Monday, November 15, 2010
The Artist's Way Continues
Week 2 of The Artist's Way was all about recovering a sense of identity. The first two words of the chapter are "GOING SANE" just to give you an idea of what I'm dealing with here if you aren't also reading the book. It talks about "poisonous playmates" and "crazymakers" who are all essentially people who sabotage our efforts at recovering our creativity. Then the other saboteur is me. We all sabotage ourselves through our skepticism and self-doubt.
All last week, I found myself thinking and writing about everyone that sucks me dry. In doing so, I felt empty, lonely, sad, lost, and confused. Perhaps the process allowed me to evaluate my relationships to see which ones are healthy and which aren't. As well-intentioned as that is, I think it also forced me to evaluate my relationship with myself and I wasn't happy with what I discovered: A list of goals and ideas and promises that have not been honored, criticism oozing from every pore.
There is a paragraph in the chapter that reads as follows: success or failure, the truth of a life really has little to do with its quality. The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention. When I read those words, I realized that somewhere along the way, I stopped paying attention. This time last year, I found myself gazing out my office window at the trees painted with vibrant colors and appreciating the beauty of the season. This year, all I've focused on is how I feel, what I get, why I'm being ignored, how I've been wronged, etc. Instead of just taking a moment to appreciate my surroundings, I'm all about me. No wonder I've been struggling. No wonder I feel so alone. I haven't been here for me.
I was talking to hubby the other day about the art of paying attention and it reminded me of an experience I had recently. A few weeks ago, I was feeling stressed out and overwhelmed (big surprise) so I decided to just take a quiet bath. I put lavender smellies in it and dimmed the lights and everything. A tranquil place to just breathe. I was lying in the tub, belly down, resting on my elbows with my knees bent and my feet playfully sticking out. My gaze fixed on the surface of the purple bath water, I was gently blowing toward the bottom of the tub so the air was making tiny ripples. One breath then I would allow the water to settle before I repeated the process. In doing this, I noticed something. I could see my reflection perfectly while the water was still. Once I forced the ripples with a gentle wind, the image of me was blurred beyond recognition. To see myself clearly, be still.
Sunday, I sat in my jammies all day long. I made breakfast for hubby, sipped on espresso, then spent most of the day putting a puzzle together. I took a break to make lunch then another one to make some banana bread but I allowed myself one full day to do nothing but just be. Putting a puzzle together is like a moving meditation. Those who like to knit or crochette or do origami or wood working know what I'm talking about. It's a stillness in your mind and in your soul while engaging your senses in a simple monotonous task that allows freedom to sing in your heart.
Week 3 is all about recovering a sense of power. The beginning of the chapter warns of possible erratic behavior again. Bursts of anger and joy and grief. OH MY! Just what I need. It introduces the concept of synchronicity or if you prefer as I do, serendipity. Happy accidents. Shame is another topic this week.
How was your week 2?
How did you do with going sane?
What do you do to pay attention?