The Artist Way – Week 8: Recovering a Sense of Power

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Hello and welcome to this Artist Way check in Week 7. The Artist Way 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, check out my blog where I describe the different components of the 12 week journey and tools included in the book.

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!

Morning Pages

  • How many days this week did you do your morning pages? 6/7

Artist Dates

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

Tasks

EARLY PATTERNINGS, AN EXERCISE

Although we seldom connect the dots. Many of our present – day losses are connected to our earlier conditioning. Children may be told they can’t do anything or, equally damaging, be told they should be able to do absolutely anything with ease. Either of these messages blocks the recipient. The following questions are aimed at helping you retrieve and decipher your own conditioning. Some of them may seem not to apply. Write about whatever they trigger for you.

As a kid, my dad thought my art was invisible.

That made me feel worthless, invisible.

I remember one time when he wouldn’t buy me colored pens and said why would I ever need that, discouraging me from ever wanting to do anything out of the essential necessities. Another time he took one of my drawings, didn’t even realized the paper had something I drew and used it to write “Close the fridge” while screaming at my family and I for leaving the fridge open.

I felt very small and hurt about that. I never forgot about it.

As a kid. My mother taught me that my daydreaming was a luxury/privilege and out of touch.

I remember she’d tell me to snap out of it by reminding me they didn’t have that and were in survival mode, therefore I should be too.

The person I remember who believed in me was my aunt but she’d be very rigid about it. She’d made me want to make me learn things she or my uncle wanted to teach me instead of listening to what I wanted or letting me explore on my own. Other people complimented me and saw potential but I didn’t really feel supported by anyone.

I remember one time when she criticized me for taking too many pictures later on when we went on vacation together.

I felt controlled, repressed, manipulated and small about that. It made me feel like I always had to follow somebody’s instructions or have to have somebody’s approval to do something. If I did anything on my own that was authentically mine or that interested only me, I wasn’t allowed to do it. If I did something only for myself, without taking somebody else’s opinions or feelings into consideration, I’d be resented for it. I don’t forgive her for that.

The thing that ruined my chance to be an artist was that everybody in my environment growing up was in survival mode and resented being blocked and traumatized themselves but never did the work to take care, work on their fears and fulfill their own needs and wants.

The negative lesson I got from that. which wasn’t logical but I still believe that I can’t be free, independent, authentic and be an artist.

When I was little. I learned that being a free thinker and not being helpful, officious, and accommodating (acomedido, servicial, oficioso) for others were big sins that I particularly had to watch out for.

I grew up thinking artists were privileged and extravagant people.

The teacher who shipwrecked my confidence was my aunt and university teachers.

I was told my efforts didn’t matter.

I believed this teacher because people genuinely didn’t seem to care, and even resented me bringing my creative skills to the table.

The mentor who gave me a good role model was my singing teacher in my last quarter of university.

When people say I have talent I think they want to get something from me.

The thing is, I am suspicious that people will take advantage of me.

I just can’t believe that people value my strengths, my authenticity, my way of thinking, thought processing and my creativity.

If I believe I am really talented, then I am mad as hell at society and capitalism and my family. For having to live in a world where half of the population (artistic and creative people) are inherently less valuable than the other half that feels comfortable or has the interests and skills to make money. And for keeping people in survival mode when the people that make money keep perpetuating this cycle.

TASKS 

● Goal Search: You may find the following exercise difficult. Allow yourself to do it anyway. If multiple dreams occur to you, do the exercise for each one of them. The simple act of imagining a dream in concrete detail helps us to bring it into reality. Think of your goal search as a preliminary architect’s drawing for the life you would wish to have. I am indebted to Barbara Sher and Shakti Gawain for the inspiration for these tasks.

The Steps

  • Name your dream. That’s right. Write it down. “In a perfect world. I would secretly love to be a performer”
  • Name one concrete goal that signals to you its accomplishment. On your emotional compass. This goal signifies true north.

(Note: two people may want to be an actress. They share that dream. For one, an article in People magazine is the concrete goal. To her, glamor is the emotional center for her dream; glamor is true north. For the second actress, the concrete goal is a good review in a Broadway play. To her, respect as a creative artist is the emotional center of her dream; respect is true north. Actress 1 might be happy as a soap star. Actress 2 would need stage work to fulfill her dream. On the surface, both seem to desire the same thing.)

I would like to have the freedom financially and time wise to take on different projects when it suits me. I’d like to be confident and have high self esteem to be able to show myself boldly to the world and be certain I have what it takes to back myself up and be confident in where I stand. I want to be respected and valued. I would like to be fulfilled and well compensated. That I receive fair treatment and fair compensation. That I don’t have to be or do something I’m not to fit in. That my flaws are part of the whole package and that people understand that we are all human and we are a work in progress. That I’m respected and valued for what I offered and not how much I can sell or do for somebody else. For people to see value in me instantly and not be questioned or having to explain myself or have to show up for somebody else.

○ In a perfect world. Where would you like to be in five years in relation to your dream and true north? 

Financially free and fulfilled in a field where my natural attributes are valued and shining. 

○ In the world we inhabit now. What action can you take? this year, to move you closer?

