Week 5 - Beginning the tasks
The Journey to this Journey
In some of my previous posts, I've referred to "last time I did AW" or "back in 1998, this is what happened". I've been comparing, and using my first go-round with Artist's Way as a point of reference for this experience, but so much is different in my life now, it just has to be a different experience. The outcome of that AW was far-reaching, deep-reaching - led me into areas of work, of study, of creativity that I hadn't really thought were possible for me until then. I've since trained as a counsellor, (almost) completed a degree in psychology, published a volume of poetry, run classes in creative writing, and generally built a multi-faceted life that suits and nurtures me very well.
But my life as it was constructed then saw me as a stay-at-home mother of a 12-year-old. He is now in his 2nd year away at college. I was then a wife, but that ended 3 years ago. So in 1998, many of my wishes and plans were dependent on their effect on my (erstwhile) husband and my son. There were more responsibilities involved in eldercare at that time too. I had to struggle through feeling selfish and demanding in expressing wants for myself alone - however accommodating people might be when I did express the need for time, or space, or whatever...
Now - I'm in a position where I don't answer to anyone, have to explain myself to anyone, take anyone very much into account when I make plans. If anything is holding me back from carrying out my dreams and wishes... it is me alone. I can blame no-one else.
All of this is preamble to the exercises like Forbidden Joys. (p.101) See, my initial reaction is well, I'm allowed to do everything. This exercise doesn't apply to me... But I made myself write down ten things I would love to do... and lo and behold, there were ten things I would love to do, which are entirely possible for me to do, and still I don't do/haven't done them. So, who stopped me? What would I love to do? OK.... Rent a cottage by the sea for a month to write, shop for a new wardrobe with a personal shopper, take a bellydancing class, get my back-garden terraced, dump and replace my bed, take a watercolour painting class, have a neighbourhood coffee-morning, learn to play guitar, go to a spa for a weekend, take a break in Paris or Amsterdam.
So, the book said post the list somewhere visible. - I said - Visible? Where people would see? Visible? What would people think?... Aha. Is that why I'm not allowed? What people? (I live alone) So, this is visible, I think. But it's buried in the middle of a bunch of text. So I will post it at home, on the back of a door, where I will have to look at it every day. I will use colour to highlight each item....
And I will stop telling myself that "That exercise doesn't apply to me" It seems the ones that really do are the ones I'm most likely to reject at first sight. (I think I learnt that lesson in Week 1, too, didn't I?)
Incubation, Eggs cracking open, and Germination
Writing in the journal this morning, I said:
I wanted to write something in the blog yesterday, but I somehow didn't really feel inspired. There was something, still, about the number of people I've noticed mentioning feeling they "were cracking open like an egg", or "incubating" Maybe I don't feel quite like that, but certainly an inner stirring, like a seed is germinating, not quite through the surface yet, but causing a restlessness, a movement... a yearning for... what? It is an energy-shift, surely, almost a tingling under the skin, a need for air. I'm turning round and round like the dog looking for the right place to settle, something is astir, surely"
I passed through my garden for a moment, paused to tug out a dead bit of foliage, and next thing, without intending to, there I was gloved and ready for action, and I was clearing debris and tidying around beds, and discovering... stirrings of life, little snouts of bulbs poking through the leafmould, a tiny daffodil head, not yet lifted towards the sun, perfect.
Ah. I let the energy go into filling a barrow with the dead remains of last year's planting, which has protected the soil, and the new growth beginning to burgeon. Happy day. First day of the year in my garden. Happy day.