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Artist's Way
Week 10

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Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection

"This week we explore the perils that can ambush us on our creative path. Because creativity is a spiritual issue, many of the perils are spiritual perils. In the essays, tasks, and exercises of this week, we search out the toxic patterns we cling to that block our creative flow."

This week is another challenging week in which we are asked to take another honest look at ourselves and find those things in our personalities or daily habits that get in our way.

The first thing we are asked to address is our addictions, or blocks -- food, work, relationships, alcohol, co-dependent behavior -- anything that keeps us from experiencing ourselves as we really are and pinches the straw of creative flow. One way Julia suggests for identifying what our blocks are is to ask one question and give an honest reply -- "Which one makes you angry to even think about giving up?"

I have mentioned in the past that I am quite overweight. Not just a little...a LOT! I'm way off the charts. So, when this idea is set before me, my thoughts turn to food and I ask, "Could I be using food as a block?" Most people who have seen me, but do not know me, would probably wonder why I even bother to ask. They would say, "Well...duh!!" I am trying to be completely honest with myself here and there's still a part of me that says, "No, this isn't quite true for me."

For at least 20 years, I have explored my weight issue. In an attempt to be completely honest with myself, I wrote out a brief history of my weight. If you would like to read it, go to:

Weight History

One of these days, the weight may decide to go. I don't know what it will take to flip that switch, but I'm always open to new avenues. In the meantime, when I honestly look at my life, I don't think that food is a block to my creativity. After spending as much time as I have (thinking about it, writing the weight history) trying to explain it away, I fear that I may be arguing for my limitations. But, I don't think that's the case. I think I am honestly looking at my situation, searching every corner, and trying to see exactly what is what.

I have decided that this week I will take a look at how I use food. Every time I have the urge to eat, especially at non-meal times, I'll ask myself what I am feeling. I will look for the occasions when I feel like I'm "flying apart" or "losing control," as Julia describes it, and see what I do in response. After spending a week at my parents house, where food was limited and emotions were high...and I didn't experience the feeling I've had in the past of a foodaholic on the hunt for FOOD...I doubt I will find that I abuse food. But, I'm open to it.

If you are not aware of using anything as a block, or using anything or anyone to the point of abuse, open yourself up to the possibility this week. Just by telling yourself that you are open to learning about your block will allow you to see your life in a more honest light. Ask your dreammaker to send you a dream showing you where your blocks lie, and be committed to write down your dream the moment you awake. Your mind will give you the key you need for your next stage of growth if you are open to it.

If you are aware of your block, take the next baby step you are ready to take to dissolve that block. Getting rid of that block is your freedom.

Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then this light is nearest of all to us.
--Meister Eckhart