Becoming who you are

I have been doing Morning Pages for years, but I am finally working through Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way. The book is structured into 12 weeks of which week 1 is about recovering a sense of safety around artistic endeavors  No surprise that she has one work with negative self-talk – what she calls “blurts” or the opposite of affirmations.

I was surprised by how much negative self talk I have going on inside me. For most of the week I was soldiering on, noticing these negative voices and trying to flip them into workable affirmations. But I found that the frequency of these blurts easily outstripped my ability to deal with them. It was a case of the Hydra growing two heads for every one that I could cut off.

I started wondering about whether I couldn't deal with these blurts at another, more fundamental level. I read through Julia’s suggested creative affirmations and found this one: “As I listen to the creator within, I am led.” Working with this affirmation, I realized that a lot of my blurts are based in self-doubt and thinking that I am doing the wrong thing or not being sure whether I am doing the right thing. And this affirmation addresses the issue at the core.

The irony is that when I stop to think about things, such as when I write my morning pages, I am aware of a very clear ‘internal voice’. I think what this affirmation does, is to strengthen my faith in that voice. It helps me to become less other-directed and more inner-directed.

Later I realized that this internal creator is female, in an archetypal, Jungian sense. It is gentle, yet creative and intuitive and less about planning and more going with what makes sense in the moment. One night, after a long day’s work, with just 45 minutes to spare before having to attend a work dinner, I realized that I had to go for a run - a run that was completely unscheduled. I loved it, even though I didn't feel physically strong. Just being out there and knowing that I needed to be out there, was enough.

It feels like the Artists Way course is pulling me more deeply into becoming what I really am. Affirmations like these have help me to do more of what I desire most deeply. As the Greek Poet Pindar put it: “Becoming who you are.”

But don't be scared if becoming who you surprises you a little. Its early days on this course, but over the last two weeks I have returned to meditation, cut down on exercise further, worked more than ever before. So as my friend Len at Kalk Bay Peal playfully warns this week: Be careful what you wish for!

Also read:

About morning pages: Write yourself from moaning to bliss

About Julia Cameron and the Artist's Way

Miriam Webster online dictionary’s definitions of inner-directed and other-directed. Also have a look at the Wikipedia entry on David Riesman’s The Lonely Crowd, which is where these terms were first developed.

Wikipedia entry on Affirmations

The Creative Affirmations listed by Julia Cameron in the Artist’s Way

Wikipedia entry on Jungian thinking about the male and female principles 

Len's Blog Kalk Bay Peak

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