I walked tonight with my ‘artist’.
Just the two of us.
It was one of my tasks for week one of ‘The Artists Way’ By Julia Cameron. It is a 12 week program to unleash and connect to my inner creativity. It is a program to help unblock the artist in me.
It was has been an interesting week. I have been introduced to ‘morning pages’. Each morning I wake up 30 minutes earlier then usual and write. They don’t have to be perfect or even presentable. Nobody reads your ‘morning pages’. They are for you only. It is a way to clear then mind. Release the junk. A way to make room for creative ideas. I am in love with ‘morning pages’. I write. I fill three pages.Most of it makes little sense and most of grammatically incorrect and the spelling it atrocious, but none of that matters. I just let go of the words that bog down my brain. I release them all. It allows me to feel a sense of lightness, calmness and space. I have become a little addicted to the feeling and can’t imagine starting my days with out my ‘Morning pages’.
As well as doing my pages, I was required to complete tasks. This week was about our sense of safety. Most tasks were ‘time travel’ tasks. Recording and remembering our worst moments as an artist, moments where the outside world ate you up and spit you out making you feel worthless. Quite a few of the tasks were about being specific about these moments. Who, what, where, when and how. Remembering and rehashing all the pain and embarrassment these moments entailed.
These tasks were hard. I avoided them, purposely doing them last. I chose to accomplished tasks that made me feel empowered. The tasks that involved remembering compliments and empowering moments of creativity. The tasks that involved imagination and remembering your dreams. The tasks that involved going on ‘artists dates’ and walks alone with your inner artist. I loved these tasks. They were great and easy to accomplish. I look forward to do them with a sense of childlike excitement.
My subconscious was reeling. The whole time I was enjoying the ‘fun’ tasks or remembering the moments that gave me a strong sense of confidence and allowed me to dream deeply, a little voice kept reminding me to go back to the’ time travelling’ stuff. The chores that required me to dig and see what was within me. That voice kept reminding me that the ‘stuff’ we avoid to look at is most likely the cause of walls we have built. The stuff we don’t want to look at is usually the baggage that is holding us back from a life of contentment and joy. I know I have this baggage. I feel its weight but I have been unpacking it slowly over the years. Never at the rate that this journey was demanding from me. That baggage scares the s**t out of me. I don’t want to unpack it. I want to throw it into the back of my closet and forget about it. I know that is not healthy but for years that was the only way I knew how to survive. But is simply surviving what I want? or do I want flourish and bloom?
Bloom, Damn it, I want to bloom!
I meditated, I evaluated, I processed these duties I was suppose to preform in my artistic journey. I decided to pull up my big girl pants and just do it. Sit down and write and see what happened. See what came to be. I wanted it to be organic and natural. I wanted to let go of the weight that held me down. I wanted to heal.
I wrote and the words that came were raw and real. They surprised me. They made me cry. They made me angry. They made me see clearly. They were truth, my truth.
I looked at what I wrote and the first thought was that I had to share these words. My truth was there and truth-telling requires courage. Courage that I am sure others were looking for.
Courage is like a crab grass, expansive and only needs the smallest bit of encouragement to grow and overtake. Courage needs encouragement and a sense of connection. Courage allows us to do the thing that scare the s**t out of us. Courage allows us to find our truths. Courage allows us to find our light and be truthful.
It is taking a ton of my courage to share with you the following words I found deep within my soul. These words are not perfect, nor grammatically correct but they are what bubbled out of me .
Here goes, My truth-telling and honest attempt to heal my ‘broken bits’ , and maybe by doing so my courage can become contagious.
I have felt stiffled. defeated. From the beginning of my memories I have felt a lack of respect to what I was trying to create. I have a problem explaining myself clearly. I always have. Looks of confusion are constant for me. I talk fast. I think fast. I do fast. I am a hurricane. Hurricane Jess. I hate stagnant energy. Added to my speedy speech, I lack a certain ‘je nais c’est quoi’ when it comes to explaining my ideas. They always come out completely less then stellar. Usually my ideas- once they reach conversation- have lost all the awesomeness they had in my mind. My lack of explanatory skills made me feel the judgement:
“She has no idea what she is talking about”
“who is she so know anything?”
I have sent many night replaying the ‘stupid’ stuff I have said early in the day. I ave spent to much time berating myself for my ridiculous comment. I have fought back tears of embarrassment one to many times. I have spent too many minutes worrying about judgement.
Judgement makes me feel like my ideas are worthless. Completely and utterly. Because who am I to create? Who am I to know anything more then the next person? who am i?
In school, I was told I was to fast, to messy, not thorough, I missed details, was too speedy, talked to fast, wrote to fast, didn’t think about what i did before I did it, Didn’t think before I spoke, was too ditsy, giggly and girly, I was told I was absentminded and rushed through too many things.
It hasn’t been till now that i realized these comments (as well intentioned as then may have been) were wraped and translated into soemthing scary in my subcouncious. I saw these ideas in a different way…
**Jessica, you cannot do that because you are speedy mess. to rushed, to sloppy, to fat, to messy, to dissorganized, to gross, to imperfect, to wild, to loud, to dumb, your ideas suck and so do you. You have no ability to be an artist and write.**
I hate that my brain decided to warp these statements into such hateful stories, but the truth is that is what I did. I set my self up to fail. How can you achieve anything while your playlist includes words like ‘you suck’ and dumb?
That is what came up. It made me feel. Strongly. I was sad, angry and elated. I was sad that I lived so long under the thumb of inner hatred. I was angry I let this happen and elated that I had the strength to acknowledge this cycle.
We all have had experiences that mold us. Our past is an integral part to the matrix of who we are but essentially we all have the choice on how the stories play out for the future. I made the subconscious choice to morph my past experiences into a negative thread of hateful comments.
From this point on that is going to change. It may be a work in progress but no more intense self hatred.
The next step to this task was to write ‘a letter to the editor’ negating these hateful ideas. Cameron even suggests writing this letter from the voice of our inner child.
I decided to write mine from my inner teenager, with a little hint of attitude.
To whom it may concern,
I do not suck. Simply put. I am great, clever and strong. I am powerful and have the ability to accomplish all that I set my sights on. My dreams are big and nothing can stop me.
I may be messy, loud and imperfect but I would’t have it any other way. Great things come from spontaneous moments of imperfection. My life is big, messy and imperfect and it is beautiful.
I can write and my words are worth it.
I forgive you.
Writing that letter helped. It made me feel empowered. It made me realized that I had the power to control the though process and change the pattern.
Te baggage was scary but I am glad I opened it. I am glad the weight is lifted. I am glad I have regained a sense of empowerment and strength. I am glad it was hard.
Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.