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Artist's Way
Week 2

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"This week addresses self-definition as a major component of creative recovery. You may find yourself drawing new boundaries and staking out new territories as your personal needs, desires, and interests announce themselves."

Sacred Circle

"Draw a sacred circle around your [rediscovery]. Give yourself the gift of faith. Trust that you are on the right track. You are."

These are words within Week 2's chapter that really struck me as the core essence of what I will be involved in this week. During week 1 I looked for the "enemies" and the "champions" of my creative self worth. I found that, for the most part, I'm my biggest enemy. It's my own negative self-talk that gets me into trouble. I can mentally tear apart my artwork in a fraction of the time it took me to create it.

There are "toxic" people on the fringes of my life. I have learned who I can share my art with and who I can't. And I have even begun to notice the traits in a person who will likely be an "enemy" of my creative self-worth. I have a business friend in Chicago with whom I share on more than a business level. But I have learned that if I share anything in the creative realm with her, she will laugh and think it is quite silly. So, either I don't tell her about my creative pursuits, or I put on my armor before I mention anything and know not to take anything personally. That's my sacred circle of protection. I know how and when to use it with others. I need to learn how and when to use it with myself.

This past week I also discovered new "champions". Several people in my life are very encouraging and gush over my art building up my creative self-worth and confidence. I even showed a piece of my work to a salesman who came to the house. He happened to mention that he saw some awesome collages recently, so I pulled out one of mine....not knowing if he would be an "enemy" or a "champion". I'm glad I had the courage to show him. He was wonderful. He had a positive recommendation of getting the piece framed to really make it stand out and to hang it proudly on my wall. Others are giving me the gift of faith -- a faith in the gifts God has given me. I must own that faith myself -- learn to honor and protect it, rather than tear it down with my negative self-talk.

The sense of security I have gained during the first week has allowed me to trust that I am on the right track. To keep myself on that track, I need to protect the security I have gained. Julia suggests doing this by being more aware of the crazymakers that steal my valuable time and energy and to be more attentive to life.

Crazymaker

The first time I worked through the Artist's Way, my life was filled with crazymakers. At the time, I didn't realize that I had the choice of not allowing their craziness to affect my life. One-by-one I have successfully ushered them out of my life -- from the landlord who expected me to maintain his property (by organizing people to come fix the roof, paint the rooms, fix leaks, ...basically do his job for him) to the ex-lover who doesn't understand the importance of trust yet wants to keep a friendship... From the friends who always come around when they need my help but are never there when I need them to the boss who works his employees as if they were puppets and he the puppet master. All these people I have calmly and carefully led to the door and ushered out. Oh sure, I feared what would happen as a result. Would I find another place to live that I could afford? Could I find new friends? What about a job? All of these things have taken care of themselves....except for finding local friends. Long distance friends are available via e-mail, but I need someone I can see and be seen by, someone who can be there for the daily stuff that I want/need to share, someone who can reflect back to me and help me learn. Soon, I am certain, when I am truly ready, a local friend will come into my life -- a friend who knows what it means to be a friend....a friend who won't make my life crazy...a friend who will be there for me as much as I am for her.

Sometimes I wonder what it is in me that has not been "ready" for a deep friendship. Maybe it has been my lack of attention or my instant judgemnts. Last week I spoke about how I caught myself making judgments about everyone I meet and classifying them. I think this stems out of my own critical self-judgments. I judge others as harshly as I judge myself. When I drop my own judgments and doubts, I will be able to do so with others. I will be able to allow others to be who they truly are, and, only in that freedom will a friendship develop. Whether we are befriending ourselves or someone else, we have to be willing to open ourselves up, allow ourselves to be seen, and to accept what we see in ourselves and in the other person. For too long, I have focused only on the first two keys -- opening myself up and allowing myself to be seen. Now it's time to progress into accepting what I see in myself and in others.

By recovering a sense of security, we give ourselves the freedom, the safe place, to dig deeper, take a glimpse at our true identity, and accept.

* * * Creative Expression * * *

Accept Yourself

Create something this week that reflects your sense of identity that comes when you sweep chaos from your life (even if just for a brief moment) and become aware of your surroundings and your depths.

* Create a symbolic self porttrait

* Write a letter of acceptance -- accepting and loving all the parts of yourself

* Send yourself a beautiful card just to remind yourself that you are wonderful, unique, and loved for who you are

* Identify your favorite things and devote a collage to these things

* Write a poem that reflects your observations, your awarenesses and what they tell you about yourself

"Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music -- the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls, and interesting people. Forget yourself." -- Henry Miller