Week 1 - Recovering a Sense of Safety

Week 1 - Recovering a sense of safety

Hi Ladies, It was a pleasure to be able to have our first weekly checkin at Filtered Coffee in the Bronx.  As you know some of us are now in other states, out of the country, attending the march in Washington amongst other daily life things but we have made a commitment to keep ourselves and each other on track over the next 12 weeks.  Our commitment is to just do the best we can to unblock our creative self and to share the process and repeat and most importantly to love ourselves through the process and have fun.

Below every weeks blog will be a snapshot of each participants weekly questions and answers so you can join us on our journey.  We invite our participants and viewers to leave comments, ask questions or just share some encouraging words with us.

 

Meet a few of the amazing women who are taking part in this journey.  Megan, Ebonie, Jessica, Jamie, Oreita (on the phone), Meg (who's 16hrs ahead of us)

Meet a few of the amazing women who are taking part in this journey.  Megan, Ebonie, Jessica, Jamie, Oreita (on the phone), Meg (who's 16hrs ahead of us)

 

Week One Tasks/Exercises

There's a lot in each chapter, but I'm going to start with only a few of the tasks/exercises since you already have morning pages and an artist date to set.

  • Identifying core negative beliefs and transforming them. To identify your core negative beliefs, start with positive affirmations. Choose an affirmation such as "I (your name), am a brilliant and prolific writer [painter, potter, poet, or whatever you are]", and write that 10 times in a row. As you do this, listen for the negative "blurts" of your unconscious. Whatever comes up, write it down. Did you hear something like, "you're just kidding yourself!", or "you're not good enough"? Write them all down. Look at the list and find out where your blurts come from. Who in your past said these things to you? Once you've done this, use your Morning Pages to turn the negative blurts to positive affirmations. For example, "You're just kidding yourself" can be turned to "I believe in my talents and my right to share them."
  • Time Travel: "List three old enemies of your creative self-worth". This may be parents, peers, partners, lovers, siblings, other family members, or teachers. Thing back to people who made you feel ashamed or worthless or otherwise negative about your creativity. The author calls these people "your historic monsters". Keep a running list throughout this 12 week process, but for now, identify at least three.
  • Time Travel: "Select and write out one horror story from your monster hall of fame". However long or short it needs to be, write down what happened and details about where you were, who it was, how you felt, etc. "Include whatever rankles you about the incident: 'and then I remember she gave me this real fakey smile and patted my head...'" You can include a sketch of your old "monster" and then "draw a nice red X through it".

Check-In

During our first week check-in we discussed the following:

  1. Briefly introduce yourself. Name, creative outlet of choice, etc.

  2. How many days did you do your artist’s pages and how was the experience?

  3. What did you do for your Artist’s Date? How did it feel?

  4. Did you do any or all of the tasks this week? Did anything interesting come up that you would like to share with the group?

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

  6. Blocks. We are all blocked artists, thats why were here! 

Artist’s Way Contract

I, ___________________, understand that I am undertaking an intensive, guided encounter with my own creativity. I commit myself to the twelve- week duration of the course. I, ___________________, commit to weekly reading, daily morning pages, a weekly artist date, and the fulfilment of each weeks tasks.

I, ___________________, further understand that this course will raise issues and emotions for me to deal with. I, ___________________, commit myself to excellent self-careadequate sleep, proper nutrition, exercise, and pampering for the duration of the course.

______________________________________ (signature)

___________________ (date)

(source: The Artists Way, by Julia Cameron) 

 

Jessica Ozment

Jessica Ozment

Artist’s Way Group – Week 1: Recovering a Sense of Safety
  1. Briefly introduce yourself. Name, creative outlet of choice, etc.

    Hello! Jessica Ozment here. I'm a photographer. I'd like to reestablish a practice of fine art making (I imagine collage and painting combined with photography, perhaps videography?) through the Artist's Way. I'm doing this course in a cyclic way, going from week 8 back to week 1 to be a part of this group. Through this process, I've already made a decision to pursue photography as my profession right now (as opposed to going back to school for a medical tech program). I'm hoping revisiting the course with the support of a group will deepen my confidence in this decision and nurture me as I set out on this path. 
     
  2. How many days did you do your artist’s pages and how was the experience?

    5 of 7 days. Writing often feels like work for me, and most mornings that is exactly how the journaling feels. I do enjoy the feeling afterwards: I am lighter and more open, and a little more focused. 
  3. What did you do for your Artist’s Date? How did it feel?

