I’m having a really interesting few weeks. Inadvertently I’d like to add. There’s been a shift in my psyche. Let me explain.
There is a wonderful book for writers called The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. It’s essentially a workbook for drawing out your creativity. Through several exercises and recommendations, chapter by chapter, the intention is to draw out your creative self and re-discover your sense of purpose and have faith in it. A therapist recommended I read and work through it a couple of years ago when I mentioned that although I was a published writer, I had no faith in my abilities nor believed I was capable of taking myself seriously as a writer. I bought it and glanced through it but I wasn’t feeling an overwhelming need for it in my life at that time. My sessions with her were enough for me. So I put the book on my shelf for future use.
Cut to the present day…..about two weeks ago, the black dog of depression popped in for a little visit. He hadn’t been round for a while. He crept in and made himself at home for just a week. This led me to shrink into myself a bit. Not be my crazy, happy, chatty self, not really wanting to talk much or see anyone that much or even remotely try to be that fun, sociable person I am known as. The black dog has visited before but he’s bounded in, teeth gnashing, crashed into my life and completely taken over, wanting constant attention and stopping me from my daily activities. Then he goes away again. This time around he sloped in gently, like an old grandfather and just sat in a chair by the fireplace and kept watch. His presence was felt and it affected me.
I have been pretty lonely and isolated a bit of late. I’m great with my own company. I love it in fact but I also enjoy and am known as the social butterfly I can be and the support to friends, the entertainer, the great host, the unique character etc etc. So during this period of loneliness I got very reflective and analytical and it was then that I decided to pick up my copy of The Artists Way (T.A.W.) book and flicking through the first few pages out of curiosity two weeks ago, I was suddenly motivated to start working on it. It was time.
One of the first exercises in the book is called The Morning Pages (MPs). It’s essentially a diary you write every single day, preferably in the morning, hence the name. Funny that……..Anyway, It’s recommended you write about 3 pages of pure stream of consciousness about anything, literally anything that comes into your mind. Cleaning the oven, your son’s diarrhoea, troubles with a work colleague …anything that is bothering you. Just to extrapolate it onto paper, get it out of your system like throwing out the rubbish every day. Apparently, the act of doing this cleanses your mind, “lightens your load” which will then allow your creativity to come forth more easily. You will find clarity and become inspired or motivated. So the act of the MPs will spiritually cleanse you and “magic” is supposed to enter your life. You will “find the magic”, “The MPs are magical”, “Doing the MPs will change your life” etc……..I found it all very positive and encouraging and supportive.
I made a comment on a specific Facebook group one day that I wasn’t “finding the magic” with the MPs though. I got alot of supportive comments and advice. However, what has happened is that doing the MPs had led me to set my alarm for an hour earlier every morning and now it’s part of my routine to get up, make Tea and sit quietly and serenely writing my MPs while the birds sing and the sun stretches up over our homes for the day. I’m really grateful that doing these MPs has created such an early morning routine for me before the chaos of breakfasts and school runs and I am really enjoying it but magic?? Changing my life?? Nope. Just not feeling it.
A fellow TAW follower and I have been privately messaging one another. I’ll call him “Joe”. He commented on the Facebook group that he is also not “feeling the magic” so we decided to discuss it together. Our messages have solely been about TAW and about how we each individually do our MPs, our routines and how we are feeling. We check in with each other once a week and discuss if anything has changed for us emotionally while writing our MPs.
Today though, I had a bit of an epiphany through our messages. “Joe” disclosed to me today in a message that while writing his MPs this week he suddenly found a solution about a psychological issue he had, to do with representation and symbology. He had finally found the “magic” and he wanted to tell me the good news!! This was a Pivotel moment. Neither of us had yet found the magic from doing our MPs but then all of a sudden it had come to him after weeks of frustration at writing his MPs and not finding any “magic” in the act. He suddenly found a solution in black and white on the screen of his laptop mid-discourse. I was genuinely thrilled for him.
We continued to discuss TAW and the MPs for a while then suddenly it came to ME too! Through the mere act of messaging each other while I was sitting alone in a bar eating lunch, I suddenly found my “magic” too!!! It transpired that, since I have been doing the MPs I actually have got more creative and more proactive with certain areas of my life. Whether that is as a result of the MPs or whether it’s just me actively participating in my purpose in life more (i.e. taking my writing more seriously), I’m not sure but I’m much more focused than I ever was before. When I started writing the MPs two weeks ago my intention was simply to work through the book and be more dedicated to my craft than I have done for many many years. I was hoping that by becoming more dedicated I would find some fulfillment and throw that black dog out the front door.
However, the epiphany that occurred today is that by writing my MPs every day, the mere act of extrapolating my worries and my fears onto paper every morning had indeed “cleared the way” for the rest of my day and creative thoughts and ideas had room now to come forth. Since writing my MPs, I have started doing a writing course online with a published author, I have signed up to a photography course nearby, an activity I have always loved but not yet learnt the craft. Plus I purchased a decent DSLR so I can upload even more of my photographs onto Instagram and hopefully increase my followers who seem to love my photos! I have also signed up for a mindfulness course, something I undertook a few years back and which transformed me totally. The experience was incredibly emotional and caused me to think and behave differently in my every day life. And then I also signed up to a Transcendental Meditation course which, again, is something I am passionate about. Meditation is very different to mindfulness but I believe both are very powerful and essential to maintaining your mental health and to keep that black dog well away from sniffing about! Clearly though, my daily mindfulness and meditation practises have lapsed temporarily hence the black dog sniffing about!
The thing is, I had no intention of committing to any workshops or courses when I started writing my MPs, I was simply starting this TAW journey for my writing and that was it. However, after a while the idea just came to me that I needed to “get myself out there” more and as I made that decision so these workshops and courses just made themselves present through various mediums. It was a sign.
While messaging “Joe” today though, I realised for the first time that since I have started doing these workshops and courses, I have actually changed. I have become much more focused on my interests and what I want to get out of life. For the past couple of weeks I’ve just been “doing” stuff. Ticking things off my daily plans without analysing it too much. Yet, through my conversations with “Joe”, it occurred to me that actually I think I may have found the “magic” too. I know I want to be a writer and to make that a priority in my life whereas before I was like “yeh I had some poems published” and “yeh I wrote a few ads for the radio when I briefly worked for a London station” and “yeh my lecturer at University told me he would love to see my film script on the big screen one day” Yeh all of that but still I just had no belief I could take this dream seriously. Until recently.
I’m fed up of treading water now. I’ve always written. I’ve always been complimented on my writing by lecturers, friends, colleagues etc. By “clearing the way” every morning with my MPs, I have opened a door for my creativity to enter and become a bigger part of my life once more. I have indeed found the “magic” and I am so much more focused and dedicated to meeting my deadlines and getting myself out there now.
Find your magic in life. “Clear your way” every day and allow your creativity to come in because you deserve to be fulfilled and excited about your life. Good luck x