Get into the burlesque class on April

Go to the circus classes 

Be a model or part of the WoW crew

Weta workshops internship

Zealandia night tours

Audition for Disney work

○ What action can you take this month? This week? This day? Right now?

Get enrolled in the burlesque class for April

Find courses or classes I can follow from home

Look for a community theater group

○ List your dream (for example, to be a famous film director). List its true north (respect and higher consciousness, mass communication.) Select a role model (Walt Disney, Ron Howard, Michael Powell). Make an action plan. Five years. Three years. One year. One month. One week. Now. Choose an action. Reading this book is an action.

Be a cirque du soleil performer

  • Five years:
  • Three years:
  • One year:
  • One month:
  • One week:
  • Now: 

● New Childhood: What might you have been if you’d had perfect nurturing? Write a page of this fantasy childhood. 

Probably a performer, singer, dancer, visual artist or athlete. Maybe lawyer, social justice, debate, etc. 

What were you given? Can you reparent yourself in that direction now?

Trauma and Isolation, criticism 

I am doing it now

● “Gain disguised as loss” is a potent artist’s tool. To acquire it, simply, brutally, ask: “How can this loss serve me? Where does it point to my work?” The answers will surprise and liberate you.

My childhood trauma, gave me a strong sense of 

Those changes could bring a greater appreciation of life, more self-esteem and connectedness to others, a renewed sense of meaning and purpose.

  1. Stronger relationships. Traumatic events often allow you to discover the care and concern others might be willing to show during your recovery. Many people report experiencing growth and improvement in their relationships. Accepting support from others, reaching out for help, expressing emotions, and learning you can count on others during times of trouble all serve to strengthen the connection you might feel to those around you. How much do you agree with the following statements?

I feel closer to those who matter to me.

I learned a great deal about how wonderful people are.

  1. Awareness of new possibilities. Sometimes trauma closes the door to goals that people set out to accomplish. In having to reestablish priorities and identify new goals for their lives, some can see new pathways and possibilities they never knew existed. How much do you agree with the following statements?

I can do better things with my life.

I established a new path for my life.

  1. Increased personal strength. When people experience trauma, they often find opportunities to learn more about how to manage hard situations, which can result in discovering strengths they might never have imagined. How much do you agree with the following statements?

 I know that I can better handle difficulties.

 I discovered that I’m stronger than I thought I was.

  1. Spiritual enhancement. Trauma is often accompanied by your efforts to make sense of what and why things happened. The process of struggling to adjust your worldview can lead to greater clarity about life’s meaning and purpose. Those who experience trauma also might develop a deeper sense of connection to something larger than themselves, whether spiritual or religious in nature or just the world as a whole. How much do you agree with the following statements?

I better understand spiritual matters.

I have a stronger religious faith.

  1. Greater appreciation for life. Trauma often threatens what people value most in their lives, and the recovery process can result in a greater sense of gratitude for things that often go unnoticed. Trauma might shift your priorities and increase your appreciation for the value of life as well as the everyday things you otherwise take for granted. How much do you agree with the following statements?

I changed my priorities about what’s important in life.

I have a greater appreciation for the value of my own life.

Disappointing times studying and working in tourism where people had mistreated me. It got me out into the world and gave me long life experiences. Also experiences that were challenging, painful but transformative. Knowing what I don’t want in my life lead me to a path with stronger values and conviction. 

Being in New Zealand gave me time and space to work through and process trauma.  The Isolating safety of a bubble 🫧 created a somewhat balanced amount of triggers and availability / lack of availability in resources that meant I had to work hard to get myself out of my head and out of my bad situation. Balance of out of comfort zone and having resources to get out of there. Thanks to the people and situation I was in I was able to process and drain my trauma cup. 

● Style Search: List twenty things you like to do. (Perhaps the same twenty you listed before, perhaps not.) Answer these questions for each item:

  1. Travel 
  2. Art
  3. Relaxation
  4. Meditation
  5. Spirituality
  6. Self development
  7. Health
  8. Communicate, share
  9. Document 
  10. Eye catching visuals
  11. Hike in nature 
  12. Watch movies
  13. Eat cozy food
  14. Make cozy food
  15. Make a difference
  16. Performance arts
  17. Dress well 
  18. Photography
  19. Good friendships
  20. Crafts 

● Does it cost money or is it free? Expensive or cheap? Alone or with somebody? Job related? Physical risk? Fast – paced or slow? Mind, body, or spiritual?

● Ideal Day: Plan a perfect day in your life as it is now constituted, using the information gleaned from above.

● Ideal Ideal Day: Plan a perfect day in your life as you wish it were constituted. There are no restrictions. Allow yourself to be and to have whatever your heart desires. Your ideal environment. job. home. circle of friends. intimate relationship. stature in your art form — your wildest dreams.

● Choose one festive aspect from your ideal day. Allow yourself to live it. You may not be able to move to Rome yet. but even in a still – grungy apartment you can enjoy a homemade cappuccino and a croissant.

Week Recapitulation

Monday 11th –

Tuesday th –

Wednesday th –

Thursday th –

Friday th –

Saturday th –

Sunday 17th –

Check-In

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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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