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The Artist’s Way – exercises 5

April 10, 2013

I didn’t realize (until I checked just now) that it’s been almost a month since I last did one of these posts.

Week 6, Sense of Abundance

Synchronicity this week?

Spouse’s dad is tactile like me.

Spouse found an interesting place for me to volunteer, involving plants. We’ve been there before many times; it’s only twice as far as the library (12 miles).


Week 7, Sense of Connection

As a kid, I wanted a . . . kitten.

As a kid, I missed the chance to . . . learn to do things my own way.

As a kid, I lacked . . . love, support, and encouragement.

As a kid, I could have used . . . a creative mentor.

As a kid, I dreamed of being . . . in the circus, as an acrobat.

As a kid, I needed more . . . resources.

In my house, we never had enough . . . play, whimsy, kindness.

I am sorry that I will never again see . . . my grandmother. The poems I wrote as a kid. The valentines I made.

I have a loyal friend in . . . Spouse.

One thing I like about my town is . . . its proximity to woods with a stream. Right in our neighborhood.

Writing morning pages has shown me I can . . . uncover deep insights that will change my life.

I am taking a greater interest in . . . doing things by myself. My own way.

Five favorite films?

  1. Time Bandits
  2. Amelie
  3. Spirited Away
  4. Whale Rider
  5. Monsters, Inc.


Week 9, Sense of Compassion

List any resentments (anger) you have any connection with this project. It does not matter how petty, picky, or irrational these resentments may appear to your adult self. To your artist child they are real big deals: grudges.

  • I’m afraid of my sewing machine.
  • I don’t know what I’m doing.
  • I don’t know where or how to start.
  • What if all my stuff looks childish?
  • What if I look stupid, wearing stuff I made?
  • What if my ideas are stupid? Or unworkable?
  • I want to do as little sewing as possible. Is that plausible?

Ask your artist to list any and all fears about the projected piece of work and/or anyone connected to it. Again, these fears can be as dumb as any two-year-old’s. It does not matter that they are groundless to your adult’s eye. What matters is that they are big scary monsters to your artist.

  • I want my work to be wearable and attractive to people of all genders. What if my work doesn’t succeed for those purposes?
  • I’d like Spouse to (at least consider) wearing my stuff, even though he is part of the gender binary paradigm. If he won’t even consider wearing my stuff, does that mean my stuff sucks? Or that he doesn’t believe in my talent?
  • Will I ever find anyone to belong to “my tribe”?
  • Will I ever make new friends?
  • If pressed to describe myself and what I’m trying to do, I wouldn’t know where to start. Will anyone stick around long enough to listen? Will anyone else help me come up with answers that make sense?
  • Why is it so important to make cheery & merry clothes for my inner child to wear? Am I not being frivolous?
  • My poetry is whimsical and kind of zany/silly/fun. How can anyone take me and my poetry seriously? Grimdark, or at least depressing, is more suitable, more impressive, more significant — isn’t it?
  • What am I trying to do with Water? Why do I think I’m an appropriate choice to do that? Especially if it’s important. Surely I can’t be trusted with anything Responsible and That Matters.

Ask yourself what you stand to gain by not doing this piece of work.

  • I don’t improve my skills.
  • I don’t improve my self confidence.
  • No opportunities to meta-juggle / test my mettle / meet challenges.
  • I remain childlike In A Bad Way, trapped in the past.
  • I don’t experience the joys and fun of doing these activities.
  • Play opportunities, lost.
  • If this stuff could lead to other good things, when I don’t do anything, those new good things cannot happen.
  • I don’t fail, which means I don’t learn.
  • I don’t have opportunities to meet people who could become allies or friends.
  • I remain similar to Gramma and other beloved dead ancestors who did not accomplish what they hoped to. I don’t fulfill/satisfy those hopes.
  • I continue to live in fear, which…
  • negatively impacts my health.
  • What’s the point to my life, if I’m too scared to do anything?

Synchronicity this week?

This week was a doozy! Just as I finished reading the book, The Family Crucible (about a family therapy case study), after having read Richard Schwartz’s book, Internal Family Systems Therapy, I got an e-mail from my aunt, saying that one of my cousins would be in town, and wanted to meet with me. My cousin had e-mailed me directly, but I hadn’t received her e-mails. We were able to get together, meeting for dinner with Spouse in Baltimore City near my cousin’s hotel. The last time I had seen this cousin, five years ago at a family wedding, she was still married; now she’s divorced. We talked about her divorce, and what she knows of my sister’s divorce. I got caught up on the news of 25 people, including her ex-husband, my ex-brother-in-law, and my brother’s ex-girlfriend.

And then, the next day, instead of obsessively reliving everything, I had my artist date — the reptile show at the library — which was totally awesome! And totally me.

Thinking of my mother’s parents, and all their descendants — which is who I mean when I say “extended family”– as one family system has been illuminating. I had this strange sense, for the first time in years, while talking to my cousin, that I might actually sort of belong to the people I’m related to. Not just technically (through blood & DNA), but in a personally significant way. I could almost feel a web of entangled strands as we talked. It was especially odd because I’ve never been close to this particular cousin before.

[The more I think about the things my cousin said, the more I’m reconsidering my idea that she is ESFJ. She’s a self-named workaholic, and all the ESFJs I’ve known are consumed by family matters (or friends) only. Perhaps she is an ENTJ like her mother, my father, and my brother. She is definitely an extrovert — even she says so — and she’s definitely a Judger. I just don’t know about the other two letters.]

I’ve written to this cousin, and another cousin, this week. Just because it felt good to do so. I don’t expect to hear back from them, and that’s okay.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Siderea permalink
    April 10, 2013 22:14

    Ask yourself what you stand to gain by not doing this piece of work.

    Do you realize you answered this question with a list of things you lose, not gain? That you answered the reverse of what it asked?

    • April 10, 2013 22:19

      I don’t see it that way. To me, the question was implicitly asking how I’m harming myself by not doing the project, and that’s how I answered it.


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