Journaling my Journey
Some years ago when I was feeling very low, my daughter sent me a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I started writing ‘morning pages’ as Julia suggested. It was just 3 pages of stream of consciousness words, whatever came into my head. Sometimes, if words just would not come, I drew sketches.
I used to get up very early in the morning anyway as I was finding it difficult to sleep. So before I listened to the radio, read the paper, did Sudoku, filled in a crossword, switched on my computer, or had any distraction or outside input I would write my morning pages. I did this religiously (interesting word) every day for the weeks and months that followed. I did not read the pages back and I did not show them to anyone. In fact if I was really down I would wrap the pages round with Sellotape and hide them in a cupboard, figuratively locking away the pain that was revealing itself on the pages.
The Artist’s Way is of course a 12 week programme for creative discovery and/or recovery. However, apart from the urge to draw little sketches alongside my pages I did not discover any hidden artistic talent during those 12 weeks! Nevertheless, I continued writing my morning pages and taking myself off on ‘artist’s dates’ for another couple of years, and my depression lifted.
In Autumn 2011 I saw an advert for a course at the Isbourne Foundation on “The Artists’s Way”. Knowing how much I had enjoyed following the book, I was intrigued and inspired to sign up, which I did. There I met tutor Dr Lesley O’Neill and joined a small group of women whom I immediately felt connected to. So I read the book again and inspired and encouraged by Lesley and the group, I discovered to my joy that I did have some creative talents. Poetry popped up, Haiku hurtled out. I dabbled in drawing, played with Plasticene, discovered Zentangles, started writing stories, and carried my camera everywhere I went. Now, I wrap my pages in pretty ribbon, not Sellotape, and I save them in a beautiful turquoise box with doves all over it. I now live the Artist’s Way. I am part of a small local community of creative and inspiring women and my life is transformed. With them I am free to be myself and express myself, with no pretensions, no explanations and no alibis required. There are never enough hours in the day for all I want to do. I have several writing projects on the go including newsletters, travelogues, competition entries, children’s stories, my blog, and of course my morning pages. But now I realise that they too are transformed into Journal entries. I realised this after seeing a recommendation for the book “Life’s Companion, Journal Writing as Spiritual Practice” by Christina Baldwin on the New Hampshire Writer’s Group blog www.nhwn.wordpress.com that I follow . I bought the book and look forward to continuing my journey of discovery ~ discovering myself!