The Artists’s Way: Recovering A Sense of Connection

a bunch of trees coming together symbolizing me recovering a sense of connection as per chapter 7 of Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way"

Welcome to the Week 7 post of The Artist’s Way journey! This week it was about recovering a sense of connection. Once again exercises were aiming at proving that I had a creative streak in me all along, especially back in childhood years.

I do agree with this claim that Julia Cameron makes, and I do like the message. However, doing the exercises is becoming annoying.

A week after week we’re aiming at healing the inner child. We’re letting the child play with all the favorite toys that have been neglected ever since the child has had to grow up. We heal child’s perception of self, nurture self esteem and remind that a lot of things, way more that the child believes, are possible. We’ve done all this multiple times in previous weeks, and it was helpful, enlightening, and sometimes even cathartic.

So I get it. I really do. As adults, we carry around so much disappointment, so much bitterness and insecurity that we do need to heal ourselves before our ability to create resurfaces. But doing the “As a kid, I missed a chance, I was hurt, I couldn’t…” type of exercises is challenging to me at this point. And this is why.

Making a piece of art may feel a lot like telling a family secret. A quote by Julia Cameron
Great quote by Julia Cameron.

I’m simply over it. I’m over complaining about my childhood, even when I’m complaining only to myself. I’m tired of finding the little things that I didn’t do when I was little because my family couldn’t afford something or wasn’t interested in letting me pursue something. I don’t see these exercises as helpful anymore.

You see, we all had rough childhood. Growing up IS rough, no matter how privileged or not you were born to be. Every single parent in the world, no matter how amazing, has wounded their child psychologically in one way or another. That is just the way it is. And I choose not to focus on it anymore.

Authenticity of my work is important to me, but I refuse to keep my childhood wounds raw and open for that purpose. I feel like with some exercises “The Artist’s Way” tries to dig deeper into places that should not always be uncovered. I get the purpose of them – to access the neglected part of your consciousness – but at some point I believe it to become more harmful than good. Some questions remind me of that psychologist who keeps on asking about your pain points only to revert you to them when you least expect it. At some point it’s not healing anymore, it’s masochism.

The artist's Way: recovering a sense of connection. Week 7 of Julia Cameron's The artists's way journey

At some point we as adults have to make a choice: to live as a wounded, constantly recovering child, or to step over some facts of your life to become a better, stronger adult. This is the thing: no matter how many childhood issues you dig up, there’s always more. There’s always that one-liner from a random person that could haunt you. However, it only will hurt if you give it power.

I know that I approach this situation as black and white, right for me or wrong, but this is just where I am. I’m at a point where I’m experiencing the clash of different philosophies. One of them is all about conscious choice of control (and god knows I love the sense of control with all my heart), and the other one is about willing (agreeing) to be vulnerable on demand.

Well, this is the simple truth: I do not wish to be that raw, not even alone in the room with myself. I like seeing childhood as an endless source of ideas and inspiration (as in ‘what else can I do that I’ve never done before but always dreamed of’), but I don’t want to see creativity or inspiration used as a reason to uncover wounds that have been forgotten or healed, even only half way. It is feeling raw for the sake of feeling raw. Thank you, but no thank you.

I do let my mind wonder on occasion, and sometimes suppressed memories and feelings emerge, but I don’t let them play in the sun for too long. At some point you gotta ask yourself: does it benefit me? And if a newly uncovered memory does not serve you well (i.e. if it makes you feel defeated, self-conscious, or simply wreaks your day by its unabashed, unpredictable presence), then what’s the point? It’s like you keep on hurting yourself just to see what happens.

So that’s that. I completed the “Archaeology” exercises form Chapter 7 and decided not to participate in similar exercises anymore. I did movie exercise (I always like a good makeover movie), and I did a collage exercise in a private board on Pinterest (as I own exactly 0 magazines as we just recently moved to a new house).

You know, I’m still walking this journey as I committed to it, but to be quite honest, I’m not as thrilled anymore. Maybe it’s self-sabotage on some level, maybe it’s a refusal to give up the sense of control over my life that I like to exercise, or maybe this journey is not for me. You know, we all have our own paths to creative freedom and inner happiness, and it would be silly to expect a single philosophy to apply and work for everyone.

These are my thoughts on Week 7, Recovering a sense of connection of “The Artist’s Way”by Julia Cameron. What are your thoughts? How do you feel about walking down your memory lane for creative purposes? I’d love to hear from you!

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