    I went to B&H, the photo/video equipment store on 9th Avenue and mostly looked at camera bags. I spoke with a rep about all the various types, which was great because she personally owned many of them and had first-hand insight into how they perform. I don't know what I want or what bag will work best for me longterm, so I was shy about asking for help at first in a typically feminine way that doesn't serve me well. I'm glad the rep approached me and was so generous with her experience, because although I didn't resolve what I wanted, I now know what to consider in making this decision.
  4. Did you do any or all of the tasks this week? Did anything interesting come up that you would like to share with the group?

    Imaginary lives: personal trainer, farmer, stay-at-home parent, art dealer/gallery owner, menu planner (is that even a thing?)

    I tried to track down my first high school art teacher. She was pivotal in giving me the self-confidence and support to pursue a career in art. I didn't find her, or anyone who knows/knew her, but I wrote the thank-you note suggested in Chapter One to her anyway. 
  5. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery?

    I'm trying to sketch out a business plan and a concrete set of goals/tasks to start on my dream of making a career of photography. This is overwhelming and scary, and I'm battling 'blocks' left and right even trying to approach this task.  
  6. Blocks. We are all blocked artists, that’s why we’re here! But right now some of our blocks may be keeping us from diving into The Artist’s Way, which is a shame. Take a moment to write down the first three blocks that come to mind. With the help of your group, think of some creative ways to get unblocked.

    Distraction, "ADD," "multi-tasking," not committing time/not carving out time, not making it a priority, not taking it seriously, not having faith in the process

 

 

Megan

  1. Briefly introduce yourself. Name, creative outlet of choice, etc. Attach a headshot/avatar to represent yourself on the site.
    Megan, professional photographer (food, product, travel, interiors/architecture).
     
  2. How many days did you do your artist’s pages and how was the experience?
    I’m on day 4 (I was just invited on Monday so let me catch up :)) I tried Artists Way once in the past so I’m familiar with the concept. I feel lighter after writing.
     
  3. What did you do for your Artist’s Date? How did it feel?
    I have yet to do this.
     
  4. Did you do any or all of the tasks this week? Did anything interesting come up that you would like to share with the group?
    I tried most of them and had real trouble with naming enemies or horror stories. I think most of my doubts come from myself and not others influences. I also have a legitimately awful memory and just can't recall most things (help with that would be great!)
     
  5. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery?
    no
     
  6. Blocks. We are all blocked artists, that’s why we’re here! But right now some of our blocks may be keeping us from diving into The Artist’s Way, which is a shame. Take a moment to write down the first three blocks that come to mind. With the help of your group, think of some creative ways to get unblocked.

   

 1. The time commitment is difficult. Dedicating 30+ min to writing is hard and the list of tasks seemed a bit heavy. I have done the morning pages in the middle of the day so I hope that’s not cheating. 

     2. I’d like some ideas for artist dates. It’s hard to come up with things to that I wouldn’t normally do already (i.e. museum, exercise, random dance party are all kinds of things I just do anyway) 

     3. The use of “God” (non-believer here) in the exercises is a hump I have to get over. I’ve been just crossing it out. Jess and I discussed how to handle it but I’d love to hear what anyone else has to say

1. Greetings! *Ebonie Simone* here, a spiritual BE*ing having a human experience by making the world beautiful by hand & heart! This shows up as visual art(inSTILLations, fashion/jewelry design, styling, & BE*ing), stylistic spiritual consultations(creative closet organizing, revamping, & purging), and teaching(fashion design perspective, styling, meta/quantum physics & currently training to add Yoga/Pilates to the mix). Having a very human experience during childhood through teenage years, reaching maturity and awareness of my subconscious mind...I chose to delve deeper into the unknown and hidden aspects of what we call 'reality'. In short, I'm an artist. 

 2.  I did the morning pages five days of seven. The experience was cathartic and enlightening. It was interesting to feel 'forced' in a way to write. I've kept a journal most of my life...you know the quote that goes I don't know what I think until I write it down!? Well that's my sentiment as well, although with these pages it filters out like a chore in some moments. Regardless, I keep writing...even if it becomes a gripe of sorts. 

3.  I went to my safe haven bookstore for my artist date where I purchased new stones for my altar. It felt amazing because it was a random visit where I simply allowed the Universe to guide me. The stones I came in contact with were completely new additions to my geological rolodex and I learned more about myself in the process. In general, that's my philosophy of life...go with the flow, however now I'm thinking of next week's artist date and how I should PLAN it and not be as whimsical. 

