INTEGRITY was the first tattoo I ever got. I didn’t fully understand ALL that it meant but knew the word resonated at a deep level and was one I would never regret being reminded of years later when fads change and something that seemed cool at one stage no longer would.
Integrity never goes out of style because “it is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; the state of being whole and undivided” which is precisely how we call back more of our cell-f to the present moment, where all of our power to create exists.
In this week’s Summaries series of “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron I’m skipping the chapter reading while I move in the yard because the last ones have had few views in relation to the effort it takes to make them.
It’s a short chapter this week so I’ll CAPITALIZE the section headings from this week’s chapter on “Recovering a Sense of Integrity” and hope it gives you food for thought that you’ll take time to digest in the days ahead that snaps you out of the daze an unintentional gaze could send you into… (just to play with words we rarely give a second thought).
HONEST CHANGES connects the importance of completing the pre-scribed ‘morning pages’ that Julia recommends as part of the recovery process. While I don’t always do mine in the morning, I do find having a daily writing practice to have been incredibly liberating of the artist within who has been unleashed and liberated with completing FULLY COMMITTED.
I’ll add that over the last month I’ve devoted countless hours to recording, editing, compressing and uploading the audio version of it to ACX which will soon have it distributed on Amazon, itunes and Apple music so I’m pretty psyched for that to be available as that creative baby consumed a lot of my energy in bringing it to life too. Back to “The Artist’s Way” tho…
Julia shares that a daily writing practice helps us sort through the differences between our real feelings which we often keep secret or safely suppressed, and our official feelings which are ‘those on the record for public display’.
After all I went through in the transformation of my own self-image by both seeking help from the Mental Health system, and becoming a prisoner of it, I am convinced it is not equipped to help people out of the mind trap that keeps emotions at a distance. I can testify from experience that many loved ones will not appreciate your willingness to express your ‘real feelings’ either unless they’re willing to get well acquainted with their own. Your shift will trigger them into emotions they aren’t interested in so while “okay is a blanket word for most of us” we’ve got to puncture our denial in pages no one else is privy to for that is often how we can best unpack layered stories about ourselves and who we’re supposed to be.
Dealing with and processing through these extreme emotions in the morning pages are the very reason people often start to avoid the pages themselves for she says they’re like a “spiritual chiropractic” session that realigns our values.
Chekhov is quoted to have advised “If you want to work on your art, work on your life” and the art will come together. I can affirm from experience that this is true. For several years I was so obsessed with ‘writing the book’ that I failed to actually live my life fully, thinking I’d focus on that once the book was done, but without the one I couldn’t do the other; I don’t wish that experience on anyone so recommend living first and learning from my experience instead.
“The process of identifying a self inevitably involves loss as well as gain” because as we discover boundaries but must remember that “those boundaries by definition separate us from our fellows.”
Porous boundaries was something I struggled with and had to heal on the way to becoming a stronger version of me and I’ll admit that many of my relationships didn’t make it. Getting locked up under the Mental Health system and publicly broadcasting it didn’t help with many familial relationships, and yet that was only the start of my eviction from the tribe because covid was designed to do what my awakening started, only it was orchestrated to complete the task from start to finish; my hope is that we can rise above the program and get back to our divine nature, but I’m still in the mess of it all within my own life so will just get back to Julia’s recommendations until I have better ones to share from experience.
Julia says we learn what we want and become willing to make the changes needed to get it by doing the morning pages, but often not without the tantrum or ‘kriya’ which is described to be “a Sanskrit word meaning a spiritual emergency or surrender”; she suggests they should possibly “be spelled crias because they are cries of the soul as it is wrung through changes” and as I share in FULLY COMMITTED this is when we must be mindful of whether our SCARED or SACRED side of the archetype we are embodying is leading in the moment.
“As we lose our vagueness about our self, our values, our life situation, we become available to the moment” and make contact with the creative self who was previously living in its reactive side.
Gaining our creative identity requires losing the false self we were sustaining, reminding us that “you are your own promised land, your own new frontier” that you came here to stake claims to and develop.
Julia says “One of the clearest signals that something healthy is afoot is the impulse to weed out, sort through, and discard old clothes, papers and belongings” because by letting go of what no longer serves us we make room for what will. She recommends being aware that when this “search-and-discard impulse seizes you, two crossroads are at work: the old you is leaving and grieving while the new you celebrates and grows strong.”
Regularly writing without expectation of arriving at any particular destination liberates us from the veils we previously wore over our authentic self. Julia calls this ‘the blur’ that we avoid removing with our coping mechanism of choice. I like that Julia calls these “varied forms of junk food for the soul.”
The morning pages, also referred to as automatic writing, are said to symbolize our willingness to speak to and hear God.
She recommends choosing affirmations to assist you in remembering your direct connection to the source of all inspiration, and also ones that offer reassurance that excavating your buried dreams is permissible and possible.
The BURIED DREAMS, AN EXERCISE section is one for you to dig into yourself (or one we may dig into in the SPECIAL Practice PILOT course I’ll be launching in September that I am putting together the framework for now).
READING DEPRIVATION “is a paradox that by emptying our lives of distractions we are actually filling the well” because Julia suggests “we often cannot hear our own inner voice, the voice of our artist’s inspiration, above the static” of the competing efforts of other people’s noise.
I remember in 2018 when I stopped reading other people’s work so that I could focus on ‘getting the book done’ but from personal experience I will add that rehashing and repeating the same theories does not always offer any greater clarity either. Whether it be our own premeditated theories we circulate without going deeper into them or someone else’s, “we gobble the words (of others) rather than digest our own thoughts and feelings, rather than cook up something of our own” and what I’d like to emphasize here is the focus on our feelings.
Reconnecting with our feelings is vital if we are to appreciate what our emotions are trying to communicate to us and how the stories have been the added layer that kept us from looking at the heart of the matter.
In FULLY COMMITTED: The Sacred Sojourn of NOW I share the ‘highrise of emotional awareness’ theory that has come to mean so much to me over the years, and the ‘active choice point theory’ that ties into it from a creative perspective too.
We’re going to be digging into all of this on a deeper level in September in the PILOT course I’ll be announcing with details soon. In the mean time I’m putting together an important presentation for this Wednesday on “Taking ‘Just Say No’ To The Next Level Lawfully” and you’re invited to that too. Grab the zoom details here and share it with an artist friend that could benefit from being reminded just how powerful we are as creators of lives we are free to create!
Laura JeH – Namaste
PS. I decided to enjoy the sun of Sunday and am multicoloured, largely in the red and white variety, because of it. The only thing I would change is how much coconut oil I applied, how often and potentially with what I added to it. It was my first real water and nap in the sun day of the year so I knew better but didn’t do better which is generally the biggest gap that gets us all, until it doesn’t. Gentle does it today as I prepare the way for Wednesday’s presentation – it’s going to be a good one!!!