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Growth

May 3, 2010

One third of the way through the Artist’s Way with a new group I am once again reminded of the power of the process. Daily writing, weekly quiet time and assignments are all designed to have you resurrect the creative children once shamed and quieted into the dutiful, responsible adults we have become. And if you are a happy dutiful, responsible adult, stop reading. If you ache for something to be better, new or different in your life, read on.

I encourage anyone who wants to rethink where they are now and where they are headed to pick up a copy of Julia Cameron’s work. It’s not for artist’s only. Most of the language and methods outlined here are hers. I facilitate groups based on her work – I owe my own creative recovery to disciplines learned from her.

Let me share some of the insights from the group now having completed chapters on recovering a sense of safety, a sense of identity and a sense of power. Have we recovered them. No. Are we recovering? Yes.

Creative recovery is ongoing. It’s like living with a chronic disease. Diabetics watch their diets, take insulin if necessary; alcoholics abstain and go to meetings. We are recovering, though never cured, we are vigilant about self care. We learn to exercise disciplines that have worked again and again.

This group has arrived at such a place. We can no longer go back to bad habits and not know we are responsible for being stuck. It is no longer a secret that we keep ourselves from moving forward by being self critical, judging our efforts harshly or believing we can’t have or do what we wish. We know we can create a safe place to nurture our fledgling efforts at a new career, a better way of parenting, or behaving better in our relationships. This is the safe place to grow into the selves we might have been or are choosing to be.

We can, as Cameron points out, choose to “go sane”. It feels like going crazy, because getting unstuck is hard. We can nurture our new identity by banning the “poisonous playmates” and “crazymakers” from our lives. These are the outsiders who reinforce the negative beliefs we have. We can choose to think better of ourselves and support this when we surround ourselves with people who are positive. We have learned to remember that it is our job to do the work of changing – not to judge it.

And in our effort to take back our power – take control over the direction of our lives we learn that anger is our friend. “Not a nice friend, not a gentle friend, but a loyal friend”. We are learning to listen to our anger. We are learning to listen for the good things that come our way – the “answered prayers” the synchronicity that catches us off guard. We are learning that “luck” truly is the intersection of preparation and opportunity. We are preparing ourselves by listening for it with a different ear, believing that if we “show up”, do the work of taking small steps every day, we will move forward.

We are gently coaxing our creativity back from childhood when we knew anything was possible.

This is the work of the first three chapters and I encourage you to read along. Should you feel the discipline of a facilitated group would help your process, let me know. But try it first, take up the morning pages and see how the process works. In the language of the 12 step rooms: It works if you work it!

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