Why The Artist's Way?
I'm writing this from a hotel room in Berlin, Germany. My husband and I decided to take a day off from sightseeing to rest our feet and our brains. It's been a while since I've traveled overseas, for obvious reasons, and it's caused me to think a lot about cultural differences (I've already been admonished several times for not knowing some of the written and unwritten rules here!).
I'm starting another online workshop soon based on the book "The Artist's Way." At the beginning of the book, author Julia Cameron talks about the negative beliefs we may have about what it means to be an artist, including being broke, irresponsible, and ultimately doomed. She doesn't talk about where these ideas come from, though, until later in the book. The usual suspects of families of origin and academia are addressed, though U.S. culture as a whole is largely left off the hook.
Lately I've been wondering: Do they need "The Artist's Way" in Paris? Or any other culture that isn't American? I haven't done any research on this, and I honestly don't think one culture is better than another (though I do have my personal preferences) because there are always tradeoffs with any system. I do think it brings up an important point, though: Maybe there's nothing wrong with you for wanting to be creative. Maybe the problem is that your surroundings don't support your particular skills and interests.
This is a concept I've been exploring as I've delved into the neurodiversity-affirming movement, as well. Although there is a bit of debate about the definition of neurodiversity, it generally refers to cognitive brain differences such as ADHD, autism, dyslexia and dyscalculia (difficulty with math and numbers). To be affirming of neurodiversity is to see these brain differences as just that, differences and not "problems" to be solved. The focus is put on supporting the neurodivergent person's gifts and needs rather than trying to get them to fit into a more neurotypical society.
Although creative people can also be neurodivergent, it isn't always the case. I do think, however, we can borrow the idea that being creative is simply a brain difference — some people are naturally good at engineering, while others have a talent for painting (or maybe even all of the above!). Being drawn to creativity isn't a problem to be fixed; it's something to be celebrated. The culture around us may or may not support it, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. It doesn't mean *you* are wrong, either.
To quote Kasia Urbaniak from her book "Unbound": "We don't create desires, and we don't choose them — they arise within us." If you desire to be creative, that desire will never leave you. You *can* choose how you want to express yourself, though, given whatever circumstances you happen to be in at this particular moment. Sing a little song, write a little poem, or support an artist you appreciate. Honor that part of you that sparks joy (Marie Kondo's advice doesn't only apply to organizing sock drawers!). You may also find accepting the part of you that wants to be creative will help bring balance to other parts of your life, too.
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If you want more support for your creativity this summer, consider joining us for the next Artist's Way Workshop, starting June 10, 2022. We will meet 10-11:30am PDT Fridays for 12 sessions (skipping July 15). It's a great way to give yourself a respite from the day-to-day world.
Wishing you the best in all your adventures!
Artist's Way Workshop FAQ
The next Artist's Way Workshop begins online June 18, 2021! Here are some questions folks have asked about the group:
Is it OK if I miss one or two group meetings?
It is totally OK! It's normal to not be able to attend all of the meetings, especially during the summer. Because we review a chapter each week, you are more then welcome to keep up with self-study during the time you may be absent.
How big will the group be?
The group will have a maximum of 10 participants.
Will you have a weekend or evening option?
This may be available in the future. For now, our next 12-week group will be 10-11:30 am (PDT), starting June 18 and ending Sept. 3.
What is the cost?
Your investment will be $360 for the entire 12-week group. You may also choose an installment plan of two payments of $180 (more info here).
What is the difference between going through the book by oneself or in a group?
I've only met one person who's said they have completed the book on their own! There seems to be something about the book that works best with the support and accountability of the group process. Plus, it's a lot of fun!
What is the structure of the group meetings?
We will review one chapter each week over 12 weeks. Each group starts with a check-in, followed by a discussion of the chapter. We also will talk about creative tasks from the book the group chooses to focus on each week.
I've been checking out the idea of morning pages from the book. Is it OK if the things I write are negative?
Yes! It is for sure OK because the idea is to get all of those things out onto the page so you can focus on other things during the day.
