The Artist’s Way
The Artist’s Way is a book that was written by Julia Cameron in 1993 and has gone to sell millions of copies and helped a huge amount of people overcome creative blocks and become more true to themselves and to achieve in life more of what they were meant to achieve. You don’t need to be an artist to benefit from the Artist’s Way. You just need to have a desire to change.
Our shop, Angel Times, was born out of one of the exercises in the book when Janet was doing the course as a result of a major life change back in 2004. The “Imaginary Lives” exercise askes the reader to let their imagination take flight and write down five roles in life that they would like to do in an ideal world. Ideas range from the more serious such as a full career or relationship change to the more whimsical. Participants are asked to integrate aspects of these idealistic lives into their own reality and see the positive changes that can occur. In our case, we both had “Open an Angel Shop” on our lists so we did!
The format of the book is that there are 12 weeks of exercises that you do as you read the book. The work is set up to be constant over the period of the course so you actually do a lot of work without realising it. There are two main exercises that participants are expected to do constantly during the course.
The first is the morning pages. Every morning you would need to write three handwritten pages in a private A4 journal. This is an opportunity to clear the clutter that fills up our minds and the process of writing our most private thoughts on long hand on a page allows us to get on with our day with a clearer, more focussed mind. Over the period of the course this is the exercise that people get the most out of simply because it is so constant and people see the changes that are happening easily.
The second is the Artist’s Date. Every week you would need to spend at least a couple of hours doing something nice for yourself, by yourself. This can be anything from window shopping to digging in the garden, there is no instruction other than it has to be fun for you and has to be done alone. My experience is that this is the hardest exercise for people to do. Perhaps people find it easier to do nice things for others than for themselves.
The Artist’s way Groups
When Janet did the course in 2004 she did it as part of a group with a leader to introduce the exercises on a weekly basis and, more importantly, to check on the progress of the participants each week. It is much more difficult to not do the exercises as part of a group than if you were on your own.
We have been facilitating groups using the Artist’s Way for more than ten years now and it is the case that the more people are willing to put into the course, the more they will get out of it. We have an introduction evening as part of the course so the commitment we ask of people over the 13 weeks is quite a lot. However, we have seen people change markedly both during and after the course and having seen the benefits of the course first hand for ourselves we are in a very good position to recommend the course to people of all walks of life.