Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Week 3 check-in

I think I said last week, and the same holds true this week, I don't think I could put the entire check-in on here, rather I'll just comment on some of the things I've noticed during the week (if I haven't already posted on them.
  • One thing was that exercise for the scientific-minded. You know... the list of clothes you want. Write it out, sit back and wait for the Universe to provide. Well, I did that last time, and my thoughts when I got here went something as follows: Yeah, right, well, that doesn't work, does it? I tried it. Nothing came along. ... OK, I didn't really make a list of things I really wanted. Purple dungarees and a gold jacket (oh... I did actually get a gold velvet jacket a year or so later!) But what I didn't do at the time was to clear any space for these new things. .... Aha! - I think this will appear in Chapter 4 too. I have something to keep me busy next week. Decluttering my wardrobe, and my bedroom, prompted by the task on the Childhood room. - The thing I loved about that room was all the floorspace it had. My present room could have too, if I remove the junk!
  • Maybe I keep harking back to when I last did AW, but this is just bringing up things, and I can't help making connections with happenings and insights from that time that are shedding new light on the experience now, and vice versa. What's happening now is helping me understand my experience last time. Anyone confused yet?
  • An affirmation. One of my imaginary lives last time (1998) was Bach Flower Remedy Practitioner. Of course it didn't become a conscious Goal or anything immediately, but it must have stayed in my subconscious, and when I began training in 2003 I didn't associate it with Artist's Way at all. When did I get the letter confirming that I've successfully completed my training to be registered as a certified practitioner? 9th January, 2 days after beginning the AW this time! Synchronicity strikes again!
  • Habits. Ok. Rotten ones? Over-eating (periodically), coffee-drinking, Over-indulging in PC (especially games --- aaagh! Hate admitting that) Payoff? Giving myself (eating & coffee) something to feel sorry for myself for: I've been so stressed I over-ate and drank too much coffee!. PC is a pure procrastination/escape tool. Payoff is I can ignore (I can't, but I do) what I really need to be doing. While blog-surfing is far more useful, connected and creativity-building, it is also addictive. So, if those are the rotten habits, what are the subtle foes? Putting off self-care activities like prayer and exercise, and allowing my home to get messy and disorganised so it's hard to do anything. (this isn't anywhere near the problem it used to be. I actually have desk-space, clear space in my kitchen... way improved... but plenty of room still to improve.) In my journal, I say... The general effect is to leave me blocked, lethargic, guilty, bogged down physically, spiritually and domestically. It all adds weight to be carried, prevents me from moving easily through life, or pursuing creative activities.
  • Because I read Chapter 4 tonight after I'd completed my tasks and done the check-in, here's another thing I noticed: The task about people I admire/secretly admire, would like to meet/hang out with... when I reviewed the traits of who I admire, Integrity came out top (title of chapter 4 turns out to be... Recovering a sense of Integrity!) But the people I secretly admired (much as I would like to be considered a person of integrity, these are much more fun) - Outspokenness, Outrageousness, Individuality, Creativity, Fun, Willingness to change/ reinvent the self, Fearlessness, Ability to completely ignore critics and detractors. Can I have both? - Or all?
  • My Artist Date was one of those Declared After the Event dates too! - I did a Stationery-shop crawl (went to 3) and got some card-making materials - ribbon, beautiful leaf skeletons in gold, to add to the accumulation of cards and other decorative stuff I've been buying over the past year. I've never yet made a card! (Something else to occupy me next week). When I came home, there was a catalogue in the post. I don't often bother with them, but there, ridiculously cheap, was a set of 8 scissors for cutting lacy edges onto paper. OK. Ordered. End of date. My supplies are in. It was satisfying, but not as exciting somehow as last week (I think it's in the intention, in fact)

That's a smattering of what was in my long, long journal entry for check-in. It was a good week. A feeling of being in the flow. I'm totally enjoying visiting people's blogs, and thinking "I was wondering about that, or I noticed that, or I was just saying that" but more often thinking "Wow!" The term isn't used as much in Europe as in US, but this group is Awesome. I stand in awe of all of you.

