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The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity Hardcover – March 18, 2002
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With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan lead you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity.
This book links creativity to spirituality by showing how to connect with the creative energies of the universe, and has, in the four years since its publication, spawned a remarkable number of support groups for artists dedicated to practicing the exercises it contains. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Library Journal
This program consists of segments from the author's book of the same name (Tarcher, 1992). She recommends two ongoing activities that will conquer blocks and self-destructive tendencies: morning pages and artist's dates. Morning pages are three pages of writing, performed daily, about anything at all. This exercise overcomes the writer's internal censor and makes writing habitual, she claims. The artist's date is a weekly block of two hours spent observing, experiencing, and sensing. The balance of the recording describes how the artist can overcome human tendencies such as jealousy, fear, and addiction. This abridgment leaves much to be desired. In her introduction, Cameron states that the audio is an interactive abridgment of her 12-week program. There is nothing interactive about it, however. The sound quality is poor, and the content is similar to the many available 12-step programs. In that sense, it is redundant and will appeal to a very small audience. Not recommended.?Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Ed. Lib.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is broken down into twelve weekly lessons. There are several miscellaneous sections. Each weekly lesson has tasks and exercises to be completed. Sidebars provide quotes and tidbits of information to uplift the soul. The divisions of the manual are as follow:
In the introduction, the author explains how she began teaching and eventually developed her seminars and lectures into a book.
Spiritual Electricity: The Basic Principles defines the ten spiritual principles, gives directions for using this course, and tells the reader what to expect from the course.
The Basic Tools introduces the two primary tools of the course: the morning pages and the artist date. The morning pages are three handwritten pages, penned in stream-of-consciousness, without looking back at the previous pages. The artist date is time set aside to be spent with your inner artist. There is even a creativity contract.
Week 1: Recovering a Sense of Safety deals with realizing what negative beliefs and hurts from the past are blocking or restricting your creativity and replacing them with positive affirmations.
Week 2: Recovering a Sense of Identity begins with a section called "Going Sane." It deals with the people you surround yourself with in life and how they exert negative influence over your creativity.
Week 3: Recovering a Sense of Power leaps right into anger management, shame, and dealing with criticism. It examines how most people are afraid that there is a God watching everything we do.
Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity is about learning to distinguish between the mask you wear for the public and your real inner feelings. There are exercises in learning what you really want from life and in sensory deprivation.
Week 5: Recovering a Sense of Possibility begins with the following sentence: "One of the chief barriers to accepting God's generosity is our limited notion of what we are in fact able to accomplish." This lesson teaches us to break through those barriers.
Week 6: Recovering a Sense of Abundance will have you tossing out clothing and gathering rocks. It teaches us that there is abundance in our lives and that our creativity requires its own portion of luxury.
Week 7: Recovering a Sense of Connection covers jealousy, perfectionism, risk, and learning to listen to our inner artist.
Week 8: Recovering a Sense of Strength teaches us to turn loss into gain by metabolizing the pain into energy. There is an exercise to help the artist break out of the early patterning; to overcome the negativity of childhood.
Week 9: Recovering a Sense of Compassion deals with avoiding self-defeat and learning to logically deal with fears.
Week 10: Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection enlightens us about the spiritual demons we create to battle our creativity: workaholism, fame, competition, and drought.
Week 11: Recovering a Sense of Autonomy focuses on how to handle success, how to nurture the inner artist, and the connection between nurturing the inner artist and self-respect.
Week 12: Recovering a Sense of Faith reminds us of the pitfalls to our creativity and helps us learn to have faith.
The book ends with sections on questions and answers, creativity clusters, and forming a sacred circle.
Every artist should own a copy of this book and utilize it religiously! It is the kind of manual that can be used over and over again for continual growth. I highly recommend it and feel it is a vital tool for personal creative expansion.
WELL? DOES IT WORK, DOES IT CHANGE YOUR LIFE?
Has it? Well Yes and no.
I'm not putting out massive works of art or prose, nor am I comfortable with even the pencil sketches I do. However, I am doing them again. I've had fits and starts of drawing, but this book does help you put that into perspective. You are a beginner and it is okay for your work to look like a beginners. Simple concept. Hard to internalize.
What I did find and others who use this program can probably confirm is that it helps get situations out in the open. Family stuff. When you do the morning pages, you ramble. You put down all that trash you are thinking and then you find you work to clean it up. You know all the stuff your kids, your spouse, your co-workers do, that really tick you off. You find you start to address that. Kind of a neat by-product.
MORNING PAGES ARE NOT SO BAD:
My first take on this, is dedicate a half an hour of my precious and sparse sleeping time.....? What are you nuts? Then I tried it. You have a clarity (and a drowsiness) in the AM, that is unmatchable any other time. Also, if you are like me get a whole lot less interruptions. I did the morning pages from 5:15 till 6:00 AM weekdays and after I got up on weekends. Weekends, sometimes I didn't get to them until afternoon. But, each day (except for 1 day in 12 weeks) they were religiously done.
Guess what? I'm hooked. I'm continuing and you might too. Consider this as a book (a life), you are writing, you are directing. What a concept!
MORNING PAGES LENGTH:
With the Artist's way book, I bought the journal. These 3 pages were the size of 8-1/2 X 11 pages. 3 pages do not take you 1/2 hour but more like 45 minutes to an hour. Get ready for that. It seems like a lot some days and not enough on others. You don't need a special book to do this in either. I bought a spiral notebook to pick up where the journal left off, when it was full. The journal is nice though as it has passages from the book on each page.
I found that some of the timing of the artist dates were bad. I'm sure most others will run into this as well. I did this book through the Thanksgiving, Christmas holiday. Artist's dates were often dropped and sometimes one did double-duty. However, these can be very simple. You have to make them what is important to you and that is the point of the book. It makes you feel special. I think all of us wait for others to make us feel special. Most of us could wait a very long time. Little do we realize, we have to set the standard. Make ourselves feel special. Because we are. We have to appeal to the artist within us. It can be simple or extravagant. One thing I like is pens with a 1.0mm tip. They use ink like crazy, but what a wonderful broad stroke they make on the paper. That is one of my "perks".
In the past years you've no doubt heard of people coming out of therapy accusing their parents of abuse. Many of these people were suggested into this practice by psychologists looking for a quick solution to some of their patient's psychoses. What I didn't care for in the book, is that some of the tasks appeared to be excercising these same demons. Trying to find devils in the details of past "creative blocks". Some times these blocks are cumulative and not one earth-shattering event. Like water on a rock. Sometimes the people around you were highly supportive, etc. etc.
We all have a mix of that. I felt however, that this negative aspect was overemphasized. A person sensitive to these suggestions could walk away very convinced that there was a horrible trauma they just can't quite remember.
WEEK OFF OF READING TRULY IS IMPOSSIBLE IN SOME PEOPLE'S LIVES:
One week was supposed to be one free from reading. I used it as a media free week (Radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, books and non-work email) and not from work related reading. If I neglected the reading in my job, I would have over 300 emails, very job related languishing in my in-box. I also would not be doing my job in writing specifications. Not possible in my job and not realistic in many others I'm sure. I think the author should just emphasize the noise factor or suggest doing this type of exercise on vacation.
In summary this book and its tasks were excellent and I can't recommend it highly enough. I'm going on to her book on Work creativity next, then the Right to Write and the Vein of Gold.
KEEP UP THE MORNING PAGES AND CHANGE THE WORLD - ONE PERSON AT A TIME!