We begin Week 4 of the Artist’s Way: Recovering a Sense of Integrity.
Real Feelings vs “Official” Feelings
The topic of week four is recovering a sense of integrity in which, we discover the differences between our real feelings and our official feelings.
Julia explains our real feelings as those which are often secret whereas our official feelings are those on record for public display. Oftentimes, even we aren’t aware of our real feelings. They do, however, tend to come out while doing our morning pages or any other daily stream of consciousness writing practice.
This is, of course, one of the reasons we do the the morning pages. Their purpose to examine what’s going on in our lives; to be truthful about how we’re feeling about our present life situation.
Growth and Change
Julia mentions that sometimes during our writing, all of a sudden we are smacked with a realization like “I have outgrown this job,” which at first, can be a troubling perception. But as we examine this more deeply in our writing – our morning pages – it then becomes a call for action, and then an action plan. How often have you had a sudden awareness or understanding hit you when writing from the heart? I know I have…and still do fairly often.
The deeper we delve into our morning pages, the more we will notice things such as friends who bore us, situations which are stifling us – and because of it, according to Julia, we are often rocked by waves of sorrow. We want our illusions back! We might often not want to be aware of the fact that our job is stifling our creativity and sucking the life out of us, because admitting this means that we have to do something about it. We can no longer be complacent, taking the easy way out by accepting things simply as they are.
Attaining a Sense of Clarity
As we continue our exploration of the self, we begin to lose our vagueness about who we are, our values, or life situation. We begin to notice shifts in tastes and perceptions, and according to Julia these frequently accompany shifts in identity. By tossing out the old and unworkable, we make way for the new and suitable.
Julia compares working with the morning pages to wiping a mirror. Each day’s writing takes a swipe at the blur we’ve kept between us and our real self. As our image becomes clearer, we may surprised to discover very particular likes, dislikes, annoyances and irritations that we haven’t yet acknowledged.
Applying it to the Tarot
So how can we apply this to the tarot? Just as our writing can break down the wall between our real selves and our perceived self, so can a consistent tarot practice. Beginning with something as simple as a daily draw and asking a question like: “What do I most need to know right now?” can begin this process of identifying the true self. If you wish to go more ßin-depth, try a daily spread such as that outlined below:
Daily Discovery Spread
- What to release or let go of
- What issues to focus on
- What to work towards
Doing such Tarot work can reveal some interesting information about yourself, information that you weren’t perhaps aware of. Remember that Tarot can be used as a map to spiritual enlightenment and the more we use it to address those difficult questions about ourself, the more we will discover who we really are, and perhaps even realized the life path that is best suited for us.
Buried Dreams Exercise
Julia recommends an exercise that she calls Buried Dreams, An Exercise. She states that as creatives, we often have to excavate our own pasts for shards of buried dreams and delights so it’s time for us to do a little digging. Write quickly without censoring and answer the following six questions :
- List five hobbies that sound fun.
- List five classes that sound fun.
- List five things you personally would never do that sound fun.
- List five skills that would be fun to have.
- List five things that you enjoy doing.
- Left five silly things you would like to try once.
Did your unconscious come up with things that you might enjoy? If so, why not make some time to do them?
I put together a spread that can help you begin to uncover your true self. Using the deck of your choice, shuffle and draw seven cards as shown below:
Julia lists several interesting tasks that you might want to try this week. Here are three:
- Time Travel: describe yourself at eighty. What did you do after fifty that you enjoyed? Be very specific. Now, write a letter from you at eighty to you at your current age. What would you tell yourself? What interests would you urge yourself to pursue? What dreams would you encourage?
- Time Travel: Remember yourself at eight. What did you like to do? What were your favorite things? Now, it’s a letter from you at eight to you at your current age. What would you tell yourself?
- Look at one situation in your life that you feel you should change but haven’t yet. What is the payoff for you in staying stuck?
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