Also re: morning pages, do I have to always write three pages? Do they always have to be written in the morning?
As far as I'm concerned, it's fine to write as much or as little as you like (I say if you don't have availability to write three pages, write three paragraphs). This is a little different from author Julia Cameron's guidelines, and you can choose for yourself what works best for you. I also think it's OK to write the pages whatever time of day works best for you. In other words, give it your best effort and don't let the details hold you back.
I have some other questions about the workshop. May I contact you?
Yes! You may send me a message here or schedule a time to chat here.
How do I register?
For more info and registration, click here.
See you soon!
I recently was interviewed on two different podcasts about the benefits of creativity to mental health — Unapologetically Sensitive, and Design Your Dream Life. I hope you find them interesting and inspiring. Enjoy!
The subtitle of Julia Cameron's book "The Artist's Way" is: "A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” This means she talks about God. Kind of a lot.
In my experience leading Artist’s Way groups, first as a coach and later as a therapist, participants have had varying responses to the use of the G-word in the book. For some, thinking about God in the context of creativity feels uncomfortable and too restrictive. For others, the way Cameron describes God in the book is much too lenient for their taste.
Cameron says the letters G-O-D can stand for “good orderly direction.” I would call it “flow.” Some people use “Universe” as a substitute for God. And for some it’s impossible to separate the word “God" from, well, God.
What does it mean to embark on a spiritual path to higher creativity? The answer is as different as each individual’s definition of spirituality. For me, it’s about values. Do I value being rich and famous over authentic artistic expression? Or do I value process over product? Or maybe it’s important for me to balance both of those things.
What embarking on spiritual path isn’t about, in my opinion, is doing things like everyone else. It’s not about copying and pasting and calling it art. It’s about finding my voice and connecting my voice to the larger, universal voice of humanity. That is spiritual for me.
It’s difficult to talk about spirituality because it’s more of a feeling than a thing. Yet I know it when I feel it. And in my Artist’s Way groups I try to foster a sense of belonging, peace, and unity.
Now if I could only find a good word for that...
Registration Opens Aug. 1, 2018
Someone asked me recently what my favorite thing is about my job as a therapist. I said it's facilitating Artist's Way Workshop therapy groups, hands down. I've been leading groups based on the book by Julia Cameron for more than 10 years now, and I look forward to it every time. There's something magical that happens when a group of people gets together to support one another in the service of art and creativity. And the spiritual element of Cameron's book adds a deeper dimension to the process.
I hope you can join us for the next 12-week Artist's Way Workshops in September, 2018, in San Diego. This time there will be both weekend and weekday options. More information: The Artist's Way Workshop
-Rachel Moore, LMFT
P.S. Click here to sign up for email alerts about the next Artist's Way Workshop. Please contact Rachel if you have any questions.
Save the Date! Artist's Way Workshop 2018
Join us for the 2018 Artist's Way Workshop therapy group. We'll meet for 12 weeks — 10 am-12 pm Sundays, starting Feb. 4. Please click here to add your email to the interest list. Registration opens Jan. 2!
New Video: The Artist's Way Workshop
If you're curious about the book "The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron, please check out this video. I discuss why the book is important and what it's like to participate in the Artist's Way Workshop. Enjoy!
I recently wrote a guest blog post for the Therapeutic Center for Anxiety and Trauma, where I work in private practice. It's about a time in my life when being creative taught me about what it means to be authentic. You can find the post here, and I hope you enjoy it: Your Voice Is Waiting For You
P.S. Please contact me if you are interested in being added to the mailing list for information about our next Artist's Way Workshop therapy group, which begins February 2017.
Our next 12-week Artist's Way Workshop is tentatively schedule to begin Sept. 2, 2015, at the Therapeutic Center for Anxiety and Trauma. Please contact Rachel for more information, or check out the Facebook event page.
Rachel Moore, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapy in San Diego, CA. Rachel helps writers, artists, musicians, and other creative types overcome anxiety and trauma. She is certified in EMDR therapy and also trained in Brainspotting.