     4. I did several of the tasks this week, yet not all. Rather than listing which I did, its more important to note what came up! All this muck and mud from childhood memories came up. What may seem minuscule upon first thought, when coming up through this work, it became a release of old cobwebs which had been building up in themselves. 

Having to sit on my hands to hide nail polish was a hindrance to my artist and as was feeling like a possible ankle break could be the end of my dance career and then I would have nothing to fall back on. These subtle wing clippings at creating BE*ing a way of life became a new way of being, responsible and acting my age...whatever that meant. These scenarios had come up in past work, however this time around...I'm sure to write a letter to finally burn those spiders. 

     5.  This whole process has been quite rejuvenating. 

     6.  I can't find the money, its going to take too long, and and whose going to give me the money!? first three blocks that come to mind. <------in relation to these blocks. i actually laugh at them now, because the work is happening anyway. the business plan is in the works, and the money will reveal itself when the time is right. And its likely going to come from the government and a few private investors. 

 

1. Briefly, introduce yourself. Name, creative outlet of etc. Name: Oreita but my friends call me O or omazing. Eh, it works. I absolutely LOVE to travel because it allows me to learn about the world first-hand. And I make fantastic friends along the way. I love to volunteer. I loving being of service in a positive manner and best of all, I get to grow, develop and change the world for the better. I am a cofounder of MFI, a small nonprofit in Portland, JA. We focus on education and community building. I am also an amateur photographer. Photography allows me to momentarily freeze time as well as to speak in a language that is void of words but not volume is importance. 

2. How many days did you do your artist’s ages and how was the experience? In all honesty, I managed to complete two days. I was suffering from the nasty flu. As for the experience of it, well, it wasn’t pleasurable considering I was sick.

3. What did I do for my Artist’s date? How did it feel? Again, being sick and snowed in, I couldn’t go out, so I got out my photography gear and made sure all was functioning and then organized a series of interview questions for an upcoming segment of ONE HUMAN TO ANOTHER. Not exactly what I think an Artist Date is mean to be but it involved art and me, so yeah. 

4. Did you do any or all of the tasks this week? Yes, I did. I chose numbers 7 and 8. Number 7 was a must. I wrote two very important letters to friends. I emailed both and got in return massive love and support. Number eight—Imaginary Lives…was cool. No matter the life I chose, an important aspect was being of service to others. Christ! Does this mean I should be a Nun? 

5. Were they any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? No, I don’t think so. 

6. Writer’s block. The only thing I can think of is procrastination and having one too many projects—things to do in a day. One way we can unblock our creative mind is to find a comfortable place, a place without distraction so that we can focus on what it is we want to accomplish for that hour or day.  

  1. Briefly introduce yourself. Name, creative outlet of choice, etc. Attach a headshot/avatar to represent yourself on the site.
    Jamie Jones - I look forward to describing who I am and have a better understanding of what my passion is during this process.  I have been a jack of all trades and a supporter of other artists for many years.  The past year I have put more focus towards an invention I have and drawing  and turning them into murals.  My biggest creative thing I'm drawn to now would be photography.
     
  2. How many days did you do your artist’s pages and how was the experience? 3 of 7
     
  3. What did you do for your Artist’s Date? How did it feel?
    I saw Marga Gomez, a comedian from San Francisco.  It was great to listen to stories about her life here in NY and in SF, I laughed and was transported back in time to a life I also treasured when I was in San Francisco. 
  4. Did you do any or all of the tasks this week? Did anything interesting come up that you would like to share with the group?  I procrastinated and did not get any of the tasks done, I had a really hard time balancing life with anything else.  
     
  5. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery?  Resentments towards others came up a lot and I'm working through that with someone.  I had to take a look at my boundaries again.
     
  6. Blocks. We are all blocked artists, that’s why we’re here! But right now some of our blocks may be keeping us from diving into The Artist’s Way, which is a shame. Take a moment to write down the first three blocks that come to mind. With the help of your group, think of some creative ways to get unblocked. Pointing out other peoples faults, leaving things to last minute, being physically and mentally exhausted this week because of a reduced sleep schedule.

Starting 'The Artist's Way' Creative Cluster 2017

Our first Creative Cluster is closed for the next 12 weeks.  Welcome to our group: Meg, Ebonie, Jessica, Oreita and Jamie. 

