artist’s way: week six

Window Outside, mixed media collage on canvas, 2010, 14in x 18in
Window Outside • Mixed media collage 14in x 18in • Carly Swenson • 2010

Here I am finishing Week Six, halfway through The Artist’s Way twelve-week course.  Thus far, I’m glad I have attempted Cameron’s course, but I don’t feel particularly different?  I know changes inspired by The Artist’s Way are intended to be subtle, which helps them to be more applicable and sustainable.

However, I’m not certain how I’m feeling—in the back of my mind, I am constantly questioning if I’m doing this right?

I love the artist dates, they’ve been delightful and inspiring. Required-solitary-art-time has forced me to relax and play more as an artist.  The morning pages can feel like a chore (I only seem to get them done about 4 out of 7 days a week), but I love the concept.  The pages help me sort through my emotions and ideas.  Morning pages release excess information and nagging thoughts from my mind.

“We are operating out of the toxic old idea that God’s will for us and our own are at opposite sides of the table.”
—Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Chapter six was thought provoking.  Cameron pointed out that as God’s creations, if our creative nature is an aspect of how we were created–why would God, or the universe, or our deep inner selves not intend for us to utilize our artistic dispositions?

Sleeping Bones, mixed media drawing on paper, 2006
Sleeping Bones • Mixed media drawing • Carly Swenson • 2006

Money was the other main topic covered in this section.  Earning a living as an artist is a difficult subject to even begin delving into.  Cameron suggests that despite the preconceived belief that an artistic life should be a struggle, God (or the universe) is generous and abundant, when people spend their lives genuinely pursuing their creative existence, doors open and things tend to work out. (Granted, I have difficulty fully subscribing to this belief in our current economic climate.  It’s difficult for me to ignore what feels like obvious logistics of living life that can’t be ignored.) However,—in my current circumstances, I’m able to embrace this positive spiritual line of thinking.

God wants us to be happy, joyous and free.  On the other hand, we secretly think that God wants us to be broke if we are going to be so decadent as to want to be artists.”
—Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Money is a volatile issue.  I believe an amount of financial stability is necessary for happiness.  However, I don’t believe it’s nearly as high as our culture of consumerism would lead us to believe.  Obtaining a basic level of happiness is fundamentally a choice—a daily effort made on the part of the individual to appreciate moments and people throughout one’s life.

In my experience it’s far easier to accept a mundane daily routine.  Generally we assume life is intended to be a struggle as we wait.  Years ago, I found myself naively waiting for something exciting to happen—waiting for someone to pull me out of what felt like my boring menial existence, waiting to earn enough money to be happy, waiting to be discovered, waiting for something—something like the interesting lives I read about in books or saw in films.

Each person’s life is bound to have its difficulties—death of a loved one, illness, job loss, financial instability, etc.  However, happiness (or simply a contentedness with life) is far more dependent on one’s perspective than his or her economic situation.  Once the dust of  these transitory negative situation has settled, we’re all left with our average day-to-day lives—and it’s how we choose to spend that time, how we choose to appreciate moments and view those around us that create the overall happy or unhappy nature of our existence.

6 Replies to “artist’s way: week six”

    1. I suggest you go for it. The book is only about $16 on amazon.com, and it is certainly thought-provoking. Like I said, it hasn’t revolutionized my life or anything, but it has been beneficial. It is an interesting process. Oh! And I send you some barnacles–they are in the mail. Enjoy:)

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