Oh.... I said this on my other blog, too... I intend to remain Incommunicado during Reading Deprivation Week. If I do turn up here, looking for company, will some kind soul turn me around and send me home, and tell me to behave myself? I will miss you all, but really, really look forward to catching up next week. Enjoy the week, my friends.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Week 3 - Almost check-in Day

Initial feeling (now it's Friday) was that it wasn't a week of big happenings. True. But it's been a week of little advances, which is good, and I keep saying I'm not producing, while right under my nose someone (could it be me?) is using my hands and my brain to do stuff. - I've written a few poems and "bits", picked up my long-neglected knitting, done at least one of my favourite things (had a friend over for dinner last night), stayed the entire week within my planned healthy eating regime (and enjoyed it), and a wonderful gift landed in the post that will be the basis for some new poems - at the very least. It's an audio-tape of my mother made 20 years ago reminiscing on her childhood. - A beautiful gift, and one I didn't even know existed until very recently, I had one long, long walk, did a bit of poking about in the flower-beds (I won't exactly call it weeding, more like moodling). .... And I go to an art opening this evening.
A good week, ... and it's not over yet!

Blogging, Synchronicity, Inspiration, the Web

For anyone who, like me, decided to take the leap and experiment with creating a blog for this Artist's Way journey, and who has gone through a gamut of doubts and questions and fears and excitements about the process, Tess has a list of reasons to neglect your blog that you may relate to. - I definitely did. I laughed out loud reading it. While she's not in the Artist's Way group, she tells stories that I find way inspiring and think you will, too - particularly Enlightenment Under the Mulberry Tree. I came across her blog via Fran, who also pointed me in the direction of Kat's Paws, although she is not a member of the Artist's Way Group either . I am fascinated with this web of connections, interconnections, multi-connections that is forming. It reminds me of the idea that when we are held by a net with many connections like that, even if one, or two threads break or slacken, the others hold. There is great strength in the variety and multiplicity of the group. - When one of us is feeling down, others are there to say what is holding them up, and I love that - experiencing it, witnessing it, trying to participate in it. Someone else mentioned Indra's Net. This seems like a real expression of that idea to me.

I am putting time into reflecting on privacy, safety, the balance between what is shared, what needs to be shared, not shared... those things. I notice some people express their entire thought process on topics, meaningful events from everyday life, life history events, and others are more circumspect. I suppose I'm the latter type. - I'm just gradually feeling my way in here, and trying to figure out (a) what about me would be of any remote interest to people out there and (b) what might I say that I would be ok with people in my real life reading? - Or NOT ok with? Tess's list covers a lot of those things. I suppose time sorts it out, but I don't want to start to feel uncomfortable, and stop posting because I haven't resolved the dilemna either.

Another blogthing

You Are a Seeker Soul

You are on a quest for knowledge and life challenges.
You love to be curious and ask a ton of questions.
Since you know so much, you make for an interesting conversationalist.
Mentally alert, you can outwit almost anyone (and have fun doing it!).

Very introspective, you can be silently critical of others.
And your quiet nature makes it difficult for people to get to know you.
You see yourself as a philosopher, and you take everything philosophically.
Your main talent is expressing and communicating ideas.

Souls you are most compatible with: Hunter Soul and Visionary Soul

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Many Selves

This card is one that portrays the way in which sub-personalities or aspects of the self can be so different, and live together within. I call it my Protective Female Warrior card, but am so mindful that there is that frightened, vulnerable self there also. In SoulCollage (tm) all these selves are known as the Committee. My internal committee has set up quite a lot of chattering since this Artist's Way process began. - Excitement, ideas, fears, doubts... all a mixture.

