Welcome to my series of articles about Julia Cameron’s book, Walking in This World. Week Ten is about Discovering a Sense of Camaraderie. I post an article each Wednesday as I work my way through the book.
The main points of week ten are about trying to lessen the amount of drama in our lives, getting better at our craft, having before, during and after friends, and a catcher’s mitt. Does the combination sound a little strange? It won’t once we look at each one of the points.
First of all, what does discovering a sense of camaraderie have to do with these main points? If you have a sense of camaraderie with someone, you feel comfortable, close and safe with them. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
But, sometimes we don’t feel safe, close or comfortable with anyone, especially not ourselves. When we are feeling anxious or nervous about a project or deadline, we can get a little crazy. We stop creating. Julia calls it “artistic anorexia”, the avoidance of the pleasure of the creative. We start looking at our life and creating drama instead of art. Boy, can I relate to that. I admit, I have done that a time or two.
Julia said, “Sudden problems in my life usually indicate a need to work on my art.” What can you do when this happens? Walk, run, go to the gym and get on the treadmill, vacuum the whole house, or mop the floor. Doing something physical seems to be cathartic. A suggestion in the reading is to make a “Ta-dah list”. This is a list of things you accomplish in a day, whether large or small. Making this list will help you see that you are getting things accomplished. Make sure some of the things you have done are art related. Eventually that list of art related activities will begin to grow.
Everyone wants to be better at what they do, don’t they? We want to see growth in our work. We need to look for opportunities to improve our craft through classes, one on one instruction from a gifted artist, workshops, etc. We need to be open to new teachers with new skills, while remembering our own skills have value. Julia reminds the reader that the Great Artist is looking out for us and will lead the right teacher to us. We just need to have faith and pray for the ability to recognize the guidance the Lord sends.
What are before, during, and after friends? They are the people that stick around, that support us before, during and after a creative venture. It doesn’t matter to them whether we are a success or not. These friends are hard to find. They listen to us when we feel like we can’t paint anything worthwhile anymore, that we have lost it. They also listen to us when we win an award at an international art show and are not jealous. They build us up when we are down and rejoice in our successes. We can trust these friends.
Here is a quote I circled in this reading, “As artists, we need people who can see us for who we are – as big as we are and as small as we are, as competent and powerful as we are, and as terrified and as tiny as we sometimes feel.” Pray to receive these friends in your life. Do you have anyone that fits in this category? I do and I feel very grateful for them.
Okay, why the heck do I need a catcher’s mitt? Am I going outside to play? Is someone going to be throwing things at me? No. We are not the catcher, we are the pitcher. The catcher’s mitt is someone in our life that can handle all the pitches we throw whether they are on the mark or flying wildly off target.
So, the person that is our catcher’s mitt needs to be able to speak truthfully to us. We need encouragement, but we also need to know when we are going off track in a constructive way. It would be really fortunate if our before, during, and after friends could also be our catcher’s mitt. Personal relationships can mean a lot to an artist’s creative health. Artists need a sense of camaraderie.
Next week the topic is Discovering a Sense of Authenticity.
You might want to read my other articles about Walking in This World, by Julia Cameron.
Links to those articles are below:
Week One – Discovering a Sense of Origin
Week Two – Discovering a Sense of Proportion
Week Three – Discovering a Sense of Perspective
Week Four – Discovering a Sense of Adventure
Week Five – Discovering a Sense of Personal Territory
Week Six – Discovering a Sense of Boundaries
Week Seven – Discovering a Sense of Momentum
Week Eight – Discovering a Sense of Discernment
Week Nine – Discovering a Sense of Resiliency
Week Eleven – Discovering a Sense of Authenticity
Week Twelve – Discovering a Sense of Dignity