Two weeks into Artist’s Way: big shifts and a return to 1980s crafting heaven

I just completed week two of the 12 week Artist’s Way program for recovering your creative self.  I need to put to page (er, screen) some of the shifts I have already seen in this short time. And I of course want to share with my readers because I know so many of you are artists, creatives, writers, spiritual seekers, and dreamers like myself.download

Here are what I’ve seen so far as being some of the biggest shifts and interesting outcomes thus far:

  1. A wonderfully delicious morning routine. Long ago I had a fabulous morning routine that involved waking at 6am, writing on this blog nearly daily, and gulping down copious amounts of cuban coffee. This routine ended up unraveling. The kid’s sleep routine changed and everything fell off the rails. The Artist’s Way has me back on track with waking early again (6am) and writing my morning pages. (Freestyle, stream-of-consciousness writing/journaling, for my eyes only.) It is awesome. I’m once again leaping out of bed, excited each morning for my time alone with a cup of chai and time to write.
  2. Unexpected creative bursts and ideas. One of the week 2 exercises was to list all sorts of activities you love and the last time you did them. My list included a lot of things that I hadn’t experienced since the late 1980s or early 90s. As I brainstormed, all sorts of related but unexpected things came to mind. Like, oh I remember making friendship bracelets and loving it. Wait, that reminds me, didn’t I used to make things with beads? What did I make? In my mind’s eye I could picture the tiny beads and remembered the feel of holding them in my hands. So, “bead making” went on the list. And this led to the next discovery….
  3. Unexpected parenting wins. Guess who would like to do 90% of the things on my list that I did when I was a kid? Why, my own kid! In fact, I shared the list with her and she was beyond ecstatic. I suddenly had a partner in crime. I went to the craft store without a plan, only following my whims (WOAH so right-brained of me!) and came home with bracelet making supplies.
    It turns out I like making beaded bracelets. What the what?!
  4. I made a bracelet! My daughter did some beading and actually was pretty amazing at working with the tiny beads (which I thought would be too difficult for her five-year-old motor skills. I was wrong.) Overall, I’m becoming a more playful parent and I’m also doing a lot more creative stuff with my daughter. Y’all I bought puffy paints and did them with my daughter. We are having a blast! WIN-WIN. But not everything is fun and games…
  5. ANGER. AND. FRUSTRATION!  Guess what. When you have a lovely morning routine and your child suddenly realizes you are waking an hour earlier and wants to join you, you get really sad and annoyed. I know it’s not her fault that she wants to hang out with me – I am pretty awesome with the beads and puffy paints after all. BUT. . .my morning routine! My precious, precious morning routine. I did not like this disruption at all. Which is why it was no surprise that when I turned the book pages to read about WEEK THREE, it was all about…
  6. Gaining Power and setting Boundaries. I laughed when I opened the chapter. OH. SO I AM RIGHT ON TRACK HUH? Because it turns out when you start having the creative bursts and experiencing the joy of creativity again, guess what? You don’t want that time taken away from you! But instead of becoming resentful or cranky (not that I was either of those things…never, not me!), Cameron writes how you can–guess what–address the boundary violations and fix them.
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    The morning sunrise view from my writing spot. Oh, so glorious!!
  7. I’m still figuring out the morning routine. Today I had my time to myself, but I decided if my daughter does wake really early on future days, I will swap the morning routine – get her ready for preschool, take her to school, and then return home for the writing pages time alone. It isn’t ideal (because frankly there is something quite magical about sitting with my journal watching the sun rise…ahhhh) but I also need to find solutions that ditch the resentment and allow for flexibility when parenthood throws me a curve ball.

Opening the door

I thought I had writer’s block. For three months (almost) I despaired that the writing gods had gone away and it was officially over. No more. All hope was lost.

What I did not see (or more accurately, did not want to see) was that I was avoiding my truth.

We write to expose the unexposed. If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. Otherwise, you’ll just be rearranging furniture in rooms you’ve already been in. Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer’s job is to see what’s behind it, to see the bleak unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words–not just into any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues.

ANNE LAMOTT, Bird by Bird

I didn’t want to look behind the door. Behind the door was pain and despair, and only a writer would want to open that door!

I forgot that I write in order to know myself. It isn’t optional, this writing thing. It is core to my being and how I experience the world. I need to put words on the page–whether anyone sees them or not. I have over a hundred “draft” posts in my blog for that reason. The truth needs to be seen–even if only be me in the early light of the morning.

None of that can happen if I don’t sit in this chair. So sit in this chair I will, once again. Some days it will appear that I wasn’t writing, but those are days that I need to see my own truth before I can share it with the larger world. And then you too can have a glimpse into these rooms.

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Pour me some hot water and get me a lemon! Change is in the air.

Today I’m savoring my cup of coffee today more than ever.

First of all I have a cross breeze flowing through my house. It is glorious. I opened the back doors to the lanai and the fresh air is tickling my toes! Oh it is a sight to behold. It is officially the time of year in Florida where you can sit with doors open without being drenched in sweat. Glory be!

And did I mention that I have my cuban coffee? We need to talk a little bit more about that.

Today I will have one cup. One kind of weak cup of cuban coffee. (Ugh.)

And in T minus two days I will have no cup of coffee.

Voluntarily.

For twelve days and twelve nights I will abstain from coffee and other caffeinated substances. I will be resisting the Cheddar Jack Cheeze-its’ siren call. I will give side-eye to the chocolate covered raisins. I might even (gasp) give up cheese.

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Seriously this is what my hubs looked like in college.

No, I haven’t gone full blown hippy. Please. I love the hippies but they are not my people.

So what is up?

WELL, I may not be full blown hippy but I am a little bit hippy…cuz guess what, I am doing a CLEANSE!

Let me pause to give you time to roll your eyes.

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Ready to move on?

I get it. I am not really sure any actual “science” backs up all the claims people make about cleanses. Pff. Who needs “evidence” or “research”.  I am doing it because I did one years ago as part of a yoga class. And, it felt freaking fantastic. Like, I was stunned by how great I felt afterwards. Kind of floored by it actually.

And frankly, I blame Jen Pastiloff. I signed up for her online class and as part of the experience we are doing a ton of self-care, yoga, journaling, all that jazz. And while the cleanse is optional I figured, why not? We are not doing the Beyoncé only-drink-liquids-containing-cayenne cleanse. Hell no. This is all about eating actual food. Just the really boring stuff. Vegetables!! BROWN RICE. NUTS. And if you feel crazy, maybe some kelp and wheat grass juice!!

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But no cuban coffees. Let me repeat: NO CUBAN COFFEES.  It will just be me and my computer at 6:30 am with some hot water with lemon! Oh that will be fun.

Yes, change is in the air. The lanai doors are now open. The fall breezes are blowing. And sarah will soon be decaffeinated. 


Have you done a cleanse? Have you mocked people who have? Share your story.