Detective Work

  1. My favourite childhood toy was paper cut-out dressing-up dolls, with lots of clothes with little tabs.
  2. My favourite childhood game was (one I remember) cooking - mud cake and dandelion-head cheese souffle. I never saw a real cheese souffle, but loved the sound and idea of it.
  3. The best movie I ever saw as a kid was Pinnochio (also the most frightening, though. - That wolf! Scary!)
  4. I don't do it much, but I enjoy crocheting patchwork quilts
  5. If I could lighten up a little, I'd let myself say YES to all K's hints about trying bellydancing.
  6. If it weren't too late, I'd learn to play the guitar.
  7. My favourite musical instrument is the cello. The cello has a rich, brown sound.
  8. The amount of money I spend on treating myself to entertainment each month is... it varies, but I'm not mean with myself. I go to theatre, concerts (Dylan last year, for instance), eat out, movies. How much? 60 euro? Approx.
  9. If I weren't so stingy with my artist (huh?) I'd buy her a weekend at a retreat centre
  10. Taking time out for myself is... utterly possible! My life is for myself now. There is no-one I'd be stealing time from.
  11. I am afraid that if I start dreaming, I'll get carried away with grandiose ideas that aren't practical, and I'll end an impoverished object of derision.
  12. I secretly enjoy reading... there isn't anything I secretly read. There are people who wonder what I see in Stephen King... (?)
  13. If I had had a perfect childhood, I'd have grown up to be loud, full-of-myself. (Maybe?) - Well, ok - more confident than I was in my teens and twenties, more able to figure out who I was, more willing to try new things. Ok. Not loud. Just sure of myself. Present. Grounded. Self-aware.
  14. If it didn't sound so crazy, I'd write a proposal for my Healing Holidays idea. Make a model of my centre
  15. My parents think artists are admirable, out of their league, special, not like them... but believe that we (my siblings and I) can be artists.
  16. My God thinks artists are a way of communicating His word, attuned and called to use their talents He has given them.
  17. What makes me feel wierd about this recovery is a feeling that I'm really close to having it all sussed, and a fear that that's grandiosity. BUT also a fairly grounded sense that I am recovering my self. What really makes me feel wierd is the feeling that I've been happy the past fortnight 'cos I'm spending time with someone I'm getting to know and love. - It's a romance. It's a new love - with MYSELF. That's how it feels. Aaaah. Derek Walcott's poem that I printed out - Love after Love. So true
  18. Learning to trust myself is probably a lifelong, cyclical, spiralling process. I trust, I act, I falter and doubt, I struggle, I learn to trust again.... and so on.
  19. My most cheer-me-up music is from the early 70's. James Taylor, Cat Stevens, Neil Young...
  20. My favourite way to dress is - swirly skirt, colours, some jewelery, little cardigans, scarves, flat comfortable shoes.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


In my contract (and in yours, if you're one of the 100 people who have signed on to The Artist's Way), I committed to adequate --- ooops EXCELLENT!--- self-care in the course of the 12 weeks. I've seen someone say they would probably stress themselves out about that as well as tasks and morning pages. I've noticed I am beginning to take care of myself a little better. The post-Christmas lethargy and continuation of the eating-fest finally came to a halt. I got to the gym twice this week. I've been in bed before midnight a couple of nights. But it's much more than the physical. I found this article really useful for gaining perspective on the issue, all-round, and it gave me more understanding of just how important the whole lot is.

A SoulCollage Card


This card represents the many gifts that God or the Universe just make available so generously, so abundantly

This is the image that appears here, simply because I was trying for a few days to get any of my cards uploaded with no success, and tried a random card tonight - hey presto! - But maybe if I had been able to do it, I would have added it to the post about Gratitude., so consider this a continuation of that post!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Winter Picnic Artist Date

Kara asked had I had my winter picnic. I said No, the weather was awful. Couldn't do it. That was true yesterday, but today, so calm, so mild, such a blue sky! - I just had to do it for my Artist Date. Made up a flask (thermos) of hot chocolate, took a couple of sweet marshmallow biscuits, a picnic rug, and my walking boots, wrapped up warm and headed to the beach, and I managed to get in quite a few of my 20 things there. Drove to the beach with loud music playing, walked until I found my spot - by some rocks, laid down my little rug, for my picnic, and just sat in the roar of the surf. The good weather had brought out a lot of walkers (or maybe these hardy people walk the beach in wind and rain too - a lot of them had dogs), so quite a few gave me a second glance as they murmured "Great day" or "Mild, isn't it?", but I still felt like I had time entirely to myself. I gathered some shells, sat some more, and then walked on in a circle through some woods back to my car, with a pause at a picnic seat on a height to survey the beach for another while (and to finish off my chocolate!).

