Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Artist's Way Intro

Sparkling Wonder (C) 2005 Olenka Designs

Hello fellow traveler's on the Artist's Way. I'm so glad to be able to join you in this adventure. Sorry for the silence last week since being introduced to the AW ring, but the neck/head 'discomfort' was very disruptive last week. I've started physical therapy and neck traction which will hopefully get things back into shape.

I feel a bit shy about diving into the middle of TAW journey, when you all know each other already, but hope we can fill in the gaps as we go along. I actually read the book about 6 years ago and had it on the shelf for a few years before that, so the ideas are familiar to me, but I wanted to actually work through the exercises with other creative women, to see what would open at this point in time.

I have been writing Morning Pages with very few gaps for 5 years now. Can't imagine what my life would be like without them, since the emotional roller-coaster that started when my husband was diagnosed with cancer never stopped, just seemed to swerve onto new tracks as the years went by and my brother in law and several very dear friends also passed away--every 6 months a new loss for 4 years! Deep faith, loving family and my background in metaphysics supported me during the ups and downs, but I discovered that all the hidden scars and buried dreams of the past that were shaken loose by the losses now had to be faced again, one last time before they would finally release. Even reading this first chapter this week, before reading Julia's list of negative belief examples, I put the book down and wrote a page of my own. It was interesting that as I wrote each one, an inner voice refuted each statement, but a list of negative beliefs still formed. OK. These are the markers of what still needs care. Good to know.

#1. MP= 7/7. My practice is to write morning pages first thing in the morning, before a short meditation and heading out for the day. Whenever I start reading (now TAW), my journal is beside me to capture any insights that surface or to note strong responses, eg. read a quote and burst into tears....why? write it down (like Julia's recommendation for noting 'blurts'). This has worked very well for me and this week was no exception. I thought it would be easy to whiz right through the first chapter and move on, since I want to catch up to the rest as much as possible by the end of the month. Whenever there was a spot/quote which caused a strong gut reaction, I cried and wrote some more. It's all like a treasure hunt, each reaction pointing to a clue of where to look next.

p. 28 "There is just this dream, this feeling, this urge, this desire. There is seldom any real proof, but the dream lives on." Yes! "Give yourself permission to be a beginner!" Yes! Everywhere I go there is the potential for the inner critic to cut in with the opinion that I "should know better by now; be able to do it well by now, have reached a higher level by now." After all the clearing work done so far, I can finally allow myself to start again with wonder.

#2. My artist date was simple this week. After PT went to the beautiful library nearby and sat in their big leather armchairs and read magazines: Architectural Digest, Psychology Today and Oprah. Through the large multi-panes windows one saw a pond in the park across from the library reflecting the blue sky, trees and swimming geese like a mirror. It was a lovely, restful excursion, which had not been possible lately because driving is restricted these days.

#3 & 4. In the binder which I used for "Recovering Your Inner Child" exercises, I have written lists of "old enemies of creative self-worth" and people who injured the little child I was. Writing a letter to those who left their marks has helped me face the inner fears. Telling stories in written detail helped release the pressure of hiding the pain and released the self-blame that had remained. It surprises me still, that some people's effect requires more than one letter or telling that story in several different ways. Then again, the journey IS a spiral.

#6. Being one who also was lucky enough to have had "champions of creative self worth," there is another section in that binder for their names and letters of gratitude written in their memory...a soothing balm, a ray of hope, a place of joy.

#7. Time to write another thank-you letter to my current mentor.

#8. Imaginary lives:
- world traveler and photographer
- singer, songwriter of my own style
- published author and poet
- my artwork in museums
- intuitive healer
- astronaut: only if I don't have to do math, just travel to other planets
- garden & interior designer
- ballroom dancer
- airplane pilot
- scuba diver working with dolphins and photographing coral reefs

That's it for now. Feel free to let me know whatever would be more helpful to this shared exploration. Thanks again!


Pat/SWquilter said...

Beautiful snowflake design!! I hope the PT helps with the pain and soon! Don't worry about joining the group late - this is a great group, and I think you'll enjoy the journey with us. Just looking over your blog, I think you've got lots you could teach me about the creative process!

Olenka said...

Thank you! I was resting on the couch and getting depressed that another day was passing and no artwork was getting done, so to do at least something, I took a piece of paper and scissors, leaned back onto the pillows and cut away. I made several of different sizes, remembering how my sisters and I used to make snowflakes as children. Very restful. Yesterday, I placed one on a piece of fabric and took the photo which you see here. Thanks for your warm welcome and encouragement.

Jane Ann said...

Welcome to our group, Olenka. If you're already familiar with TAW, you will be up to speed very quickly. I have the awe of a newbie--lots of golly, gee moments compared to those who are taking a second or third trip down The Artist's Way. I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know every single member of this group, and I bet you will too.

Rian said...

Hi Olenka, welcome! Sorry it took me so long to get over to your page, but with the holidays and all... you know. I love your Sparkling Wonder, it reminds me of the snowflakes we would make for the tree and windows when we little.

My stepdaughter lives in Fairfield County. Well, I think so anyway--she's in Redding. She works for Taunton Press.

Looks like you have been mighty busy getting up to speed.

Again, welcome. And don't be shy, come in and sit down for a while.

Tracey said...

Welcome Olenka! I hadn't realized that we had a new member of TAW so it's a nice surprise! Your snowflake design is stunning! Are you planning on going further with that?
It sounds like you are already making some nice 'headway' into TAW. I hope that you are able to put to rest some sorrows and pick up some new creative joys!

Olenka said...

Thank you for the warm welcome! As for the snowflake design, I printed it onto thick glossy paper in various sizes and used it for gift tags & bookmarks this year and do plan to work further with the image--already tried out different colors to distance the Winter theme from the design.