Saturday, February 17, 2007

Diving In

I haven't made a peep here yet, waiting patiently for the first day and here it is! It seemed so far away when Jessie and I first picked this date, one she suggested and I was particularly drawn to because 17 is my lucky number. Last year, I helped facilitate a group of about 100 bloggers through the Artist's Way and it was a wonderful experience. This feels so very different because I'm going through this book for the first time along with everyone, which is wonderful and exciting. Once again, I am so thrilled to be part of such an amazing group. If you haven't already, be sure to check in with all the blogs of the incredibly creative women we have riding along this journey with us. I'm am awed and honored to be a part of such a powerful group. Powerful things happen in groups, the energy is swirling, so very exciting.

Having done the Artist's Way multiple times and worked through Cameron's other books, clearly I believe in this process. And this particular book came at such a wonderful time. I'll be writing more about my process on my blog, but I wanted to leave a few tips for my fellow travelers as we step across the threshold.

The first time I did the Artist's Way I did it alone. I didn't do all the exercises, I only made it through 10 out of the 12 weeks, and I definitely didn't take all the artist's dates. Yet, I still got something out of it. It was sort of like dipping my toes in the water, I wasn't quite ready and I wasn't in the right place in my life to dive in. It was still wonderful and the work helped me through a particularly rough spot in my life. Years later, I did the book again with a group of 5 women and I was so ready, I dove in head first. All 5 women approached the book differently and got different things from it. Working through the book had a profound effect on me that time around, I really committed to the process and the effects rippled out over the next couple years of my life, opening doors and pushing me to make changes that were huge in my life. I'm forever grateful. So, I want to say, yes, work through the book in a way that feels best for you, no matter what way you approach it, you will benefit, but I also want to encourage you, if you can, do dive in head first. Doing the work in a group is amazing, yes, in fact I credit the support of the small group I was in to keeping me on the path, but the biggest benefits are reaped from the work you put into it. It's worth it, really. (And I'm just realizing all the water analogies I'm putting in here. Heh.)

So, what do I mean by diving in exactly? I mean, do those morning pages! A lot of people, myself included struggle with these. They can seem meaningless and time-consuming and a sure fire way to cramp up your hand, but they do powerful things, so do give them a try. Do your artist's dates. They don't have to be elaborate outings, they could be something as simple as a candle-lit bath once a week, a trip to the library, a stop into a gardening supply shop just to browse or stopping into the coffee and tea shop to smell the teas. Just a half hour alone to carve out for yourself. I know many of you have young children, so don't beat yourself up if you can't do this, but I think it would be lovely to shoot for this small amount of time with your creative self, once a week for the next 12 weeks. And the walks, I totally struggle with this one, especially in this nasty weather in the northeast, but I'm going to go for it. Keep an open mind and an open heart. The author isn't perfect, you may not agree with everything she says, but I assure you, that there is a lot of good here.

One of the most powerful parts of doing this work in a group is feeling a sense of connection to others, to feeling like you're not alone on your journey, and the sense of feeling heard. I want to reiterate what Jessie said about not trying to fix anyone when/if you leave a comment on their blog. My group facilitator encouraged us to speak to what resonated with us when another person spoke instead of giving advice. Sometimes, just knowing that someone is listening is much more powerful than any advice you could give.

If you haven't already, read Jessie's post for today, it's beautifully written and says so much. Thank you for taking this leap of faith, beautiful things await.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:

Whatever you can do,
Or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius,
Power and magic in it.

-W.H. Murray

Leah, Creative Every Day

p.s. Here's an icon you can use on your page to link to this blog if you'd like!


Caroline said...

Hello Leah - I'm glad to be doing this new book in a group - I really agree about group energies - they can make a huge difference to what one gets out and encouragement to stick with it too.

Anonymous said...

YES, I second the morning pages recommendations, especially. I've been depressed lately, but I still do mine every morning, even if they are just whining gibberish. They force me to be present to myself and my life, and I think they are helping me lead myself out of this depression faster than if I hadn't stuck with them.

I am so excited!

martha said...

did my morning pages yesterday-why do I resist this so much when I know it is so good for me?
Btw leah, about not trying to fix each other-that is creating the safety that a group needs in order for us to be able to "speak" freely. If any one wants feed back, it is ok to ask for it. Off to do my pages

Dianne Mayne Forche said...