There was so much that was different about doing this in this season. A winter picnic isn't plagued by flies, doesn't have dry sand blowing in your face. On the right day, I would highly recommend it! Walking through the woods, I saw things I wouldn't notice later in the year. One gigantic oak, devoid of leaves, showed up its high branches, covered in so much moss that now ferns have taken root there. It looked so magical and wild, so ancient and special... I wished I had a working camera, but it seems in some way that on this occasion, I was meant to just be feeding my inner artist, not doing any art. I didn't bring a notebook or pen, sketchbook or pencil. I had a book with me, but didn't read. I just soaked up feeling good. Ah, but ideas - for more dates. ... Along the beach came a string of horses, just ambling along. Some of them were being led, so I presume the riders weren't experienced, and my inner 14-year old started yelling "I want to do that. I want to ride a horse along the beach" So, I promised her! - It's going to have to happen! In the village near the beach, there was a bric-a-brac shop, and I thought I'll go back there some time (or find antique shops, just to browse).

I don't plan to do the entire check-in here. I've written it in my journal, and have already commented on some of the issues here. I did my pages seven mornings (do I get a gold star?)

One issue (is it an issue) - one thing I noticed was this 14-year old (mentioned above). Now she just appeared out of the blue today. Last time I did the Artist's Way, I was accompanied by an 8-year-old. The 14-year-old - well, I know this is me before Life happened, and her appearance made me feel a little bit sad in some ways. I really didn't know who I was at 14, felt like a wisp of smoke, and still here I am, and it's almost that I have to reclaim this girl, or recognise her ... I mention this because it came so unexpectedly to me. I think I'm going to need to focus on nurturing her in my artist's dates. Ok.

What else did I notice? A feeling of clearing going on. Making space, getting delayed tasks (little domestic things) out of the way, rising energy, and connections falling into place - right person, right book, right comment at the right time.

It's been a very good week. Here's to Week 3!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Gratitudes and Other Things

Coming to the end of week 2, I spent some time today at a few of the tasks, and generally mulling over how it's been - and I noticed something. I keep a "Gratitude Journal", in which, each night, just before sleep, I write Ten things from today for which I am grateful. I very often find myself repeating a few of the standard blessings for which I am always thankful - air to breathe, friends, my son... but the past week has seemed richer in some way. I seem to be noticing small things for which I am exceedingly grateful - the single crocus bud showing its cream colour, a slice of orange, an old favourite song turning up on the radio - and think this is part of the effect of the Artist's Way. Noticing. Being aware. There are nights I want to let my list run on to 11, 12... (there have been nights I have!) In any event, I now find myself feeling grateful for having so many things to be grateful for.

Other Things
Besides that, I noticed that I'm doing something I also did last time regarding the tasks. Resisting a number of them, telling myself I don't need to do that particular one (pick your excuse, but it boils down to "because I'm so highly evolved, I don't need to learn that particular lesson"), and then, when I make myself try it anyway, there are new learnings, new insights there for me anyway. For instance, because I "believed" each of the affirmations, I thought I didn't have to work with them. Well, I made myself repeat the list aloud twice, and realised that there was ONE to which my inner self was making a very sceptical "Oh Yeah?" response. - I am willing to experience my creative energy. I realised I doubt that, I doubt how much energy there is there, and whether I'm willing to let it flow, and then, writing on it, this is what I said:

But, even if I doubt it, it is flowing. The evidence is around me - in my home, in my life. I have creative energy. I'd be a dead thing if I didn't. And the more aligned I become, - through the "spiritual tai-chi" of the morning pages, the more the energy will flow. - This is how it works. You don't have to believe in the energy to feel its effect.

Just writing that built energy. Doing this builds energy.

Those have been some of my almost-ended week 2 musings!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Questions on SoulCollage

Two comments on my last post picked up on item 2 in my list - SoulCollage(TM) cards. (I didn't put the trademark on the word in that post). The process is one devised by Seena B. Frost, and is wonderfully rewarding and enriching for me - and for many people who work with it. Kathryn - don't be daunted! - start ripping images that call you from magazines, and put them somewhere until you feel called to do something with them. There are two great websites - Seena's own website - check out the gallery, and facilitator Ann Marie Bennett has a site with loads of information and suggestions for using the process at I'm unfortunately having no success uploading any of my cards here, but there are plenty to see on the galleries on both sites.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Twenty things

Twenty things I enjoy doing
1 Chop vegetables
2 Make SoulCollage cards
3 Snuggle in a blanket on the couch watching a movie
4 Explore new places
5 Gather shells and pebbles
6 Eat out with sisters and friends
7 Have friends in for coffee / meals
8 Dip between 3 or 4 poetry books at a time for an hour or two
9 Breakfast outdoors (in the right weather)
10 Play with paint - oils especially
11 Grow things from seed
12 Papier mache - vases, bowls, boxes
13 Play with beads
14 Crochet patchwork
15 Go to afternoon movies
16 Walks in woods
17 Picnic
18 Drive alone with loud music playing
19 Surf the net
20 Hear people's Auntie and Granny stories

