During the Artist Way process you’re asked to commit to a one hour date with yourself per week. Getting off to an excellent start – I missed week 1. Yay for me.
The plan for week 2 was a trip to the beach to read and watch the waves. Mother Nature disagreed and I found myself on a beach with whipping wind, cramping calves and on the verge of tears. Luckily, that smart little cookie of an inner voice said: Well, you could just go to the coffee shop and write. So, I did.
It was perfect. Vanilla tea, my own table, and quiet. I wrote, even a few object writes, and stared off into space. Relaxation took over. Julia Cameron says that morning pages send your radio waves out and artist dates are you tuning in. Can’t say I received much that day – instead it was like someone had turned down the volume on a TV blaring infomercials.
I remember back at the start of therapy almost a year ago, I was allowing myself to nap on the couch one afternoon. After about 10 minutes of dozing, my mind was flooded with the sounds of a rush-hour train station – all this street noise, people talking, phones ringing, announcements overhead. It was surreal. I didn’t dream any scene, but I heard it all. Suddenly, the sound was sucked out and I woke up. Somehow I knew that I’d just listened to the chaos of my internal dialogue.
So week 2’s date seemed to quiet the noise.
This week I planned something quite indulgent. I allowed myself to sign up for a class at the Paper Source (I wish I could live there).
The class wasn’t difficult and had a mix of customers and employees. I seemed to be the only non-crafter able to keep up, it was a sloooooooooow class, but not too painful. Somehow I wasn’t attached to being better or smarter than anyone, I just did my thing. And I made this…
Can’t say it was the most challenging or inspiring class ever, but that’s probably OK for me right now. I need to slide into these things, give myself time to decide if I actually like it before buying tons of supplies and feeling guilty for my over-commitment.
Previous times I’ve tried the artist way, I didn’t allow myself anything. A cup of tea at a cafe was a lot to justify and forget about a $40 craft class. What a waste of time and money I thought. Watching a movie alone was really the farthest I got – I saw Sylvia, The Hours and Distric 9 this way (the latter in a theater. Alone. How adventurous!)
But now that I’m going with the mentality of I can do whatever I want, apsht! a movie alone doesn’t seem to cut it. Even tonight. Yes, I learned something new but I wanted something more. It may sound like I’m putting high expectations on my ADs, but I’m not. There’s no pressure to have an extravagant one, just to make sure I do one each week.
I don’t know. Maybe I just don’t like book binding and my inner-creative would much rather coffee and writing. Maybe I want a sign that I’m moving in the right direction, or that I should be feeling more creative or something by now… I’m not disappointed so much that I feel energized, almost greedy. Now that I know the basics of a silly book binding kit, I want to make them for all my friends! Now that I’ve gone out for tea to write I want to go to every coffee shop on this side of LA! Now that I saw a movie alone I want to go to a poetry reading!
My fiance tells a story about his little self at age 2. He’s so blind that he can only see things super-up-close, like inches, from his nose. He spent a lot of time as a child with his face pressed to the ground to see his toys, his hands, his blankets. When they finally realized the problem and got him glasses, the story goes, he would.not.shut.up. He started yelling the names of things with abandon. The ability to see things clearly sparked him so deeply that it was as if he was seeing the world for the first time. In reality, he was. But now that he was able to see he was able to name.
That’s how I’m feeling.
The past few months, the inner shift, the refocus on myself has created such a passion. Now that I can see, I can name. I can say what I like and what I don’t. I can say No. I have choices and I choose what I want. It’s so simplistic and yet, so freeing.
I had no idea how fuzzy my world was until now. I will keep sending those radio waves out in the mornings and tuning in a few times per week. Excited to see what other parts of my story I’ve been missing.