Artist Way As Pilgrimage

Recently I began facilitating the Artist Way again.  The Artist Way is a 12 week program created by author Julia Cameron. The work is aimed to jump starting and re-awakening one’s creativity.  Although those who may choose to start reading the book may be artists themselves, it’s one of those books I recommend to everybody.  In truth, because we are all a bit creative.  With time, we have stunted this internal trait, as we traversed the pathway to adulthood.  But I want to encourage you to view the Artist Way As Pilgrimage, here’s why.

The Artist Way is an internal journey. The goal is to unlock the inner artist.  Chapters are filled with various activities. One of my favorite of these, which arises in multiple chapters, is alternative identities. We are to brainstorm numerous other careers or lives that we would be curious to explore.   Homework will be given that tilt us towards our creative expressions, whether this is drawing, writing, painting, doing collages, dancing, or other forms. Inspirational stories will be told that will motivate us to take steps towards our artistic lives.

But like any pilgrimage, there will be difficulty. 

We must unearth the old monsters of our creativity.  This includes reflecting on people who in our lives stunted our artistic dreams and expressions.   These could be family members, teachers, or other people in positions of authority.  Our internal critic seems to have inherited their voices.  Through first naming and voicing these worries, we can start to explore how to move past them. As we traverse through The Artist Way, the tools we must utilize are below.

The Artist Way Exercises

 The Artist Way as pilgrimage requires discipline. In addition to various tasks and homework exercises, there are two things one must commit to. These are Artist Dates and Morning Pages.

What are Morning Pages?

The Morning Pages are three pages of stream of consciousness writing you commit to doing each day.  This is a non-negotiable. First thing in the morning, you write. The topics you write about do not matter, they do not have to be part of a larger piece of work or have to be about anything in particular.  The point of writing them is to get all thoughts at that time out on paper, and through this clear out the mind to prepare one for creative work later in the day.  But through it you may find solutions to various problems in one’s life.

What are Artist Dates?

Artist Dates are dates we take ourselves on each week.  Oftentimes we wait for another to go with us to the new hot restaurant in town or check out the latest film.  These artist dates exist for your pleasure. They peak your curiosity.  This could be anything from checking out the latest art exhibit to taking a new dance class, or even buying art supplies at the local dollar store.  Treat yourself, and know this doesn’t have to cost much money.

I have recommended The Artist Way to so many people over the years, both clients and friend.  It’s a book I continue to read, as each time I get something different out of it.  There’s another twist,  memory, or dream that arises.  The 12 weeks is a commitment and therefore a pilgrimage.  We may find reasons to not complete it, and that’s why it can be imperative to join a group where one can be accountable for doing the work.  I’ve attempted to do the book myself, but had difficulty.  

Years later, I returned to it, and was lucky enough to sit in a weekend workshop with Julia Cameron herself to ignite my love of this work.  In addition, I’ve attended a virtual book club to complete this, led one virtually and in person in the United Kingdom, Paris, and now Malaga.  You won’t regret this investment, and it’s a gift that will continue to give to you. If one reframes it instead of a book, it’s the Artist Way as Pilgrimage.

For more book recommendations, explore this blog post .

For an interview with Julia Cameron, check out this link .

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