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 8: Teaching (and Learning)
If you’re feeling blocked from sharing freely or having trouble sharing and teaching at all, it is impossible to really do your creative work. So, this week’s theme was all about exploring the impediments to exchanging ideas and information as well as removing them.
This exercise is to help you protect your baby ideas and creative inclinations from people who would not support us or even sabotage us (though maybe not intentionally.)
- Get your paper and pen
- Make a list of the ideas or projects you have to protect
- What aspects of your attempts to change should you keep to yourself?
- Who should you protect them from?
- Ask yourself, what are your patterns when you’re feeling threatened or embarrassed? Some examples the authors give are clamming up, raging, withdrawing, losing focus, etc. The remind me of the “fight, flight, freeze, or fawn/friend” response.
- Watch how you act when these feelings come up and observe
- See if you can start to disentangle yourself from this pattern by becoming mindful, taking a breath, and pausing before re-engaging
Oh I knew right away my response is almost always flight or freeze. It has been a bit of an eyeopener to see how these responses pop up in my work and especially with creating new things and showing up in my marketing. A lot of freezing happens there! And catching the stress response has so far been helpful in unsticking myself and taking slow baby steps towards my goals.
Tool: The Power Dance
As we discussed a couple of weeks ago, there is so much wisdom and emotion in our bodies. This tool helps work through tough feelings and let certain situations go.
- Free up about 15 minutes
- Get your favorite outfit to move in – workout clothes, Jane Fonda leotard, whatever you like
- Put on your power music
- Think of an annoying or frustrating situation where you felt disempowered
- Go run, dance, or otherwise workout vigorously, ideally breaking a sweat
- Do this until you feel better!
Fun eventually! I felt a little silly at first, but you always feel better after you sweat it out. I did a cross-training video since I always feel amazing after those.
Tool: Practicing The Present
This exercise will help you become aware of all the good things at this exact moment.
- Get out a sheet of paper and pen
- Write vertically the numbers 1 – 50
- Make a list of 50 things you’re grateful for right now – every little and big thing you can think of
I regularly make gratitude lists of about 3 things, but the idea of getting to 50 seemed somewhat intimidating! But actually it really wasn’t hard to get to 50 since I wasn’t being too precious about what I was grateful for and there are so many things that make my life possible.
Tool: Releasing Resentments
- Take out a sheet of paper or your journal and pen
- Make 3 columns on the sheet of paper
- My part
- Write about anybody you’re resending or situation and fill out those columns quickly
I don’t have a long list of people I resent fortunately but I have a couple of situations and people I sort of vaguely resent. It was good to get clear on who and what they are and my part. Mostly I just realized how completely stupid letting any of it take up space in my head was and it felt good to get it out.
I skipped on Thursday and I noticed my mind was so scattered and all over the place and frenzied. Definitely do not want to ever skip this anymore if I can at all help it. I notice more and more how much ease and focus they bring to my daily life when I am consistent with them. It is really weird to me still that such a simple tool could help so much.
A+! Went for a walk in the afternoon every day this week. Yay! It boosted my mood and my energy levels and I got no afternoon slump.
My plan was to dye things with avocado pits I saved until I realized you need like a special pot for this? It sounds like you want to use something you don’t mind dyeing a little and that you’re not using for food. So. Yeah, that did not happen.
Instead, I watched Moving Art on Netflix and I had a completely unplugged morning reading The Fifth Season by NK Jemison this morning. Sci Fi is not a genre I’ve read much of, so this has been a new and delightful experience.
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