My Week 11 Check-in

As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve been working my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way with a group of friends. I am nearing the end, and I have been putting off writing this check-in for three days. But now I seem to have spent an inordinate amount of time on it. So I thought I’d be brave and share it here, too.

CAM00323I am now — unbelievably — on Week 12 of The Artist’s Way: “Recovering a Sense of Faith.”
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Unbelievably? It does feel as though I’ve been keeping this journal (those morning pages) for 3 months; that’s not the unbelievable bit. But I don’t feel “done.” The week 12 task that most resonates for me is, “Reread this book.” I feel as though there was something ELSE that I was meant to break through, or into, or out of. In this final chapter, I’m reminded that even when we don’t see it (change? improvement? direction?), it’s always already there: “Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.” (Julia Cameron, 195)
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What was it I expected? What did I get that I didn’t expect?
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I don’t give myself enough credit for being on an end-of-life journey with my mother…for the amount of parenting my three daughters still and constantly seem to need…for being at the end-stage of a novel (which seems to require more commitment than I have available at present). I don’t get enough sleep. I mean to go to the gym, but I don’t. I eat the wrong foods, and just when I think I’ve proved to myself that I can do without a glass of wine in the evening, I open another bottle. I decide to cut back to one cup of coffee per day, and find myself drinking 2 double lattes in the afternoon (why don’t I sleep at night?). I set aside a morning for my husband, and he wakes up with a bad cold, feeling miserable. I resolve to spend less money, and my 15 year old drops her phone on the driveway and smashes it. I promise my editor 50 pages, and my sister calls and says Mom needs me.
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Fortunately, the morning pages are portable. I have packed them to The Haven in Allyn every week (and twice a week) for 3 months. I’ve written them at Caffe Ladro in Edmonds, on the Edmonds-Kingston ferry, in Starbucks (Belfair) and in Mom’s room. In my sister’s guest room.
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I get up every morning and write my three morning pages. That has been a constant. I am remembering (sometimes) to play. “Life is meant to be an artist date. That’s why we were created.” (198) Oh!
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So, Bethany, Bethany-dear, Wise Self (!): Make healthy choices. Be kind to yourself. Be very, very kind. (And healthy choices ARE kind!)
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Keep writing. Have faith in the process.
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Oh, and this is supposed to the a “check-in,” isn’t it? I can’t claim to have had a deliberate Artist’s Date this week, but in a spare moment (early for a lunch date with my
husband), I dropped by The ArtSpot in Edmonds (on Main, or follow the link for more information) and I discovered that they have an Artist’s Way circle. They have a six-week art class based on The Artist’s Way, and they have a Wednesday drop-in class once a month. I signed up for the March 4 class, 6-8. If any of you can join me, that would be great.
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I am committed to each of your journeys, and I know you are at various weeks. Expect me to keep circling back (and continuing the chapter highlights). Thanks for hanging in with me this long, for cheering me on, and each other. I look forward to reading your check-ins.
(And I will check-in next week, too.)
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Yours in Love and Play, Bethany
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4 thoughts on “My Week 11 Check-in

  1. Thank you for the check-in and the inspiration. I slowed down at week 6, stalled out completely at week 7, and have been trying to get back on track. This helps. I have also skipped morning pages–more and more–in favor of sleep (desperately needed). Your preview of week 12 is helpful. If I can make it that far, maybe in round 2 I’ll take those Artist Dates.

  2. I so appreciate another thoughtful, truthful weekly letter that made me feel I have company on my path. I fly home tomorrow to somewhat of a disaster. My friend tells me it is no longer fun for my mom to live at home as Deisy (live in caregiver with 2 kids) and her husband have been fighting for a month and finally he socked her twice Monday and she called 911 and he went to jail (kids saw all this) – I’ve had his sister call me and tell me the evils of Deisy in very fast Indonesian English. It’s not a broken phone it’s broken lives – bless Emma only a broken phone, but her way of life too. Lukas’ sister’s bailed him out last night and he is probably there now – I will have to go to court to get an order to keep him away from my mother – which means the house.

    I read the poem Before you know what kindness is. . . . this morning about 10 times and cried and cried, I don’t know why that poem is so powerful in my life, I am thankful for Naomi Shihab Nye and all wise poets. I look forward to my morning pages. I’ve tried to have an artists day out but I’ve always had company. Being alone at the airport in Las Vegas with all the ding ding ding of the slot machines won’t be my idea of peace.

    Thank you everyone for being on this journey, to Bethany who began it all and to Julia Cameron who must have listened to God when she wrote it. Love, Carolynne

    1. Oh, Carolynne — lf there’s anything I can do, let me know. I am memorizing this poem (as I drive — from the Kim Rosen CD). Bethany

      On Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 9:40 AM, A Writer's Alchemy wrote:

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