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Artist's Way
Week 6

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Recovering a Sense of Abundance

The world, in all of its abundance

This week you tackle a major creative block -- money. You are asked to really look at your own ideas around God, money, and creative abundance. The essays will exp[lore the ways in which your attitudes limit abundance and luxury in your current life. You will be introduced to counting, a block busting tool for clarity and right use of funds. This week may feel volatile.

This week, Julia Cameron asks us to examine several things about our lives. The more obvious examination is our relationship to money. But I found one she mentioned in the beginning of a chapter quite intriguing.

During morning pages this week, Julia suggests writing about the god you believe in vs. the god you want to believe it. I started thinking about what my actions might tell about the god I believe in.

Risk?

I have taken a few significant risks in my life. But I realized today that those risks were taken only when remaining stuck was more painful then forging into uncharted territory, or the risk was the only, practical solution for the situation, or I was aware of safety nets I could opt to fall into if I should along the way.

If I look at the changes I have made throughout my life, I can see that I'm getting better about this. The first risk was more or less my only option coupled with a optimistic outlook. It was like stepping from one train car to the next. I could see the tracks below by looking through a small crack between the two cars. The cars could come unhitched when I made my step, but it wasn't likely. Positive outlook got me safely across to the other side.

My next step was from the pit of desperation I had made out of my life. The options were to stay there and wallow or start the upward climb. It doesn't take much to trust God that I'm moving in the right direction when the only direction is UP! This experience taught me a great deal. It is the fear of landing in that pit again that has inspired me to learn more quickly, take longer strides, and desire to continually improve upon the person I am becoming.

Since then, I've taken a few hops of faith -- each instance requiring a bit more faith than the previous.

Hops

Last year I decided I wanted to spend more time on art. I decided I would refinish the basement and make it an art studio. This was a pretty good leap into what my artist deserved, but I back-peddled. To make this option more financially feasible, I decided I would, eventually, open up the studio to the public and charge people by the hour to use my "stuff" -- art supplies, inspirational objects, books, magazines, videos, etc. This was my safety net, and quite an inspiring idea -- as many friends told me. The studio wasn't just for me, it was for my "career". This was my new "dream" and I would spend hours working toward it.

As I set things in place to make this dream a reality, I experienced an increase in intestinal problems. In addition, emotionally, something wasn't feeling right. It all came to a head the day after I staffed a booth at an art convention. I spent 2 days telling thousands of people about the new studio, when it would open, what it would offer, etc. The day after, I collapsed. I was sicker than a dog. It wasn't the flu. My gut was wrenching, but I had no fever, no cough, no vomiting...no real symptoms.

That day I spent lounging around the house, rather than working. I slowed my pace and took an honest look at what I was doing. When I looked carefully I could see that my REAL dream was being covered up, plastered over, suffocated. It all started with a desire for an art studio. I wanted to spend more time on my art. But I didn't have faith that there would be more time for my art...that I could be allowed money to spend on art...that God would allow me timeand money for art without doing a lot of work for it. My art had to be a "career" and bring in money in order for my dream to be allowed.

Rainbow of Promises

What does this say about the god I believe in? It shows that I have faith in myself and my ability to think my way out of things. I only have faith in God when I MUST...when the path is too hard to go alone....when I'm in a corner and there's no other way out. Then, I believe, God will get me through. I believe out of sheer necessity.

This doesn't say much about me -- a person who considers herself highly spiritual -- and who, up until this moment in time, believed herself to have strong faith. While I don't think it is wise to put God to the test, I think God can bear a bit more of my weight than I have allowed. I don't have to have all the answers, all the safety nets in place, or have my choices narrowed to one by life circumstances before I take my leap. (Really, by that point, it's hardly more than a baby step.)

Since I have started working through the Artist's Way, I have found time for my art. I have found money for my art. And, more importantly, I have found JOY in my art. This joy has led to using my time and my energy more efficiently.

The proof is there. God is ready to step in whenever I give Her a chance. But if I don't take a step, confidently, without self-planned safety nets, without knowing for certain there's something to step on, there's no place for God to show me the abundance that waits for those with faith. And, without this step, I am only deluding myself when I consider myself to be a woman of faith.

* * * Creative Expression * * *

Make a sketch of a river with a wide divide. Show rocky cliffs on either side of the river. Use the photo below for your inspiration.
Draw yourself (you can use a stick figure) on a cliff on one side of the river. Label it or use symbols to represent your current life situation. Label the other side of the divide with what you WANT -- what would require a leap of faith.
In the space that separates you from what you want, write the things that will get you across. Represent these as stepping stones. One of the stones may be a deeper faith in abundace. One may be confidence in yourself. It's ok to have some stepping stones. Just leave a gap or two for God to provide support.

Leap of Faith