Sunday, March 13, 2011

Artist's Way Seminar: After The Second Day

Let me tell you, digging through all the artistic blocks and censors you have built up through the years is hard, exhausting work.

It has been well worth it, absolutely.  But I crashed hard last night and slept so soundly the alarm was startling this morning.  This seminar has been incredibly energizing in so many ways for me, but my body needed down time in the worst way last night -- funny how when I need to process heavy information, my refuge has always been and still is a lot of sleep.

Woke up and did my seminar homework morning pages first thing. 

It's funny to think about them as homework, because I do them regularly these days and love them.  But it's been fun doing them here because I'm in such a creative frame of mind that I'm digging at some really useful stuff that has helped unlock so many things for me.  It's really been a wonderful tool for meditation and creativity while I've been here.

Meals yesterday were also wonderful.  Again.

Breakfast was steel cut oats with yogurt, walnuts, sliced banana and some honey and cinnamon.  Beyond tasty.  Had a boiled egg as well, and was totally full.  Healthy yet satisfying.

Then it was off to my seminar for 3 and a half hours of work.  And I do mean WORK.

Julia Cameron is a serious taskmistress, in a really good way, and we worked through a LOT of stuff over the course of the morning.  One really great thing that she does is something she calls "popcorn," wherein you have some exercise that you have worked on -- digging through reasons for blocks or things you want to do but haven't had the courage to try, etc., and then you get into groups of 2 or 3 people and share that work.  When you have finished sharing, the other folks in the group write out a positive comment or two about what you've said, or something to encourage you to take the steps you want to take.

So now I have a whole pile of lovely notes about me:  my motivations, my inner self, how much other people believe in my dreams for me.  It's astonishing how a little pile of notes from total strangers can make such a huge difference over the course of a day, but they do. 

It's really wonderful.
So much so that I'm thinking about taking my notes and putting them all in a little scrapbook, so I'll have them to page through when I start doubting myself or getting grumpy about being stuck at some point.  It is a hugely powerful tool and one that I love Julia for sharing with all of us.  It's absolutely brilliant in its simplicity, as all the best ideas are, but really, really powerful at a gut level.

By lunch though?  I was starving, and wolfed down some vegetarian 3-bean chili, a piece of cornbread, some steamed kale with roasted garlic and sunflower seeds, a salad with watercress and other assorted veggies and more of their yummy homemade tahini and garlic house dressing.  (That stuff is so yummy,. I could take a gallon home.  I have got to get the recipe for it!) 

I grabbed an apple for later, and then headed out for the assigned 20 minute silent walk.  We were supposed to walk and think and listen for any "aha!" moments that might pop up. 

I got the bright idea to walk over to the labyrinth that Kripalu has and walk through it.  When I say "bright idea" what I r3eally mean is that I am insane, because the grounds on which the labyrinth is set up were covered in slushy snow and ice, and I spent a lot of the time walking through it just trying not to fall and bust my rear end.  Given my klutzy nature, that was not exactly the easiest thing to do, but I did learn something vital about myself:  when I engage my stubborn streak, I can power through pretty much any obstacle...and I need to engage that stubborn streak more often with my writing.

Put it to work for my own good, so to speak.

After the walk, I came back to the room, cleaned up a little and put my boots out to dry (did I mention the piles of slushy snow?), munched on my apple, and then headed back for more afternoon seminar work. 

Can I just say that we have some incredibly giving people in this group, who are so supportive at the same time they are working through some really tough issues and blocks of their own?  It's really been a dynamic experience to be in a room that full of creative and supportive energy -- I've absolutely loved this and highly recommend it to anyone who might consider it. 

Dinner was also pretty tasty:  Italian tomato, veggie and bean soup (like a brothier version of minestrone), baked flounder with a lemon and caper sauce, some garlic polenta (which was not one of my favorites), another yummy salad -- this time with watercress, some diced avocado and pumpkin seeds on it which was beyond yummy, some steamed greens with toasted almonds, and a small slice of carrot cake for dessert. 

I sat with a lovely lady from Tennessee, and we commiserated about living in deep fried plate of the South territory in terms of meals where we live (fried okra, fatback collards, macaroni and cheese and fried chicken plate and three, anyone?).  It was really funny because we've both discovered that we really love kale while we've been here -- who knew?!? 

Afterward, I went back up to my room to do homework for the last session of the seminar and get packed to start home. 

It's been a lot of work, but I'm feeling more energized than I have in a long, long time.  It's funny how sometimes you have to create space for yourself to truly see where you are and where you want to go.  But this has really been invaluable for me. 

Julia Cameron has been wonderful this weekend, too, which has been a treat for me since it is always risky meeting people whose work you've admired in person.  Sometimes, they don't quite live up to what you expect or worse, but Julia has actually exceeded what I was expecting which has been a really lovely surprise.

For now though?  I have to finish packing and then head out for more inner work at the seminar.  More soon...
(Photo via Digitalnative.)

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