This post is part of Week 1 of Julia Cameron’s program, Walking in this World. Please join us! Get all the details here.
Hi kids! Hope you are enjoying the program thus far.
I will be posting much more frequently about the program in the upcoming week. I had a few unexpected major disruptions this week (are they ever expected?) so I was offline more than I intended to be. Didn’t mean to leave you hanging!
(In related news, the Page and I are moving next week. Tres exciting.)
I’ve updated the sidebar with blogs who are participating in the program. Some will be posting on their site, some are doing it alone in private. (That sounds sordid.) If you would like to be included in the list, leave a comment with a link to your site and I’ll add you.
Speaking of comments — please feel free to talk to one another! This is not a teacher/student gig. This is me inviting a bunch of lovely people over to have crumpets and tea in my kitchen. So talk amongst yourselves.
I was asked if I’m going to set up a Yahoo group or anything for communication. I’m not. But if you have an idea for something like that, by all means run with it! Your level of involvement is totally up to you. I’d love to set up a forum for this but I simply don’t have the resources right now. If you have time and energy, go for it. I’ll be happy to post about it here — or any other ideas you have.
Other options are Facebook and the comments section on each post. Comments are a great place for discussion and you can post to one another if you want to ask for feedback or answer a question. I’ll be more active on comments and Facebook this week as well. So jump right in!
How did you like the “Do Nothing” exercise this week? It can be pretty scary if you’re not used to it. These days we’re all pretty connected, bombarded with stimuli in a constant barage of sensory input. Sitting still in silence is a revolutionary idea.
I have to remind myself over and over that it’s okay to rest. To take time out. I’m a total Type A personality, and while I’m proud of my productivity, organization and accomplishments, I often burn myself out. I take on too much, go like crazy, and then wonder why my body, soul and creativity have shut down. Balance is not one of my strong suits.
Julia says: Even God rested. I figure if God can rest, it’s probably okay for me to take a little break. I’m obviously not that important.
Julia goes on to say,
“The ego hates rest. As artists, we must service our souls, not our egos. Our souls need rest.”
What a great reminder. And it’s amazing how restorative a brief break can be. Doing nothing, and “doing it thoroughly,” provides us with the space between the notes. Without space between the notes, music would just be noise.
I’ve also been looking for ways to “rest” while performing a task — the concept of “mindfulness” in practice. Chopping vegetables, which I do often, is a perfect meditation. I can turn off my brain and just be present. Be aware of the knife in my hands (safer for a klutz like me, anyway!), enjoy the rich color of the ruby bell peppers, inhale the spring smell of cucumbers being split, sink into the satisfying crunch of fresh garlic on the bamboo cutting board. Chopping vegetables can be intoxicating.
Julia talks about making soup in this way, and I found it endearing to connect with someone else on that level. There’s few things I enjoy more than a rainy Sunday afternoon making soup, listening to the radio, and reading a good book. That is my soul at rest.
My ego is not always thrilled with the idea, but I try to give my ego Saturday. Saturday is for To Do lists and scrubbing the floors. For organizing the upcoming week’s work, for writing. Sunday is for soup.
One of my favorite parts of this week was Julia talking about needing “windows to the world of wonder:”
“We all need a window for the imagination. We need a time and a place to stare out the window at the snow. Artists have stared out of windows and into their souls for a very long time. It is something in the staring-out that enables us to do the looking-in.
As artists, it serves us to consciously find windows to the world of wonder – we must locate places that open the trapdoor in our imagination and allow the breath of greater worlds to enter our too-claustrophic lives.”
Where are your favorite “windows?”
I’ve got a few: plant nurseries and greenhouses. In particular,
As for how my walk fed my optimism and sense of perspective, I’d say it did both. Walking always makes me feel better. It helps me vent excess energy, and it gives me that fresh air/exercise buzz that’s good for the whole mind and body.
How about you?
How’d it go for you? Any surprises? Breakthroughs? Blocks? Tell us in the comments. Or post on your blog if you have one.
I hope everyone is enjoying the program so far. I’m psyched to start Week 2 tomorrow!