Book Club – The Artist’s Way – Chapter 4

29 Jun

Chapter 4 – Recovering a Sense of Integrity – The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Our book club discussion group met last night to go over Chapter 4 of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. While we did discuss the chapter, the majority of our time was spent discussing the Waldo Canyon Fire and how it had impacted each of us. As the fire progressed through our community this past week, it was hard to focus our attentions on anything other than the fire. The non-stop news coverage, the horrific photos and videos that were showing up everywhere, the smoke and ash in the air we were breathing, the loss of property and lives, the displacement of friends and loved ones – all of it was just so much to take in and so devastating that most of us had spent most of our time during the week focused on this fire and nothing else. It was consuming both our city and our time.

But we did spend some time discussing the chapter and the exercises within it. The big thing for me and for some of the others, was the reading deprivation. We were not supposed to be reading anything at all during the week. This deprivation was supposed to help us find those other things that might interest us and spark our creativity. Her premise is that we often take in media out of habit, out of a sense of need or importance, and that often it is blocking us. I read a lot, as I know many people do, and the instructions to not read were pretty hard to take. So I cut out my novels, magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. Very hard to do. I did still check emails and the website and facebook, but I tried to tell myself that those items weren’t really reading. 🙂 It seemed that many of us did cut out reading, but then we spent our time watching the TV coverage of the fire unfolding. So perhaps we simply traded one block to our creativity for another one. I think the results would have been different if it was another week, rather than this week of community crisis. One thing I did do, was take my art supplies for creating Zentangles® into my bed every night and work on them until I was sleepy. I normally read every night, but doing art before bed was quite nice. The time flew by until I was ready to sleep, I was able to complete a number of small pieces and really enjoyed it. I’m not saying I am giving up reading in bed, but it was a pleasant alternative for the week.

There was also an exercise about buried dreams, which was interesting, which only a couple of the group completed. The idea behind the exercise was to find some bits of buried dreams and delights that we should recover, and include in our lives again. Here is the list if you care to do the exercise yourself.

  1. List five hobbies that sound fun.
  2. List five classes that sound fun.
  3. List five things you personally would never do that sound fun.
  4. List five things you used to enjoy doing.
  5. List five silly things you would like to try once.

What is on your lists?

There was some discussions about noise vs quiet in our lives. How we all respond differently to having background noise when we are being creative, and what types of noise we like to have (if any). We talked about our morning pages (some of us are doing them, some are not) and we talked about our Artist Dates and what sorts of things we find to do. Artist Date ideas this week ranged from garage sales to hanging out at Barnes and Noble to browsing at Home Depot. There are lots of ways to spend your Artist Date – with the most important thing being that you actually do it every week. I hope you have been finding time for an Artist Date with yourself. What kinds of activities are you doing? I would love to have you share.

Because the fire was taking up so much of our time, we probably didn’t spend as much time on the Chapter as we usually do. I know many of our friends and loved ones have been impacted by this fire and I am sending out my prayers and thoughts to all of you. I hope that you are all safe and that those of you who have been displaced can return to your homes soon.

Our next book club meeting will be July 5th at 6pm. We will be reading Chapter 5 this week (Recovering a Sense of Possibility), so follow along with us.

This week you are being asked to examine your payoffs in remaining stuck. you will explore how you curtail your own possibilities by placing limits on the good you can receive. You will examine the cost of settling for appearing good instead of being authentic. You may find yourself thinking about radical changes, no longer ruling out your growth by making others the cause of your constriction.

See you next week!



6 Responses to “Book Club – The Artist’s Way – Chapter 4”

  1. Sonja Milojevics July 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    It’s a bit hard for me to imagine not to read anything. But I guess all of us creative people could think of something else to do instead, as you did with making art in bed. I also like the list – will have to think about that…:)


    • Deb Prewitt July 1, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

      Not reading – that was a difficult task for me. As for many people!


  2. Carly @ True Color July 10, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    I live in COS, too, and was evacuated. We left town (I have bad asthma) and went to my in-laws ranch in Trinidad. They don’t have internet. Or a cell phone signal. Or a tv signal. For me that week, it was hard to cut out TV! I was so desperate for news & updates on our home, that it was really challeging. I read some, but mostly was just outside surrounded by nature. The isolation was somewhat of a double edged sword – while I was very worried about our friends & home… It felt good after being in the midst of all that destruction to unplug a bit from it all. To be in nature that hadn’t been touched by tragedy. And to see beautiful vistas. And to breathe in clean, mountain air. This does sound like a good exercise. Now that things have settled down a bit, maybe i will have to give this a shot!


    • Deb Prewitt July 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      So sorry you were evacuated. I can understand how you were desperate for info. I hope you and your family are safe. Hugs.



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