I will be quoting Julia Cameron's 'The Artist's Way' and Doreen Virtue's Chakra Clearing in this weeks blog because both are very powerful and in great need this week.
Just as a recovering alcoholic must avoid the first drink, the recovering artist must avoid taking the first think. For us, that think is really self-doubt and self hate as Julia explains in week 2 of The Artist's Way. Self doubt turns into self sabotage, as we learn to unblock our creativity, we become excited, proud and thrilled of our accomplishments and this new journey we are on, so we share with others who may unfortunately be blocked creatives themselves. A few things can happen here that might block us again and allow us to easily self sabotage and not even realize it, which is explained in more depth on page 48 of The Artist's Way.
I spent 9 months in Australia and during that time I experienced a new way of life, of seeing things and really truly seeing what part I've played in all my problems. That experience alone freed me and has forever changed that deep seeded pain or anxiety I would feel when hurt by others.
Now I'm not saying that I no longer get hurt or upset, but I can say I now learn from every experience that will only better me for the next time. I will learn what experiences better my creativity, or hurt my energy. My first month there I experienced letting go of that feeling of loneliness I thought I was doomed for, the last week of that month my senses and inner intuition were slowly being unblocked. A confidence entered my voice and aura again. For the next month I experienced what Julia calls the Crazy Makers, local and abroad. You can't fight with Crazy Makers and you can't win with Crazy Makers, trust me and trust Julia.
I won't describe the Crazy Makers but will suggest buying her book. I too can be a crazymaker if left untreated. So once I realized intuitively and with the help of my new fellowship and simple suggestions that I honestly, wholeheartedly followed; that sacred circle of protection surrounded me. Fear and negativity stayed on the outside of that circle, faith and this gift of creative flow entered the circle. I slowed down and enjoyed life, 9 months felt long and amazing. I could describe everyday because it was a spectacular gift, I saw and experienced something beautiful every time I stepped out the door.
“Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” -Eddie Cantor
I didn't solve all my problems, I learned how to substitute my negative thinking with positive. I practiced positive affirmations and that alone became an antidote for my self-hate and self-doubt. I also learned that other peoples problems were not my own and what others thought of me, truly was none of my business. Once I was free of that burden I started to enjoy life and I could add more things to my daily practices like meditation. I went to 90 meetings in 90 days as suggested as a program of recovery because I really wanted to be better. If I went to a couple of live drawing classes, or took a few guitar lessons, or maybe even a few cooking classes I would not be an expert in any of these without practice, change does not happen overnight or without complete commitment. It takes practice to change habits, just because I know something doesn't mean I will remember it. Ex. I know if I say Goodmorning and smile I will most likely get the same back, if I suck my teeth and roll my eyes I may get the same back or find myself in silence, if my doctor says daily stretching will help my injuries and I don't do them but complain that I'm in pain, then what am I expecting. These are just examples of knowing what is right or what to do and how we just don't do them or forget.
So with that said I have become good at practicing, and the benefit of that is when I stray or fall back into old patterns I can catch myself pretty quickly. When I do I don't beat myself up for the mistake, I give thanks that I pulled myself out. What I have is a willingness to learn and surrender, I ask for help doing things that I see work for others and I try it and sometimes fail, but then I try again and again and again. Below is what I was experiencing in my life prior to my recovery:
- 2-3 hours of sleep max
- 3 different anti-depressants
- Alcohol and drugs as my self prescribed medicine to help with physical pain then emotional pain
- Paranoia of what others thought
- Drama seeking
- Always sick
- Physical pain - Daily
- Anxiety all day every day
- STINKING THINKING - Never enough hours in the day to do everything, always thinking and planning but doing nothing
- Never went out because I disliked the way I looked
- I did not eat regularly or well (sometimes this is still a problem)
- i always wanted to do for others instead of myself (a trait I thought was good until I learned why it's not)
- I complained what seemed to be about everything (people, institutions, the world)
- I didn't just have unrealistic expectations I had constant 'expectations' of others, so I trained myself to always be let down.
And thats just a few of the massive negativity that controlled my life. I dedicated an hour of my day everyday for my meetings, I meditated regularly around the 4th month still trying to get to my daily meditation goal. I slowly changed my thinking then stopped my medication (not recommended without a doctor) my sleep became even more disturbed but part of the withdrawal symptoms. My sleep eventually improved with a combination of meditation, positive affirmations before sleep, prayer, and most importantly a sleep schedule, I needed to rise early and sleep early and I started getting 8 hours a night. I had regular meals, my physical pain started to improve, my anxiety disappeared and I think I was only sick for 2 days in the last year. I no longer expected others to do or be what I wanted them to do or be, just like if you have expectations of me; I will surely let you down. The only people that understand me now are the ones in the rooms, or ones that live their life bettering themselves somehow.
I took on simple tasks and completed them, then I added more as I could; keeping an eye on the risks of my recovery. If it overwhelmed me too much or started to give me anxiety then I knew it was too soon. I learned and became comfortable with the word 'NO' and that took a lot of practice.
The reason I am talking about this now, the week after Christmas is because I just caught myself in old habits again and this is a dangerous road. I've been here since the end of July, making it the quickest 5 months I've experienced in a long time and I can't remember the beauty in each day. This tells me I need to look at the things that I'm not doing or focusing on. I have amazing moments but there's a flow thats missing, that I have allowed to be disrupted. I have allowed myself to use the Crazymakers to block my creative flow, I have allowed my own crazymaker to block myself and deter me from my trajectory.
Today, day, daily, those words rolled off my tongue in conversations every day, I lived them, they changed the way I did things.
- Today I will go and do this.
- One day at a time
- Daily meditation to start and end my day
- Today I will learn something new
- Daily Practice
- Today I will be better
Instead the last month has become a combination of tomorrow, or next week, or maybe and my 'No's have become Yes'
Chapter Two of 'Chakra Clearing' reminds me again how important daily practice is.
Meditations to clear your Chakras
"Almost ever day we have fear-based thoughts. We frequently encounter people or situations that inspire fear of some kind. Consequently, we may absorb fearful energy into our chakras. For that reason, it's a good idea to clear your chakras every day, just as you bathe and wash your face daily, so does your energy body benefit from consistent cleansing."
You only need a willingness to release a negative mindset, we only need to be willing to heal, and it is done. Affirmations are key and effective "I am willing to release...". I often say "I isolate and release all energy that is not mine, so be it and so it is" this was suggested by a friend and has helped tremendously.
So why did I choose the title 'Avoid taking the first Think'
Because I took it and I can't even tell you when, but I did and it felt comfortable and familiar. I thought I'll figure things out later, I'll worry about things that don't concern me, I'll get involved, I'll tell you what to do, I'll worry about the future, and so on.
I temporarily forget where I was going...
But the number one, top of the list, most important thing is my recovery. Because without that everything else I'm working towards disappears. The blog picture above are my feet planted on the floor in a room with other alcoholics asking for a help right before I left for my holiday. I then received calls over the weekend from someone I met that day. Thats the gift I get every time I go to meetings. I am grateful to be aware entering 2017.
Love & Serenity, Jamie