Artist’s Way, Weeks Four Through Six

I have been getting back into visual journaling more again. It's a wonderful way for me to create anywhere in the house, even with kids around. And it feels soooo good.
I have been getting back into visual journaling more again. It’s a wonderful way for me to create anywhere in the house, even with kids around. And it feels soooo good.

Well, I am long overdue for this. But the important thing is I am sticking with it. More or less. Week eight may have taken me three weeks to complete. But I am getting there, learning a lot and making changes for the better. So here is my review of the second quarter of the Artist’s Way. If you feel inclined, you can read the first part here.

Week Four: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

This chapter kicked off by asking the reader to take a closer look at all the “okays” in life. Often when we say things are okay, there is a deeper problem there, just one that is being buried or disguised. I still hadn’t hit a place where the morning pages were making me mad like the book warned may happen. But I was finding that morning pages were really helpful with working out my frustrations on the page.

The biggest challenge for me was following through with the prescribed reading deprivation for the week. Normally, I wouldn’t have liked this anyway, but it was even worse because I had just started on the library summer reading program. But I sucked it up and tried. And there was one quick slip-up where I got caught up reading an online article. At least that was short-lived.

Several of the exercises kept bringing up clutter as one of my major issues. It is a regular source of frustration as well as distraction for me, even though I have been getting rid of stuff left and right. But between the Artist’s Way and our Home Cure (thank you Apartment Therapy), I got the extra push to stop dwelling and start getting rid of more stuff. We still have quite a way to go, but I finally feel really good about the progress we are making. I even stripped out a ton of kid junk from my studio and put the remainder in its own drawer. Now the space is back to mostly mine with just enough space to keep visiting kids happy.

Overall, still a good week and fun exercises.

Week Five: Recovering a Sense of Possibility

This week was a monumental one because I did six out of seven days of morning pages AND I went on an Artist Date. That’s amazing because my rate of artist dates are abysmal at best.

The exercises this week were really fun and very, very helpful. The first set of exercises talked about virtue traps, which was 100% spot-on for my life. I find it unbelievably easy to say I will work on my art as soon as the chores are done. The problem is, the chores are never done. They never will be because there is always something else to be done. And I don’t care what your job is, whether office or stay-at-home, everyone needs a break to recharge. Reading this chapter backed up that assertion and made me feel less guilty about taking more time for myself and letting dishes or laundry go one day (or two). That guilt will never totally go away. I think it’s been programmed in to moms.

The other major chunk was talking about forbidden joys. Like a lot of people, I think as I was starting to get close to college, I was really pressed to grow up. Between parents, bosses and school, I think everyone is so worried about teens being able to take care of themselves that the ideas of simple joys get pushed out too. It’s easy to think of creation as an extra, something we don’t need. If it’s not paying the bills, it’s not important, right? That feeling grows even deeper roots when you are a parent and literally responsible for a pair of little lives. Writing out my frustration and wishes has helped me take a few steps towards balancing my mom duties with what I owe myself.

Week Six: Recovering a Sense of Abundance

Is it sad if the closest I got to an artist date this week was fifteen minutes of reading the dentist’s chair? Is it even more sad if I enjoyed it. Oddly enough, I don’t mind going to the dentist at all, so getting to sit still and read a home decorating magazine was wonderful.

This week talked all about money and clutter…my two big foes! This worked out great because it just continued the clutter issues I started to uncover in week four. The good thing is, they weren’t buried that deep. As I said, I was working on our own version of Apartment Therapy’s Home Cure. It was very boiled down, but very effective. This week, both exercises worked together and I ended up purging junk. Lots of junk. Tax-deduction-worthy amounts of junk. And it feels great. I even set aside a few boxes of stuff to sell and swap with friends.

The money half of things wasn’t nearly so easy to weed through. Luckily, the money problems I have are very minor. They mostly boil down to needing to shift my view from office me to stay-at-home-mom me. We have what we need and then some, so security really isn’t an issue. My husband and I just need to adjust to totally shared finances. The big, giant upside to staying at home and not dragging any cash is I have taken it as a personal challenge to use as much of my stash as possible. So here and there I am actually using supplies I have built up. And in response to the clutter, I have also been sharing good, unused supplies with friends who will love and use them.

So far…

Everything up to week six was still going pretty well. The following weeks have been a bit rougher, but that’s a story for my next installation of the Artist’s Way! There have been a lot of tiny things in my life that have been bugging me. I don’t have major complaints because I have a good life and am a generally happy person. But a few things just under the surface that are not tended to could have caused issues later. But they won’t now. Clutter or time alone…I won’t let the tiny things win!

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