Posted by: mew | August 16, 2009

Whatever you are willing to declare

As part of my efforts to jump start my creative life again, I’d spoken to my sister Mandy a few weeks ago about doing another Julia Cameron book, either Walking in this World or Finding Water.  Definitely not Vein of Gold.  Neither of us felt remotely up to such an undertaking (although if you’d like to follow along and witness a courageous soul who is working her way solo through that opus, I highly recommend this blog.)

Mandy will begin visiting us, usually once per month, in autumn once the concert season starts.  She plays in the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, and our home is conveniently situated for her to commute to rehearsals and performances.  Plus, I love having her here.  I miss her so much since moving from Atlanta.  Mandy is definitely a person who ignites my creative sparks, a “fuselighter,” as Julia would say, and we often mirror one another’s processes in astonishing ways.  It’s a beautiful relationship, and I know she’ll be showing up on this blog more in the future as she does tend to make regular appearances in my creative unfolding.

But I digress.

As glad as I was to have a block-busting endeavor on the horizon, I still had the nagging feeling I needed something NOW. Which is why I was thrilled to stumble upon a group just forming, dedicated to taking the spiritual journey through the book that started it all, The Artist’s Way.  These women are forming a creative cluster and then blogging about their journey.  And I’ve joined them.


This week we’re filling our backpacks with tools for the journey (morning pages, artist’s dates) and signing our contracts.  On Wednesday, we’ll officially begin the trek.  Meanwhile, miss R, our guide and fellow participant, has given us a couple of questions to set our intention before we ever set foot on the trail.  Let’s light a stick of my favorite incense (myra, vanilla, and tulsi)* and ponder them.

What are your hopes, dreams, and wishes?

Hopes:  I hope I’m finally at that point Anais Nin so famously got to (in what, her early 20’s?):

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

I think I can safely say I’m there.  Around my birthday this year, I got so depressed, realizing I was living my life in narrower and narrower circles.  Every time I said “no” to some adventure, refused to risk exposure or ridicule, ignored the promptings of my artist child or denied a piece of work I’d made by hiding it in a drawer or, even worse, destroying it, I was making it that much harder to take any small positive action forward.  Let’s just say I’m a very timid, doubtful person, and life thus far has validated many of my fears.  Probably self-confirming prophecies, but still, the repetition of the conditioning behavior is damning over the long term.

I was beginning to feel like the starling who couldn’t get out.  (From Lawrence Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey, seen here in an excerpt of the 1999 film version of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, one of my favorite movies.)  Except I felt like a rather stranger bird behind bars.   Something like this:

stockvault_3631_20070301And I’m sick of it.  I’m fed up with not taking action on behalf of myself and my dreams.  Which reminds me, my dreams?  I’m not telling.  (Insert playful raspberry here.)  Not because I’m being a brat, but because some of them are not quite ready for revealing.  I don’t think it’s wrong to hold your true-north dreams rather close to your chest.

And as for my wishes… I want to write a whole post about wishing sometime.  I’m rather fascinated with the concept, especially since I learned that a particular tribe of Native Americans saw wishing as a virtuous and religious act and thought we should do it continually.  Besides, making a wish is just fun, especially if done with ceremony.  My wishes for this particular undertaking all center around gathering courage to act and the discipline to take my ideas from nebulous vision to reality, even clumsy, imperfect reality.

What do you want to create?

“You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare.”  – Georgia O’Keefe, (she of the fabulous female-energy-friendly art)

So I’m declaring these things that I want to create during these 12 weeks and beyond:

  1. Developing an everyday creative life with space to breathe, time to play, a feeling of abundance, and a continual background sense of peace and joy
  2. Writing a novel (several, actually)
  3. Taking my altered art into new territory (larger-format pieces, challenging techniques, entering more contests, participating in more swaps, and returning to creating mail art for the pure pleasure of it)
  4. Trusting my intuition in the kitchen and getting better at from-scratch cooking sans recipes
  5. Returning to belly dancing as an everyday fitness practice and way of connecting to the Divine Feminine
  6. Learning to knit socks and/or sew (whichever materials and opportunities show up in my life first)

Whew!  That sounds like a lot.  I guess I aim high.

Can’t wait to get started…

artistwaybadge1(2) *This blogpost is dedicated to F., who shouted “Yuck! That stinks!” at the top of his lungs while I was sitting in ceremonial contemplation of my hopes, dreams, and wishes, sniffing my beloved incense — which I usually burn when he’s not home.  May he always keep me from taking myself too seriously.


  1. oh this is a fantastic post! Your words have inspired me.. they have me shouting ‘yes! that’s me too!’, they have me nodding in agreement and in sisterhood.. so glad you have joined this group that is growing like Topsy!

    I like how you mention the American Indians saying that we should make wishes often – I love that concept.. makes me realize we are all so very similar wherever we are and whatever spiritual path we take.
    and ps: always shoot for the stars.. nothing less xo

  2. Oh, what an excellent list! I can’t wait to see all your fantastic creations! And oh, your post tugged at my heart, nodding, nodding, yes, I too know that doubt & fear that can be so damn paralyzing. May we both break free and become big, juicy, creative goddesses!

  3. i may just have to check out your group. i know i’m a few weeks ahead, but it would be interesting to share this process.

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