the artist's way
Many years ago, during my lost years of transitioning from a being marketing professional to an aspiring actress, there was one thing that gave me some light and anchor while I was bobbling on the midst of the ocean without a shore in sight, that was the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.
Having come from a traditional family where my parents worked to themselves to the bones to dig themselves out of poverty and opening a door of opportunities to their children, they had much hope and aspirations for us to become lawyers, doctors or at least married to one. Unfortunately for them, none of their children went down their deemed path of glory, and worse of all, I decided to become an actress, a career that my parents thought would have me die begging on the street (and those were their actual blessing!).
I recall being at a very low point, living alone in Sydney, waitressing and going to the few acting classes that I could afford while my parents completely cut me off. Somehow, I found my way to the Artist’s Way that I first came across when I worked at this little gem in Hong Kong called The New Age Shop. Those were the days before creativity became such a buzz word but it was one of our best-sellers alongside with The Power of Now and Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.
One of the first chapters in The Artist’s Way, introduced the concept of becoming comfortable to be with yourself. I was 23 and happiness depended on hanging out with friends. The suggestion of spending a day out with oneself, dinning in a restaurant alone, going to a museum or seeing a film alone, seemed to me ludicrous but most of all scary. Over the years, I still prefer to dine with company in a restaurant but I see that those experience whereby one is with oneself is a journey to discovering one’s soul. And I believe the source of creativity resides in the heart, a place where one can best tap into when there is space and stillness. When I get stuck or am out of inspirations these days, I either go for a walk in the nature or I’d do something that would nurture myself. Even a bath or a nap can do more wonder than wrecking your brain in front of the computer or your project. Sometimes the brain just doesn’t have the answer and that’s when you need to tap into your soul, where creativity is unbound and ideas are unlimited. I know this may sounds a bit ethereal, but so is the birth of an idea.
The Artist’s Way is not all airy fairy, it has some very practical guidelines and exercises like automatic writing, where you would write without pause to reflect, allowing a stream of consciousness to come through you without censorship. Or the diagram you draw, charting various areas of your life: career, love, friendship, etc to see where you are at in your life versus where you’d like to be. Let me tell you, it was a very sad chart that I had up my wall for a while but life does get better when you follow your heart and work in an authentic and creative way. How do you do that? Well, Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is definitely a good roadmap to guide you to a place where not only your creativity will flourish but also the sense of fulfilment in your life in a 360 way.