I continue my journey seeking the reasons I remain unable to finish writing my novel.
Week #5: Discovering a Sense of Personal Territory
Saying yes to our creative selves may involve saying no to our significant others. This week focuses on boundaries.
Identifying current relationships and their role in our lives was part of this week’s exercise. I, however, could not identify who my “fuse lighter” is, or the “wet blanket”, who leaves me feeling neutered, etc. simply because I don’t have many friends. I definitely do not have friends who I am in touch with daily outside of my own family. As much as I may use my family as an excuse for not doing the writing/editing, it is my own lack of discipline and drive that is really preventing me.
Julia Cameron tells of a time when she was a young single mother and felt she had to put her dreams on the back burner. “I tried putting my dreams on the back burner where they proceeded to boil – and so did my temper… Take care of your artist. That will make you a much better mother.”
If you are not doing what you love you become unhappy, resentful and even angry. Teaching those around us what our priorities are – and remembering them ourselves – makes for harmonious relationships.
“Our artist wants also what it wants and if we don’t give it to our artist, our very core gets angry.”
In the task entitled “Be Nice to Yourself” we were to identify things we would love to do if there were no excuses like money, fear, responsibility, etc. Under the category “If it weren’t so selfish” I said I would sleep all day. I know I use my illness as an excuse for not doing a lot of things but it is a reality of my life. I am tired all the time. I don’t sleep well. I am in pain. In fact, the last couple of weeks had me wondering what I really am supposed to be doing and how. With my trip to Hawaii moving ever closer, I worry that I will not be able to enjoy myself.
Which brings us to the next section of the chapter – Energy Debts. Are we doing too much for other people? Do we have difficulty saying no? Are there people in my life who are sapping my energy? “A creative person is intended to be fed and supported by both divine and human sources, but none of those nutrients can reach us if we have turned ourselves into a food source for others, allowing them to dine freely on our time, our talents and our reserves.”
We must think of our energy like a cheque book. We need to put money (energy) into our account. If we don’t, we have nothing to spend, nothing to give, and we become drained.
“We cannot take on ‘difficult’ people and situations to prove our heroism and realistically expect to be either heroic or triumphant in the long run. Saving the day too often means that at the end of the day we have nothing left for ourselves, our own lives, loves, passions… We do tire, and we tire most easily from tiresome people.”
We must invest in ourselves. This doesn’t just refer to creativity. We, as people, need to take time for ourselves, to nurture ourselves, to re-generate. Sometimes we can spend too much energy on our passions, our creativity. We all need time to nurture ourselves even if it’s just soaking in a hot tub for a half an hour.
I don’t doubt that one of the reasons I am ill is because I put up with certain people draining the life out of me. My ex-husband is a prime example. He caused so much stress in our relationship that a week after he moved out I found myself feeling much more relaxed; my skin was clearer. But de-stressing is not the only thing we need to do. Too much de-stressing can lead you to nowhere. Make some goals, some dreams, discover your passions, and act on them. Remember, if you don’t act on your dreams then you are only dreaming. That is my new motto.