Week two of The Artist's Way is all about recovering your identity. The main drive is to take away all the things we "should" be doing to please others and all the people who make us feel guilty or undermine our work with their own craziness, while practicing paying better attention - both to the moment and to our lives and gifts.
This week I had less resistance than I did in week one, despite a lot of the exercises still feeling like they didn't quite applying to me. This week instead of "hearts" and "hmmmmmms", I'll share what I did "okay" with and "less okay" with.
The tasks for the week are mostly around taking an inventory of your life: where you spend your time, what you nurture and ignore, and what things you wish you were doing all the time that you never actually do. There is some really great stuff in here, it just all happens to be stuff that I started doing regularly a few years back to regain my sanity, so I know I'm not getting the big life-changing impact that is intended.
For example, one exercise is to write down twenty things you enjoy doing - anything. My list includes yoga, riding my bike, writing, dancing, going for a beer with friends, playing games with friends, crafting, baking, cuddling with Gertie, and playing music. Then you are to write, next to each thing, how long it's been since you actually did that thing. She says that you should not be surprised if it's been years since you did most of the things on your list, and if I were doing this a few years ago, that would have been the case for me as well.
The truth was, that everything on my list except for playing music was something I had done as recently as was realistically possible (I can't play games with friends every day, but I had done it within the past couple of weeks, which felt pretty good to me). Now, I would love to start playing music again, and that's something I can work on, but otherwise I think I'm doing pretty well!
In response to this, I was meant to pick two things I hadn't done in a long time and make time to do them. Okay, so I probably should have picked playing music, since that was the only thing I hadn't really done that was on my list, but I gave myself a pass. 19/20 is pretty good and I already have special time I make for some of these activities.
I confess that I didn't do some of the exercises fully because I didn't actually have the time - or should I say, I didn't actually make the time. We have time for everything we choose to do, right?
For example, one exercise was to write a list of things you would like to change in your life, some big and some small. Then you pick one small thing and just do it. I have been wanting to get photos printed for some picture frames I have for ages, so I picked that. Then I didn't do anything. Well, I looked through some photos I had and realized that they are too small to print. Then I didn't do anything. So, I did not-so-okay at that one.
This week I learned that I am already doing pretty good at making time for the things that matter most to me, but that I need to continue to work on it. If I can't even make the time to act on a couple of exercises, I know I'm not there yet.
I've noticed that I enjoy the insights in the readings very much, but I don't really like most of the tasks. Even the ones I follow through on fully, I generally find a bit annoying. So that's an interesting observation: I like to read and think about ideas, but not actually act on things.