I’m currently working through a 12 week program to help me tap back into my creativity and inspiration via the book: The Artist’s Way at Work: 12 Weeks to Creative Freedom by Julia Cameron, Mark Bryan, and Catherine Allen.
This is the business version of the very famous original book, The Artist’s Way also by Julia Cameron.
I started this project after feeling like I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to working on my own, non-client-related work.
You can read more about this in my intro post right here.
I’m going week by week and reporting on the tools that were most effective for me from the book. There are always way more exercises and information in the book, so please get a copy and follow along!
WEEK 6: The Pearl of Wisdom
This week the exercises were mostly designed to help you get in touch with your body intelligence and thinking of creativity more as a way of listening not just going out and taking action.
Tool: Body English
This tool is all about getting in touch with what your body has to say because our bodies contain so much more information than we realize.
- Block out 15 minutes
- Find some quiet/private space to lie down
- Take your shoes off, close your eyes, and get comfy
- Tense and release your muscles starting at your feet
- Work sequentially and ask yourself what you need to know about a given situation
- See what thoughts or insights pop up in your head
The morning I was supposed to do this, I was resisting and I don’t know why. I actually like to check in with my body but nevertheless this morning I was doing everything I could not to do it, and I ended up hopping on my computer earlier than normal and drinking too much coffee…
And wouldn’t you know it? I got a migraine. My migraines come with full migraine aura and I can’t see much beyond the trippy light show that happens in my eyeballs.
So! With nothing else I could do I went to my room and did the exercise. I don’t think I had any amazing burst of insight or anything, just a reminder that I should avoid resisting so much and that all of my self-care and health practices really aren’t optional. I need to move and to take long screen breaks, stay hydrated, drink magnesium, etc. or I get taken out by my own body/brain.
Tool: At The Wheel of a New Machine
- Take a class, just one class in a movement therapy that is new to you
- Options like: The Alexander Technique, the Feldenkrais method, dance, etc.
- Treat it like an experiment and listen to what your body is telling you
- Notice how you are carrying yourself
I was eager to learn a new body-based practice and I watched some videos on The Alexander Technique. I did a few exercises and I could feel the difference. I also ended up trying a “chakra balancing” breathing practice. In both cases, I noticed how easily tired I felt just holding up my back for longer periods of time with no support, which was eye opening. I hold myself like a little old lady, hunched over and crooked most of the time and I would love to elongate my spine and body more often and hold myself with more strength and confidence! (Might help with the headaches too…)
Tool: A Letter to Self
- Go to a cafe
- Write a letter to yourself celebrating at least 5 things you’ve accomplished now that you’re at the halfway point of this project, however small
- Put it in the actual mail and send it to yourself
As I’m working through this project during COVID and Idaho is currently spiking with cases again, I’m not heading to a cafe.
Instead, I went to Postable.com and picked out an encouraging card and wrote my accomplishments there and sent it to myself. This felt really good for how simple of a thing it was! It was a very cute card and I look forward to receiving it. After I completed this, my husband and I discussed how we should celebrate whenever we complete projects more often.
I’m already planning on sending myself a box of fancy chocolates when the next 6 weeks are up.
Tool: Positive/Negative Poles
This tool teaches you a positive psychology practice (but tweaked a bit by the authors) called the “ABCDEs.”
- Adversity – whatever you’re feeling stuck around. The issue at hand.
- Belief – the belief keeping you stuck.
- Consequence – the negative effect of staying stuck/continuing not to deal with the issue.
- Disputation – a statement you create to counter the belief that’s keeping you stuck.
- Energizer – a step, however small, towards what you want/solving the adversity.
- Take out your journal and pen
- Draw a line down the center of a page
- On the left write “what my pessimist thinks”
- On the right, write “my optimist thinks”
- Write about a problem you need to solve or a place you’re feeling stuck in – your “adversity”
- Write what your pessimist thinks and what your optimist thinks about that problem
- Then work through the “ABCDEs” shared above
- Go do your Energizer action right now if you can!
I love the ABCDEs and how they can help us work through stuck places. This was my first experience trying something like that out and it really helped me. I can sometimes freeze or feel stuck when I have to make a decision so it is nice to have a tool to work through that feeling and then take a baby step. Mine was around my health this time, but I can see how this could be helpful for so many decisions or areas of life.
Tool: Media Deprivation
- Go on a media cleanse for a whole week
- Even reading books is not allowed
- Definitely no internet – they suggest getting an assistant to handle those tasks for you
- They don’t say what to do if you are the assistant
- They say right about now is when everyone says “don’t you know who I am?!”
Look, I’ll level with you. I didn’t do this and I’m not planning to do it in exactly this form. I did, however, block out a long weekend in November after we’re through with elections where I will fast from social media, the news, all doomscrolling, including my habit of looking up symptoms for diseases and deciding I may have one.
Tool: Beyond Price
- Gather magazines
- Cut out images that feel like “well-being” to you
- File them and bring to your work
- Look at the file when you feel stressed out or need some transcendence and inspiration
This is what Pinterest was made for! I already have some private Pinterest boards that are similar, but I decided to make a board for this project and I’ve been pinning all things related to Artist Dates/Time-Outs, creativity, wellness, and well-being. 🙂
These are going well. I need to find a brand/style of notebook that’s made of recycled materials. The pages themselves are satisfying and comforting.
Yeah, not happening still. The air quality is bad again. Ugh!
I spent some time getting all dressed up like I’ve been craving lately and it felt good, of course! Then I did some EFT (tapping) in a rose scented bubble bath. It felt like a good Artist’s Date for this body wisdom themed week.
Probably my most favorite activity from this week was sending myself a card listing out my accomplishments, even though they were mostly tiny. It is silly but fun.
Okay, Your turn!
Will you try any new body/movement techniques this week? Mail yourself a greeting card? Let me know if you try any of these tools so I can celebrate with you!