27th of December, before we went away on the van trip and about 5 days before I started the artist way but I count it because it’s the first time in a long time (or maybe ever) that I just wanted to do art because I felt like doing it and resort to it for comfort, not to achieve an end result or wanting to be productive.

Tasks

I won’t go into detail with the actual names or characteristics of people listed.

  • Time Travel: List three old enemies of your creative self-worth
  1. Family member
  2. Teachers, mostly in university
  3. Bosses, in particular one of my first jobs at an office
  • Time Travel: Select and write out one horror story from your monster hall of fame

This person used to always call me lazy because I wouldn’t do what they wanted me to do. They were very authoritarian. They also said I fake sang because I sang in a high pitch voice mirroring power metal bands my brother and I listened to at the time. I also wasn’t musically trained and struggled to be able to sing freely later in life because of this comment. My throat would hurt. They also took a drawing I made in one of their rage outbursts and used the back to write a sign with a marker as a form of scolding for something I didn’t do directly. Ruining the drawing. Later in life they were amazed at my drawings and heard me singing the phantom of the opera and said “I didn’t know you could sing”. Of course they didn’t. They were the reason why I wouldn’t. 

  • Write a letter to the editor in your defense

As I mention later on the issues for recovery check in, I find it hard to put myself in the position of the wounded child. I wrote the thank you letter first (task coming up) and I wrote a beautiful 2 page letter that made me feel really good and I cried. Doing it this way made the letter in my defense to an enemy even more difficult. Because I liked the thank you letter and I wanted to send it to the person and I went into the letter to the editor with that idea too. I couldn’t get myself to write something thinking they’d read it. Then I tried to put myself in the position of the wounded child and make it funny and cartoony but I couldn’t. I left this task undone until the end of week 2 and all I got around to write at the end just to give the task a tick was:

“You shouldn’t have treated me like that. I was just a girl. You turned off my light. You took away my desire to do things that I was passionate about. You made me feel small and worthless.”

Maybe I’ll process this in time and get around to writing the funny wounded child letter at some point but not this time.

  • Time Travel: List three old champions of your creative self – worth
  1. 4th – 9th grade spanish, physics and chemist teacher
  2. After school English teacher
  3. Amalgamation of teachers that helped me to get through high school when I was depressed and had family issues
  • Time Travel: Select and write out one happy piece of encouragement. Write a thank – you letter

This was a long two page letter to my 4th – 9th grade teacher who was very disciplined but encouraging. While writing I realized this was a person who didn’t only compliment my drawings or a specific thing I did but always praised my (and I assume other student’s) efforts. I realized that my creative worth and sense of self worth in general lies on people diminishing me, my personality and my efforts rather than my artwork or work in general.

The idea of having somebody that was so encouraging for my efforts going the extra mile formed my character to try and go the extra mile, even if other people would go and diminish my efforts later in life. It brought me comfort that amongst all the bad memories and pain of my childhood, there was people that saw and encouraged me for what I was and my efforts rather than results. (Even though, I was a really good student that liked putting efforts into presentation and this teacher valued presentation so she might’ve been biased to my work.)

  • Imaginary Lives: If you had five other lives to lead. What would you do in each of them? Select one and do it this week.
  1. Cultural Anthropologist / Historian
  2. Psychologist / Therapist / Art Therapist / Physical and Mental Rehab
  3. Costume Maker
  4. Graphic Designer / Digital Artist
  5. Musical Theater Singer / Actress

There’s many things I’ve thought about doing when I was young and even now a days. I keep thinking of all the things I could be if it wasn’t so difficult money wise and in many cases, networking wise. These are a few of the most recent ones that have been around my head. I wrote quite a few more which was handy because on week 2 they ask you for 5 more.

This week, I learn how to read music and practice piano (musical theater) and made a mushroom hat (costume maker).

  • Write down your blurts. Work with each individually. Turn each negative into an affirmative positive.

I wrote about 15 blurts, worked and turned about 10 of them into affirmations. I’ll share with you my top 3 of the 5 they asked for in week 2 and how I worked through them.

BlurtAffirmation
You ask too much of yourself and nobody asked nobody asked for thesis / postgraduate quality work (extra mile efforts).
You weren’t meant for your career (tourism & hospitality when I mentioned I was happy doing other creative work).
– University Teacher
My efforts matter. My contributions matter. I add value to the world. I am worthy of doing and contributing valuable things. My opinion matters. I am worthy of taking space in the world.
You’re immature.
You don’t have personality.
– Two bosses from two different jobs.
I am lovable. I have a strong personality. I am confident. I am proud to be different and sensitive. I deserve love and respect. I am worthy of love. I experience life fully. It’s ok to be scared and unsure. People love me the way I am. I am enough.
I am resilient, I am capable, I continue to learn and grow, I am confident in my abilities, I am proud of my accomplishments, I am enough. I am allowed to be sensitive and vulnerable.
You’re lazy and you’re not helpful or officious.
– Family members
I am active, I am industrious, I am energetic. I am my own person, I am determined and persevering. I am reliable. I am valuable regardless of what I do.
  • Take your artist for a walk, the two of you. A brisk twenty-minute walk can dramatically alter consciousness

Check-In

  • Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it? 

“In psychology, synchronicity is defined as the occurrence of meaningful coincidences that seem to have no cause; that is, the coincidences are acausal.”

I just feel like I had so much to get out of my system and I’ve been wanting to find an outlet and this is the right time for me to go through this process. Although I had the notion of the artist way in my mind, I first read the “Building a life worth living book”, then “Nobody’s normal” then this. Yes, I picked those books off the shelf and yes I chose which one to read first but I didn’t calculate what was best in what order or think that I needed to read those books. I was only curious but everything was just right. 

  • Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

I struggled to write the letter to the editor in my defense. I find it hard to put myself in the position of the wounded child. I keep putting blame and shame on myself. Even though I’ve always shouted for people to see me and I put myself in the position of the victim, I’m not used to actually being acknowledged and value myself as something or someone worth defending and fighting for. 

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Thanks for reading and see you next time! ♡

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Hello, this blog is written by a young artist and traveler looking to share the world from her perspective. 

“I want to share things that inspire me: Different disciplines I learn along the way and experiences I have. Hoping to inspire whoever’s reading to live a more authentic and fulfilling life.” 

This blog is about life, art, travel, folklore, culture and everything in between.

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