Walking in this World: Week 1 Wrap-up

Mar 6, 2011 by

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!

Do Nothing

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!

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15 Comments

  1. Just found this and got the book. Is it too late to start? I do write every day and I’d love to get involved. Thanks, Daphne

  2. I really like to read your experiences :) I find it really inspiring!
    I think this was my biggest breakthrough this week http://www.luthien.org/wordpress/?p=2578

  3. I had a really great week! Did the morning pages all week (and it is getting easier to focus on them.) Did the artists date (Two actually, one to the local garden center by myself and today to the flower show with family.) Even did the walk and the tasks. Oddly enough, the easiest exercise was the 20 steps you could take right now. I’ve even resurrected my blog (maybe twitter didn’t kill it after all. Perhaps it is just maimed.)

  4. Pam

    Thanks for adding the side bar. A couple of links are not working right. Mine (navelobservatory.blogspot.com) and Roe, Ova, Things with Potential are both pointing to the “front by the window” blog. :)

  5. I fixed the sidebar – thanks for the heads-up, Pam. WordPress snafu. :)

  6. Did not write all days, and yes, now I remember I was supposed to take a walk too! I totally forgot. Hope I can take two walks next week, and have some reading time tomorrow for the next chapter. Cool that you had a breakthrough/writing session. I should’ve written a lot today but instead I sat at my desk and painted! It was awesome too.

  7. Karen

    Off to a pretty good start. I wasnt’ able to write everyday. I did try writing in the morning, but for me evening works better. That is when I have more control over my time and can stop and think about my day. I walked everyday-most days more than once. Now that it is getting lighter in the mornings, I’m surprised at all the changes that occured in the neighborhood over the winter. Lately life seems like one big to-do list which just keeps growing. I realize that I need to make some time to just do nothing and recharge my brain and my spirit.

  8. I just posted my check in! Thanks so much for doing this.
    -Rebecca

  9. Morning Pages: kinda-sorta (working out the kinks)
    Artist’s Date: Pet store and admired the gorgeous colors, textures, patterns of a large chameleon. (and product packaging design, too)
    Walking: we have a young collie, so yes. And a beautiful neighborhood beach.
    Do nothing: YES! Way better than the do nothing I started the day with (cranky, depressed and a huge case of the blahs)
    Now, to just take my time and not skip to the last chapter…

  10. Hello. I would like to add my name/blog to the mix. I haven’t yet blogged about it, but I hope to do so in the future. I will certainly be sharing in the comments here.

  11. Hi Kristen I would like to have my name added. I have been doing the program but will do most of it privately. I worked on scrapbooks for my artists date and I loved it! I’m having a harder time with the morning pages as I am not a morning person! Thanks again for the inspiration and I picked up the book at my local borders which is closing !!!!!
    http://wwwmylittlechickadees.blogspot.com/

    Thanks Shelley

  12. I wrote every day – not 3 pages but it’s a good start. I walked 5 times and tried to be mindful of my surroundings. My artist date was at home with my new watercolor pencils – trying out techniques and color combos. It was simply too cold to go out. Doing nothing was very hard for me. I wasn’t successful, but I think I will keep trying. It was a good week!

  13. Leah

    Good luck with the move, Kristin. I’ve moved four times in the last three years, and I’m ready to stay put for awhile. Hope you enjoy your new home!

  14. It’s been really great. I feel like starting the program helped things really truly open up this week. It’s like, “Oh, hello 6 AM, and here’s that whole song you’ve been trying to write. Look at that, the universe put it right in your lap.” I love it. I got a little behind on the reading because I had a family trip to NJ but that was a necessary part of the transformation too (big breakthrough with my dad).

    It’s just really nice to have the creativity flowing again. Where I actually feel like picking up the banjo instead of having every musical instrument in the house taunting me with the fact that I’m not playing it. It’s nice to bring my inner child’s eyes to play again, where it’s innocent. And the resting part has been a great reminder, too. So often I’ll take off like an unbridled horse and then end up like the horse in “True Grit” — totally spent from getting too worked up about the outcome.

    Anyway, so nice to hear it’s going beautifully for you too. And, as always, I am eternally grateful for you and so often having a hand in jump starting my creativity and inspiration. I feel really blessed in that regard. XOXO

  15. I’m joining in! Blog link is http://moralesnn.typepad.com/blog called “Live. Write. Eat.” I just ordered my book on Amazon, and it should be here in 2-3 days. When it comes in, I’ll start posting about it.