I’m a big fan of Julia Cameron, or more accurately I’m a fan of her self-help book, The Artist’s Way. It had been suggested to me on a number of occasions and about ten years ago I finally gave it a go. And I have to say, it worked. Julia held my hand through the twelve week course and I came out a better person. Do it if you have the time, I highly recommend it. (Or more to the point, do it even if you don’t have the time.) What about it was so life changing? For one, she helped me decide that it was ok to seek out a therapist, which was transforming in and of itself. But perhaps more importantly she also led me back to what it is that I love. I love creating and I love helping people. Julia helped lead me to a fuller, more meaningful life and I am grateful.
When you think about it, it’s amazing that so many of us go astray from the things we love. As we get older, especially, it can be dismaying to realize that time passed by so quickly and we never really made the decisions we intended to make. Perhaps the most important thing that I took from The Artist’s Way is the connection with the creative process. To me, this has everything to do with circumventing the negative commentary from the nay sayers in our lives that led us down the stagnant path to begin with, and then to purposefully look for all the things that support us in living the life we wish to live. Julia Cameron often brings up the concept of synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence. When you look for it, it’s there. When you intentionally bring what you love into your life, it’s amazing to see how much more often it will show up for you. Here’s the thing: you have at this moment, right now, the ability to make a change. It doesn’t have to be a big change. But it can still be life-altering. Take ten minutes to think about this. What colors are you drawn to? What images? What sounds? Is there a particular touch of fabric or something in nature that brings back pleasant memories? A certain taste? What subjects in school piqued your interest? Were there any games that you enjoyed or always wanted to play? Is there some trinket you always wanted but never got? I say find what you love and go there, but what I really mean is find something you love and bring it into your life with intention. Find a way to bring some aspect of one or more of these things into your life today. Maybe it’s a matter of coloring a small piece of paper with a favorite marker and placing it strategically on your desk so that it brings a sense of calm or vibrancy to what you do. Or maybe you bring a caterpillar home to care for it and watch it transform into a butterfly. Maybe it’s re-reading an old favorite book or seeking out instructions to build a model airplane. Whatever floats your boat. And when you bring the things you love into your life you’ll also be surprised to realize how they enhance other aspects of your life that seem unrelated. It’s all there, you just have to look up and see it. Creating the life you love starts at this root level and works its way up and out. I’m happy that I get to continue Julia’s message and pass along aspects of the creative process to the clients with whom I come in contact. I love it, it’s one of the best parts of my job.
A Shel Silverstein poem for inspiration:
Listen To The Mustn’ts
Listen to Mustn’ts, child, listen to the Don’ts.
Listen to the Shouldn’ts, the Impossibles, the Won’ts.
Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.