Recovering A Sense of Identity
Welcome back to my 12-week journey of the Artist’s Way! After a week’s delay due to unforeseen, but very welcome circumstances, today is the last day of week 2, and I’m excited to share my experience with you!
This chapter was all about recovering my own voice and embracing my childhood wounds in order to overcome them. It reminded me that a lot of times the annoyingly critical inner monologue has a voice of another person and , in fact, has nothing to do with how I feel.
It was also about finding time for myself by realistically looking at things that take up my time, and seeing if it actually brings me joy and helps me on my creative journey.
To be honest, I didn’t really feel this week’s material as much as I did the last week’s. While there’s of course always room for improvement, my life mostly goes the way I like it. There are no crazymakers, there are no toxic people surrounding me anymore. If I ever criticize myself, the voice within is mine and no one else’s. Also, criticism is way kinder than it used to be, and focuses on things that can be realistically changed rather than general negative phrases like “everything sucks”.
That process didn’t happen overnight, of course. A few years back I realized that the occasional unkindness that I would show to myself was not, in fact, mine – it was spoken in my mother’s voice, in my teachers’ voices, in a random Instagram commentor imaginary voice. When I accepted that someone else’s opinion, in fact, is not the ultimate universal truth, but their opinion, life got immensely easier.
Another thing was to learn how to say “No” to things that are not that exciting to me. It is true that sometimes I still agree to do stuff that I have little interest in, but most of my friends are very respectful of each other’s time and not abusive at all – so saying “Yes” is easy, because I know that it’s ultimately my choice – I never feel forced.
Chapter 2 also suggested to focus on activities that bring joy to your life. Looking at my list of 20 activities, most of them simple pleasures that are achievable daily, it made me wonder if they are a tad too simple. Given that I started work on my sense of happiness and fulfillment
(as well as acceptance of the fact that my happiness is my own responsibility) quite a while ago, most things that give me joy have been reworked into something that can be done really easily. Let me explain it 🙂
I knew a friend who needed a stream of constant thrills to feel excited. While there’s nothing wrong with spontaneity and adventurousness, at some point you gotta ask yourself a question: can I be happy with just myself? All the people, distractions and thrills aside, can I be entertained with my own brain? Can I be by myself and not feel lonely, at least in short periods of time?
While I’m certainly not judging anyone for their choices, here’s mine: I want to feel sufficiently joyful with my everyday activities. Big plans, travel adventures and sudden changes of scenery are great, and I definitely welcome more of that, but I want them to be extras to my life, not its main focus, or something that has too much of impact on ‘default’ mood, if you know what I mean. I might be choosing to play it safe, but I’m ok with that for the time being.
Talking about adventures, another great task from this week of the Artist’s way is to create a Life Pie. Draw a circle, then divide it into 6 pieces for spirituality, exercise, play, work, friends, romance, and adventure. Place a dot in each slice at the degree to which you are fulfilled in that area (outer rim indicates great; inner circle, not so great). Here’s what I got so far:
The book says that it might look like a tarantula, but mine is more like… I don’t even know what it’s like))) What does it look like to you? And what did your Life Pie look like the first time you tried drawing it?