The Artist’s Way

I’ve been thinking about going on a retreat at the Kripalu Center in the Berkshires whenever COVID calms down. (I’m starting to wonder if it will ever “calm down.”) So I was perusing the website last month, and I looked at the virtual program offerings. I saw that the writer and teacher Julia Cameron was speaking virtually in February and I registered right up.

Thirty years ago, she wrote a book called The Artist’s Way. I’ve never read it, but it’s one of those books that I’ve always meant to read. It’s sold a bazillion copies over the years.

Her talk was about the four basic tools she uses in her creative life. She took a lot of questions about the tools as well. Her muse and publisher, Joel Fotinos, moderated and asked some of the hundreds of questions she was being asked.

Julia was delightful—what a creative spirit! Briefly, her tools are:

(1) Morning pages. She suggests that every morning, after waking, you write three pages of whatever comes to mind. I love this idea, although I’m not sure if I am disciplined enough to try it. It would mean I’d have to get up 45 minutes early and I am not a morning person.

(2) Every week, go on an “artist date” with yourself. It’s planned, and you go solo. You could go to a museum or the local animal shelter to visit the animals. Whatever will inspire you.

(3) Every week, walk outside for 20 minutes. Don’t listen to a podcast or bring your dog. Take in your environment.

(4) Ask for “guidance.” She admitted this is kind of woo-woo, but it works for her. You have to practice asking questions and listening for a response. She said that guidance could be your higher self, a higher power, a deceased love one. It’s different for everyone. She usually asks for guidance right after finishing her morning pages.

My ankle is STILL broken, but once I am mobile again, I want to try some of these tools to bring more joy and creativity into my life. I miss the outside world a lot, and I anticipate that I will re-enter it with a childlike wonder and enthusiasm…

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