Have you ever noticed someone doing something and think to yourself, that looks like something I’d love to do…I’m going to do that. Or, you’ll strike up a conversation with a stranger in line (or “on line” for those of you in New York) who’ll tell you something fascinating about her or his life and you’ll think to yourself, I’m doing that.
Once you get home, you’ll file that thought away. Or maybe you’ll write it down on a list of things you want to do, along with the other things you want to do that you’ve never gotten around to doing and you’ll file the list away somewhere.
Then one day, you stumble across that list that you filed away and you read it. Some are so old, you think, “Why the hell would I ever want to do that?” Bungee jumping? Skydiving? Hellz, no, but I had that on a list in one of my journals from years ago. Never did it.
Our I’m doing to do this one day list becomes so old that we literally outgrow it.
Coursework in Consciousness
I have attempted twice to go through the program of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. For those of you not familiar with this book, it’s been around awhile. It’s a new-agey 12-week course on steps to take to loosen up your creativity. Journaling about past experiences and other exercises, called “morning pages,” are supposed to clear your mind and your way to the creative you. Some exercises seemed childish; others would piss me off.
That’s the whole point, according to the Cameron. Challenging your comfort levels. Playing like a kid to bring wonder back. Those morning pages bring up all kinds of funky feelings. They bubble up from childhood, tracing back to that hateful teacher or kid or (fill in the blank of the person who was mean to you at some point in your life) that squashed your dreams. It can be exhausting picking through the remnants of that buried grey matter.
You begin to figure out which crook in the road set your life course spiraling in a whole different direction. It’s up to you to steer it back to what it was you wanted in the first place.
Buried Dreams Are Usually on Your List
Okay, so according to the book, we’ve all got buried dreams and now they’re so buried, we’ve got to go through some pretty tough looking at ourselves in order to dig them up. As I look over the weeks I went through these exercises, I penciled notes in the margins of the chapters, many of them angry—to myself, to the author, to someone (?)—a lot of eff this and effing that, this is stupid! as I doggedly did my “morning pages,” so vital to the experience.
I’d talk out loud to myself. Einstein did this and according to several studies, it’s very beneficial.
Back to those buried dreams. I was supposedly going to find the me I am supposed to be by identifying my blurts—those things I automatically say or think about myself. There is identifying (all the way back to grade school!) people who were and are now, “enemies of creative self-worth.” There’s affirmations to read and write and all kinds of writing, writing, thinking, writing, doing. I reached Chapter 7 and stopped. Twice.
One of the exercises is writing down your imaginary lives. What would you do if you had no obstacles? If you could do anything? From thumbing through my journal, I wrote this for some of my missed/imaginary lives:
- Forensic Scientist (say what now?)
- Voice Over Talent
I don’t think they’re in any particular order. I was supposed to just jot down quickly what I wanted to do. There were artist’s dates – things one had to do each week to inspire and release that creative spark.
I drew this and wrote on the next page: MerMe. Why?
The Wish List
Cameron believes that the best way to “evade our Censor” (that bad voice wired in your head) is to speed write. The reader is asked to be frivolous and just go for it. Here are a few of my wishes:
- I could be a best-selling author
- Go to Italy
- Take acting classes
- Get an agent
- Finish my book
- Have five dogs, goats and make goat products and live in a small ranch house with hubby and current pups
- Write a screen play
- Be editor of my own magazine
- Be a guest speaker (I’m terrified of public speaking)
Looking over those written pages of revealing myself, I realize that I am, as we all are, a work in progress. Those things on my wish list aren’t insurmountable, maybe some even doable. But, until I’m ready to take the plunge to DO THEM, I’ll keep hearing that big CENSOR voice in my head:
Who do you think you are?
ME, evolving and and staying the same in some aspects, all the time.
Now, first on my list:
- Finish the Artist’s Way and get on with it already.
Have you read The Artist’s Way? Did you finish? What are your imaginary lives? Your wishes? Be frivolous my friends and GO. ALL. OUT.