I often refer to this book in my personal blogs but have never honestly completed the 12 week course.  I came across Julia's website http://juliacameronlive.com/  and read her guide on how to start a creative cluster.  I would love to start the new year discovering and recovering my creative self.  I am looking for 3 other people to join me as recommended by Julia, keeping the cluster at no more than 4.  Please comment if you are interested in joining with a start date of January 7th, but of course an appropriate check-in will be determined by the group.  

I don't know if we will encounter any issues completing this on a blog style, but I would like to start the conversation.  P.S. - I am holding a spot for a good friend Meg if she accepts then I we will need 2 more people.  Lets have a good time in 2017

A Guide For Starting Creative Clusters

Do I need permission to teach The Artist’s Way?

No. Anyone can teach the course or begin a cluster by following the book and the guidelines below. It is my belief that creative recovery at its best is a nonhierarchical, peer-run, collective process.

There are no “accredited” Artist’s Way teachers. Avoid anyone who offers to “certify” you as a teacher-- there is no such thing.

Guidelines

  1. Use a Twelve-Week Process with a Weekly Gathering of Two to Three Hours. The morning pages and artist dates are required of everyone in the group, including facilitators. The exercises are done in order in the group, with everyone, including the facilitator, answering the questions and then sharing the answers in clusters of four, one chapter per week. Do not share your morning pages with the group or anyone else. Do not reread your morning pages until later in the course, if you are required to do so by your facilitator or your own inner guidance.
  2. Avoid Self-Appointed Gurus. If there is any emissary, it is the work itself, as a collective composed of all who take the course, at home or otherwise. Each person is equally a part of the collective, no one more than another. While there may be"teachers," facilitators who are relied on during the twelve-week period to guide others down the path, such facilitators need to be prepared to share their own material and take their own creative risks. This is a dialectic rather than a monologue – an egalitarian group process rather than a hierarchical one.
  3. Listen. We each get what we need from the group process by sharing our own material and by listening to others. We do not need to comment on another person's sharing in order to help that person. We must refrain from trying to"fix" someone else. Each group devises a cooperative creative "song" of artistic recovery. Each group's song is unique to that group – like that of a pod or family of whales, initiating and echoing to establish their position. When listening, go around the circle without commenting unduly on what is heard. The circle, as a shape, is very important. We are intended to witness, not control, one another. When sharing exercises, clusters of four within the larger groups are important: five tends to become unwieldy in terms of time constraints; three doesn't allow for enough contrasting experience. Obviously, not all groups can be divided into equal fours. Just try to do so whenever you can.
  4. Respect One Another. Be certain that respect and compassion are afforded equally to every member. Each person must be able to speak his own wounds and dreams. No one is to be"fixed" by another member of the group. This is a deep and powerful internal process. There is no one right way to do this. Love is important. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to one another.
  5. Expect Change in the Group Makeup. Many people will – some will not – fulfill the twelve-week process. There is often a rebellious or fallow period after the twelve weeks, with people returning to the disciplines later. When they do, they continue to find the process unfolding within them a year, a few years, or many years later. Many groups have a tendency to drive apart at eight to ten weeks (creative U-turns) because of the feelings of loss associated with the group's ending. Face the truth as a group; it may help you stay together.
  6. Be Autonomous. You cannot control your own process, let alone anyone else's. Know that you will feel rebellious occasionally – that you won't want to do all of your morning pages and exercises at times in the twelve weeks. Relapse is okay. You cannot do this process perfectly, so relax, be kind to yourself, and hold on to your hat. Even when you feel nothing is happening, you will be changing at great velocity. This change is a deepening into your own intuition, your own creative self. The structure of the course is about safely getting across the bridge into new realms of creative spiritual awareness.
  7. Be Self-Loving. If the facilitator feels somehow "wrong" to you, change clusters or start your own. Continually seek your own inner guidance rather than outer guidance. You are seeking to form an artist-to-artist relationship with the Great Creator. Keep gurus at bay. You have your own answers within you.

The Artist’sWay and all my other “teaching” books are the distillate of forty years of artistic practice. They are experiential books intended to teach people to process and transform life through acts of creativity. All books and all creative clusters should be practiced through creative action, not through theory.

It is my belief and my experience as a teacher that all of us are healthy enough to practice creativity. It is not a dangerous endeavor requiring trained facilitators. It is our human birthright and something we can do gently and collectively. Creativity is like breathing – pointers may help, but we do the process ourselves. Creative clusters, where we gather as peers to develop our strength, are best regarded as tribal gatherings, where creative beings raise, celebrate, and actualize the creative power which runs through us all.