The Book That Saved Me

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Since this blog is predominantly a writer’s blog, I thought it would be fitting to share with you what I’m currently reading.

I know I’ve said this before, and perhaps I have gone on about it a little like a broken record, but I’ve got a well-loved copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron on my desk. I took myself through the program from August to November, 2014, and while you could say I’ve “completed” the program, it’s something I want to go back to again and again. It saved me.

artistsway
http://juliacameronlive.com/

Last summer was tough, fraught with problems I never thought I would have to tackle in my lifetime. It depleted me in every sense – emotionally, creatively, energetically. I bottomed out in August, after one-too-many rejections in my acting life. I had an idea for a book I kept trying to start and just couldn’t, I never seemed to get around to shooting new episodes of my web series “Bertie and Margie“, and I felt I had a big, steaming plate of nothing in front of me. I belong to a loosely organized gang of creative beings called the Creative Women’s Circle, where we talk about our creative projects, successes and failures, and find ways to egg each other on in our endeavors. In our meeting that month I talked about how I was working on nothing, felt like creating nothing, and had come to a total creative standstill. And I felt very apathetic about the whole thing.

One afternoon late in the month, after a particularly challenging day of doing nothing and accomplishing nothing, it suddenly occurred to me to pick up The Artist’s Way. I had had the book for 15 years, it was recommended reading in graduate school but I had never gotten around to it. That book had been on the chopping block countless times over the years when desperate circumstances found me selling books online for a quick buck, but it was always spared that fate. Some little part of me inside felt it just wasn’t time.

I’m so grateful I never let that book go.

I picked it up on a stifling afternoon in late August and began the program that very day. I could get all preachy and proselytizing here about how it transformed me in those dark days. Or you could just look at some of my previous posts like this one or this one that were inspired by the lessons I was working through at the time. I began to remember how to look at the world with joy and love again.

The Artist’s Way is an incredible resource for blocked creatives. It has been a life-saving tool for me. I honestly would never have written a novel last year if I hadn’t thought to pick up this book.

If you need a lifeline, I can not recommend it highly enough. It saved me, and I believe it has the power to save you, too, if you need it.

 

6 thoughts on “The Book That Saved Me”

  1. The Artist’s Way has saved me too. I think you have to be ready for it though. I too had the book for decades and had only read through a third of it and practiced the morning pages for a while way back when I probably wasn’t ready. Now, at 68, having gone through a difficult 3 year relationship and finally breaking it off, and then immediately following that having to deal with my elderly mother’s fall which broke her pelvis and upper left arm ( 3 days in the hospital, 8 weeks in rehab, having to move her out of Assisted Living and into a Board and Care which turned out to be awful so had to move her to a different Board and Care 3 weeks later, then surgery on her arm and now she’s back in rehab for a few months. It’s been completely exhausting, and yet also probably the happiest time in my life. All this craziness started 3 years ago when I “went out there” and entered a relationship after 17 years of being single. I fell in love completely and madly, but there were tons of red flags I ignored and it was a relationship that never really met my needs. It was all about HIM. I lost myself. Then my mom’s continual weakening and diminishment of quality of life, her fairly often having falls, her neediness, the constant calls and demands for this and that. I jumped to her every common and have had to learn to just say “no” sometimes. But anyway….I saw on line that Julia had a new book out geared for retired people. Its really written for the very newly retired who need to put some structure in their lives and I’ve been retired for 5 years. But its still been just great for me because one of my big issues has always been a lack of self discipline. I know what I need to do, but have a difficult time doing it consistently (morning pages, walking, going to yoga and the gym, etc.) And I got the book on my Kindle – it’s called: It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again. Its got all the exact same practices to follow as in her original book, but additional stuff for retired people. A miraculous thing has happened to me: Self discipline has become effortless. I wake every morning and make a cup of coffee and do my morning pages, I follow that by doing my daily guided meditation (I have dozens of them from Deepak Chopra on my phone), and I’ve been very consistently going to yoga twice a week and the gym 2 times a week. I haven’t gotten the daily walks in though – have to work on that. But I’ve been doing an Artist’s Date every week and have found them to be so much fun and I feel like I’ve really become my own new best friend. It feels wonderful. I awaken early, excited to start a new day. I’m an artist and have done some really good work during this time, even selling two pieces to friends who commissioned them. I started the Artists’ Way practices on July 6 and haven’t missed a single day…it’s become like breathing or brushing my teeth…its just something I do. Its become part of who I am. The amazing thing is how I feel my attitudes about myself and life in general shifting to such a more positive view. I am truly happy right now and I feel far more well equipped to handle what ever comes my way good or bad than I have ever felt in my entire life. I think anyone, artist or not, can benefit greatly from Julia’s Books and if you’re newly retired….this new one is awesome. But even if you’ve been retired for years, its still a great book to read and follow. And I think for anyone who has depression its a Must Read….I have had a lot of depression in my life, but not a moment of it since July 6, 2017 when I began my new immersion into Julia Cameron’s Artists Way practices.

    1. Hi Suzanne! I totally agree about needing to be ready for it. I, too, had the book in my possession for about 15 years before I finally pulled it out and started. Thank you for telling me about her new book, I didn’t know about it. It sounds like a wonderful resource! And I’m so happy for this reawakening you’re experiencing as a result! It’s been two years now since I finished, and I still do my morning pages every day on my front porch while sipping a cup of coffee. 🙂 It really is like learning to become your own best friend and champion. I’m so happy for you! 🙂

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