Autonomy: the right or condition of self-government.
In The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron ‘Recovering A Sense of Autonomy’ has four parts/sections that contribute to governing the mental body that dictates the state of our INNER kingdom, for that is what self-govern-ment is.
To listen to the chapter read aloud in one of last year’s Sacred Self-Compassion Services, after I edited out all ‘the extras’ for your listening convenience, move with me in a way that feels good to you as I did yesterday. For the refined version of just the chapter reading click here.
For a written summary of my biggest takeaways from it, check them out under the capitalized sub-sections here:
ACCEPTANCE: Ebbs and flows are a natural part of life; just like a healthy heart beat goes up and down so too will our life, with extreme highs and lows, along with everything in between.
Creativity requires spontaneity and flexibility to accommodate the magick of the moment that is always happening NOW.
Creativity is its own reward and requires consistent practice to eliminate the need for perfection when the act of creating is the ultimate prize.
“My life is my art” Julia writes and the truth is that our life is the masterpiece we get to live, with each moment being a mini portrait in time that defines who we see ourselves to be and what we believe ourselves worthy and capable of.
Be careful to surround yourself with people who nurture the artist within not who try to domesticate it “for your own good… Well-meaning people pushing agendas that don’t evolve in a way that allows for our art to continue leads us to react as if we are fighting for our lives – we are” Julia describes, and from experience I can relate. Recognize the different between being rich and richly supported.
My self-respect comes from doing the work.
The more I nurture my artist child, the more adult I am able to appear. In FULLY COMMITTED: The Sacred Sojourn of NOW this connects to the SCARED child within versus the SACRED child archetype who becomes the guardian of our innocence (inner-sense), according to Caroline Myss’ book Sacred Contracts. This is a profoundly insightful perspective of the need to develop a sense of INNER security, lest we foster a sense of insecurity that will keep us on the defensive instead of creating according to our strengths.
There is a connection between self-nurturing and self-respect. Cutting off our creativity makes us savage because to the artist within it is fighting for its life when its creative outlet is compromised.
Killing irresponsible dreams is irresponsible because it’s a sacrifice that will cost us confidence only the very creativity we are suppressing is able to help us bring back to life. Killing creativity is to settle for a life of reactivity and more of ‘the same old same old” which is the equivalent of a rut that is a grave with both ends kicks out.
“Our creativity is our gift from God. Our use of it is our gift to God.”
SUCCESS: Creativity is a spiritual practice so while the destination is what we think we’re aiming for we must remember that “just when we get there, ‘there’ disappears.
Our joy is in the pursuit of creative outlets continually.
“Artists are spiritual sharks. If we don’t keep moving, we sink to the bottom and die” Julia says, and so it is that we must be willing to restart repeatedly no matter how many times others may perceive that to have been one failure after another. Thomas Edison is said to have ‘failed’ to invent the lightbulb 999 times but when he got it right on the 1000th time, everyone forgot about all the times he’d failed; they all helped him get there in the end and the same will be true for what hasn’t worked out for you yet either too; use your contrast to gain clarity for next time.
Artists are often faced with the choice between creative courage and fiscal temptation that sees us commit for the sake of a pay cheque that drains our soul for the sake of filling the bank account. Striking a balance between our physical comfort and survival and the flexibility and spontaneity that creativity requires is the key to success for an artist at any stage.
“Try not to mortgage the future too heavily” Julia recommends; don’t get caught in a trap you can’t get out of that limits you and your ability to create the masterpiece you were commissioned to bring to life. Too many expectations on a creative baby too early on can lead to stillborn projects that cost more self-esteem than we’ll receive as compensation. Be wary of promising an-other your creative baby before it’s ready to be brought to life.
Daily progress adds up to create successful lives and expressions of art created while living well.
THE ZEN OF SPORTS: “The act of motion puts us into the now and helps us to stop spinning” in the hamster wheel of the mind or ‘the machine’ creatives are so often devoured by.
Exercise sets the tone for the day because it gets us out of our head and back into our body, where the heart beats and we can get back in sync with the rhythm of our heart.
“Life is a series of hurdles, not obstacles or roadblocks” is the lesson a horse riding artist learned while training her horse.
Insight follows from sight; walking slows us down and brings us back present where the magick of life is ever present, if we’re willing to look for it. Just as diamonds, gold and all other forms of gemstones can only be found by one with eyes to notice the uncut version of that which others want in its polished form, an artist must be willing to take in the signs, symbols and omens of our environment so that we can notice the inspiration that is always showing up for us.
BUILDING YOUR ARTIST’S ALTAR: Consciously bringing holy elements into your life and environment, in a specifically designated space, allows you to develop the habit of incorporating the sacred into your day.
Get spiritually centred through creative rituals of your own; break through stuffy BS (Belief Systems) and religious expectations that cramped your artist’s style early on so that you can freely create as the Grand Overall Designer of the life you get to lead.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this summary and the chapter reading while I followed the book medicine Julia shared in this chapter by moving my body in a way that felt good for me. I hope you will choose to do the same and would love to see your biggest takeaway in the comments below!
Until next week’s edition of “Sunday Summaries of The Artist’s Way with Laura JeH,” with love and respect,
Laura JeH – Namaste
PS. With “Independence Day” in the USA tomorrow and “Canada Day” on July 1st it’s a timely chapter indeed. Did you know there are actually four verses to the Canadian National Anthem? I sang them all in this video here.