.... Most exercises are written out in my notebook. Here I sat at the PC to do this. Don't know why. And I find many are things I do quite often. None are going to feel forbidden. Well... Let's see which one I'll do next. I like the idea of a winter picnic. Maybe not the reality, but the idea is nice. - A flask of hot chocolate is essential, I think.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I'm experimenting to see if I can add a picture to the blog. Sunset over Mull in September of last year (2005) Pretty, isn't it?

One week past, another one beginning

Having just returned from a few days away from computer and home, there are a lot of blogs to catch up on, and so much has been happpening for so many people on the Artists Way... I just want to say Well done, everyone, Well done. Well done to everyone who says they plan to doggedly work through it, doing it as laid down, going through exercises in turn. And well done to everyone who's deciding to adjust, re-fit, work with the bits that excite them. It will be very interesting at the end to see what's happened for us all. I fall somewhere in the middle - doing Morning Pages every day (well, I did in week 1, even the morning I had an exam to sit, and the mornings I was travelling), planning and taking Artists Dates. But I can't face doing ALL the exercises again. Some seem they will just be repeats, but when I made myself go ahead and do the 5 lives - amazing little doors opening that are very exciting for me.

Anyone noticing a pattern of But... and then... but here? It's exciting, isn't it? My Week 1 check-in crystallised that idea that my critic has learnt to let me do certain things, but not others. My challenge is to teach him that it's ok for me to risk new things. ... And on the subject of doing that, I was inspired after I listed the 5 lives to take one, and start planning for it... pipe-dreaming... and then to get a scrap-book to paste in images related to it (I know I'm being coy and not saying what the life is... let it sit in its own dark space to germinate a little longer before I bring it out into the light).

Also, out of the exercises and the check-in, I realised I have a huge, huge gallery of creative champions, and precious few creative monsters (if any, in reality). To write about my creative champions made me feel Very rich, very blessed, very lucky.

Good to be back. .... Oh. And my other modification of the Artists Way. Sunday suits me much better to start a week... so from now on I'm going to be one day behind.

And... my artist's date for week 1 involved buying a scrapbook and coloured pencils... and my artist's date for week 2 was a trip to see Breakfast on Pluto - marvellous movie. Aaah!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Oh, those Creative Monsters

The first proper post here, and it will likely be the only one in Week 1, as I'm going to be away from the computer for a couple of days, which will bring me into week2. But I will be able to bring my Morning Pages Journal with me, and fully intend to get an Artist's Date in as well. Had never thought of cemeteries as creative spots - although I like to visit them, and my mother just LOVED to visit graveyards - she felt you learnt more about a place there than by talking to the living inhabitants of a town, sometimes. Maybe.

So. Those creative monsters. What I've realised is that even though I thought I'd slain my critic during my 1998 foray into the Artist's Way, what I really succeeded in doing was in convincing him (he must be male, somehow) that it was really safe for me to try a range of new creative activities. - I got away since then with doing a whole load of stuff - leading groups, publishing my poetry, reading in public, gaining qualifications in therapies that really interest me - so many new experiences. So what I wasn't prepared for at all, when I found this group, and said "I might as well start up a Blog, then", to have a howling voice inside telling me that that's "dangerous stuff... scary stuff... people will laugh at you, you'll get it wrong... you won't be able to do it... it will lead to disaster... " Get the picture? So, there are a whole new set of boundaries to be breached, and the critic this time around needs to learn that it's ok for me to try ANYTHING, not just the things that are almost safe.

The very strange thing is that all this happened right before I'd even opened the first chapter, about Recovering a Sense of Safety. So it's unfolding as it should. I have a couple of lovely quotes that are holding me. One is in the book: To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. - Joseph Chilton Pearce

Another was sent in an email from a friend: When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly. -Edward Teller

And this one, which turned up on the Kaleidosoul website today was about community and encouragement of coming together: We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness. ---Thich Nhat Hanh

Roll on week 2

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The First Post

A test to see whether this will work... Out there... ???