Several years ago I felt called to buy The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron,http://http//www.theartistsway.com/ but when I began to work with it, the timing didn't feel right, so I put it on my bookshelf. Instead, I purchased Artmaking as a Spiritual Journey by Nancy Azara http://http//www.nancyazara.com/home.html and loved that book. Her journey had some parallel to mine. Although I had been deeply involved for most of my life in spiritual practices and a religious environment, the last few years had been dry ones for me. I'd like to think it was the "dark night of the soul" that the mystics talk about, but I think it had much more to do with letting myself get caught up with the raging political debate and becoming overwhelmed by world issues, tragedies and disasters.
When I began Nancy's book, I made a commitment to diet....to take in less media, spend fewer hours in front of the tv, and refrain from engaging my neighbors in political debate. The diet worked. I lost some baggage I had been carrying around.
This past week I went to the bookshelf to look for Nancy's book, since I will be taking a workshop from her at the encaustic conference this summer. I couldn't find her book, but did see The Artist's Way. And, as Hildegard of Bingen (my spiritual mentor) would say: "There are no accidents. All is ordained in God for good. So, this too." The book is exactly what I need right now. If you haven't yet picked up either of these books, I encourage you to do so for your own "art's" sake.
The morning pages (exercise from the book) has brought me back to my 30 year old practice --dormant for the last ten years-- of journaling. The "date with your inner artist" has put a new zest in my week. But, mostly, I am becoming more deeply committed to making art as a way of life.
If anyone out there is also working through the twelve weeks of the Artist's Way and would like to connect, I'd be delighted to form an "online" group to be accountable to.
But, this weekend, alas! is about getting to the bottom of a huge paper pile and getting things in order for taxes! Next week in the studio....