A Virtual Creative Cluster

[cross-posted]

The Artist’s Way is an amazing program that helps liberate creativity, even in those who swear they are NOT creative.  😉

I’ve been following this program for many years, off and on.  When I’m “on”, I find that almost every aspect of my life improves. The program didn’t just help me make time to pursue my creative hobbies and improve my crafts.  It had unexpected added benefits:

  • I am calmer at the day job.
  • Personal relationships become deeper, richer and more fulfilling.
  • I sleep better.
  • Everyday mundane chores are no longer a burden.
  • I have more time for fun and relaxation.

There’s a small group forming a “Creative Cluster” to share our experiences with The Artist’s Way journey.  The benefits of this program magnify when shared with others who are traveling a similar path.  If you’d like to join us, just send an email to the address below:

taw_creativecluster-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

We’d love to hear from you!

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Day 7 of 100

One week in on my 100 days.  It’s going well, but not great.  I find that I struggle with stress eating.  It was a very stressful week on the day job.  When stressed, I reach for sweets.  For example, even though I had carrots and hummus with me, I had several packages of Nutter Butters for lunch.  I’m replacing the “sweet” with fruit, either whole fruit or frozen in my morning smoothie.

The workouts are going great.  I love, love, love my Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution.  I decided to repeat weeks 1 & 2 so I could strengthen my knees and get into the habit before it got too crazy.  I made that mistake when trying to do Beachbody’s Insanity program last year.  I wasn’t ready and it shredded my knees.  I’m not as young as I used to be and I’m carrying an extra 30-40 lbs.  Jillian’s program is much more realistic for me.

It’s only been a week, but my shorts are a tad loose around the waist.  Yay!

Tomorrow is weigh-in day.  Wish me luck!

Day 2 – Sore as can be

Jillian Michaels is kicking my ass.

I was just ending week two of Body Revolution, but I decided to start over because I wasn’t following a good eating plan and I was going cheap on the cardio.

My schedule is like this – I get up around 4:30 a.m. and drink a cup of black tea.  I have never been one of “those people” who can spring out of bed and go do stuff.  I hit the basement gym between 5 and 5:30 (depending on doggie trips outside and how well my score is on Angry Birds).

After I my workout, the dogs and I take their exercise walk of just under 2 miles.  I then go to work where I pretty much sit at a desk all day, stare at a computer screen and talk on the phone.

By 2 pm, I’m toast.  Seriously cashed in.  I’m so tired I become seriously stupid.

I’m hoping that with a little time, bolstered by proper hydration and nutrition I will be ENERGIZED instead of PULVERIZED.  Here’s hoping!

Talking About Tools – MPs and ADs of the Artist’s Way

Two very simple tools make up The Artist’s Way program.  At least, they sound simple:

  1. Morning Pages – 3 pages of long hand first thing in the morning
  2. Artist’s Date – weekly play date with yourself

Sounds simple, right?  Enormously (and often quite surprisingly) effective, they say. However, not all that “simple” to execute….for me anyway.

The 3 pages of long hand can be frightening.  I will say things in the MPs I won’t say out loud.  However, once it’s out of my head or heart and onto the page, it’s “out there.”  It’s no longer dormant, and I have to deal with “it.”  Whatever “it” may be. Sometimes it’s colossal, like the fear of growing old and my song left unsung.  Most of the time it’s irritation about something from daily lifeimages I’d rather just ignore, and usually do.  That’s when the my pages get whiny, cranky and even downright surly.

If I don’t power through the crap and keep digging in, the negativity just clings to everything like cat hair.  This is usually the point at which I conveniently oversleep and have no time to write my MPs or write about laundry or some other nonsensical b.s.  When I start blowing off the MPs, I know there’s something just beneath the surface I’d rather avoid.  I get downright nasty to be around – sometimes I don’t even want to be around me.

The Artist Date, when I make and keep one, can help me reset the tone of my MPs.  The secret is actually making one and keeping it.  Quality time with yourself, by yourself.  It may sound simple – a walk in the park, literally.  But, it’s really not that easy to pull off.  It takes a bit of practice.  But, the more you do it, the more you get to know yourself again.  It’s like meeting an old friend and catching up on old times and finding new adventures. Then, it becomes treasured special time you guard fiercely.

Yeah, I’m not there yet.  I’ve been there before and I know it’s well worth it.  It’s the between here and there that’s the challenge.

Another 100 Days – Starts Monday 8/10

Another 100 Day challenge starts on Monday.  I’m joined by a couple non-internet people and I’d love to have some virtual buddies along for the ride.

Anybody interested in joining in and sharing parts of your 100 day journey?

For this 100 day ride, the only goal I’m planning to target each and every day is fitness.  Your goal can be anything – learn a language, write 1,000 words every day toward your novel, master the art of knitting – whatever!

What’s your 100 day challenge?

Recalculating my Route

I’m not giving up.  Just like my GPS says when I make a wrong turn, “Recalculating…”

I exited the 100 Day route a little less than half way in.  Let’s not talk about where I “would have” been had I stuck to it.  Instead, we’re going to pick myself up, dust myself off and begin again.

It’s not a total loss.  I’m two weeks into the Jillian Michaels Body Revolution workout program.  I have been pretty good on the food intake – not perfect.

Super serious attention to detail now.

Diet plan – check!  I’m giving up all extra sugars – (bye bye yummy pre-flavored greek yogurt – boo!)  I’m incorporating more protein shakes into my daily plan.  More nutritious and filling than I manage on my own.

Exercise plan – check!  Jillian Michaels, some jogging, walking program via my FitBit at work.

Fitness Pals – CHECK!  I have several people in my life now keeping me honest.  (You all know who you are, and thanks!)

So – who’s with me?  Who’s up for another 100 days of focused attention?  The bonus is, if we start now, we’ll be DONE before the year-end Holiday Season!

The Artist’s Way – Creative Cluster

Almost two weeks in now to my Artist’s Way journey, I’m already making huge strides toward unlocking my creative potential.  I even sat down at the piano last week for the joy of it.  No agenda, just felt like being there – which I have not felt in years.  Literally.  The music, if you could call it that, was a bit rusty and sour.  But I didn’t focus on the end product.  I just enjoyed being there.  It was such a great feeling, and it left me wanting more of it.

The fire is starting to rekindle inside.  And, that nagging inner voice that says, “you should be vacuuming, cleaning, ironing, etc.” is starting to quiet down.  It’s almost organic.  I’m starting to take time for little adventures with my creative self and leaving the dishes unwashed or the laundry unfolded.  My priorities are starting to shift back into balance.

This is just awesome, if I do say so myself.  😉

Author Julia Cameron encourages collaboration using her 12-week program to enrich and cultivate our inner artists through  Creative Cluster.  In fact, Ms. Cameron believes “that creative recovery at its best is a non-hierarchical, peer-run, collective process.”  And, I want some of that.

So with that in mind, an online Creative Cluster to follow The Artist’s Way is now forming.  Each cluster member will follow the program individually, at his/her own pace, with regular check-ins  to share thoughts and ideas.   Anyone interested in joining, please comment below and we’ll get this party started!