Thanks for posting this, Leah! Well said and agree totally.... what a nice way to start off!! Most of the time we speak to get it out and have our unique answers inside somewhere... it is enormous to have someone just listen and nod understanding. I think this is encouragement to keep going and dig a little deeper.

suzie q said...

Wonderful post, Leah, thank you! I've caught up with myself and those morning pages - I'm struggling to be as open as I should be with them ( worrying that they'll get found & read by anyone!) but I'm sure that will get easier with practice..

I used to have that Goethe quotation cut out of a magazine & stuck up on my wall..about time I started living by it! ;)

Off to catch up with a few others now, thanks again for a wonderfully encouraging post :) And I'm always up for some feedback if anyone is willing! I feel as though I'm at the start of something huge for me, and it's quite a daunting prospect at the minute.. Thanks! :)

tammy vitale said...

Oh! I LOVE morning pages. I used to do them just to keep myself sane! And in just two days am wondering why I ever let them go. It's those artist dates that trip me up! And now walking - well, that's okay because that's something I've started adding in anyways and this will give an extra umph. I already did my artist date for the week just so I wouldn't have to worry about it!

tammy vitale said...

p.s. How does one capture that lovely little icon to post it on one's own blog?

lia said...

Ok, I just switched to a new blog for Finding water. Please change my link to

sorry if you already saw my other message with a blogger address already. I deleted it, so the above one is where I will be for the journey!
I'm really excited! This is going to be awesome. Did my MP's this's been a very long while! talk soon, Lia

Cate said...

I am so excited about this group--thank you for these passionate yet gentle posts to nudge us onto our journey!

And I agree with everyone re: morning pages. I sound like a zealot, but they truly changed my life.

Leah said...

yes, martha, creating safety, that's definitely a big part of it!

and for anyone interested, i just posted a quickie tutorial on posting a button/link on your blog:

tammy vitale said...

Hi Jessie and Leah...I just noticed I'm on the list twice now: once as Tammy Vitale, and once as Women, Art, Life. The Tammy Vitale can go...did I miss that I was already up under my name when I said I wasn't up? sorry!

Terri /Tinker said...

I'm so excited about the group - I'm a day late, but I've finally posted about starting it. Synchronicities (I think) are already popping up for me - something I associated greatly when doing the Artist's Way in a group.
Thanks Leah and Jessie for getting us all started.

Georgia said...

I am so excited to be doing this:)

I missed my morning pages on saturday because I had no paper, but I bought a new notebook and have done my pages yesterday and today... I used to do morning pages everyday in Highschool for a class I was in... they really make a difference.

Well, i am off to try and read a bit of the book :)


Kate said...

Thanks for getting us started. I found out about this only yesterday but I did my morning pages this morning and bought the book this afternoon. I ready and willing to go.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm a new morning pages convert. All I can say is, "powerful".

Gemma said...

Hope it's not too late to join this group. I already do morning pages...and have followed Julia cameron for years....will get the book today!!!!

Olivia said...

I just put instructions for posting the FW icon in Blogger. Basically, it's what you wrote, Leah, just Blogger specific. And for people unfamiliar with uploading and HTML, I wrote how to do it in Blogger just using the page layout. Hope it helps,


Jessie said...

Olivia, you are awesome!! :)

GeL (Emerald Eyes) said...

Hi Leah,
OMG- That quote is one that's on my writing desk (not my drafting table). It's one of the ones I've used in blog posts, like the "change/courage" one.
Lovely button.

I didn't realize until now that there is a blog (yours) with the focus of reading another Cameron book. (I loved The Artist's Way..)Great idea and thank you

I've stumbled onto many of you via writing circles like Poetry Thurs. and Sun. Scribblings. Now that I see this is a group support growth effort, I am going to use a book gift card to obtain this book.
Well, I'm a bit behind but I'm diving in hearfirst to join.

I'm exhilirated. Good time for a walk as the sun sets.

GeL (Emerald Eyes) said...

Oops, sorry, I posted using my Blogger account but I've moved to typepad. So this is the address where I'll be participating in this project.