I want to show you all something. It's something that I noticed (and brought me to a cold realisation) this afternoon while waiting for my ride to go to my eye doctor appointment (which went well, by the way, glasses will be ready in about two weeks!).
A year ago this month, Shawn got me The Artist Way Workbook by Julia Cameron. Now... I know I've been slacking hard on the Morning Pages thing (procrastination for the win!), but what really kicked me in the face is opening the book up this afternoon and seeing this. The date, specifically. I'm not one to shirk commitments. When it comes to others, I am on that. But... Why can't I be as diligent when it comes to commitments to myself? And there are zero excuses on my part; it's not like I've not known where these books were, either, all my Julia Cameron books are right on the shelf right next to the couch, right under the thermostat. :/ As in, I walk by them multiple times a day!
See that? 9th April 2016. Last year. On a Saturday. I remember getting this in the mail, how excited I felt when it finally got here. How much of a pain in the ass it was to get it out of the mailbox because the mailman had gotten it in there okay on his end, but on my end, there was difficulty trying to retrieve it. But, there wasn't any damage done to the book except a small tear in the middle of the binding on the cover. Nothing a little TLC with some scotch tape can't fix. What's bugging me so much is since last year, I've not cracked this book open even once. This is not okay. At all.
I do want to know, though, why is it we're so on top of things when we've committed to doing something someone asks of us, but when it comes to doing something for ourselves, even if it's just a small chunk of time to have a breather in a quiet space, we feel guilty for it? Why is that, exactly? Like, right now, my husband's playing a video game, I'm in the office enjoying communicating with you, Loyal Reader, and I'm confused. I'm confused as to why we neglect ourselves. We encourage people we care about: "You need a vacation, this job's getting to be too much for you!" or we make jokes about running off to a deserted island somewhere in the South Pacific. Yet, deep down, we think, "I can't do that. [Person/Environment] needs me." That may be, but how are you of any use to anyone else if you don't recharge the proverbial battery?
Morning Pages, Artist's Date Days, these things Julia talks about in her books and she is quite vocal about it. She's one to encourage these things because how else are you to decompress after a stressful week, right? How else is your day going to get off to a good start (apart from prayer, meditation, whatever), if you don't do a "brain dump" of sorts?
Twelve weeks. That's all I had to commit to, and by the end of the twelfth week, it'd have become a habit, anyway, that it wouldn't be a big deal for me to keep going.
Well, I've done some thinking, and I've decided to set up a couple trackers to hold myself accountable. Check it out:
This is a list of Artist Date ideas. I've set aside Saturdays to be my "down time" days, and aside from other commitments I have, there's really nothig else going on. I can easily carve out two hours a week for myself to do a little something, and each of these ideas is precisely what I aim to do.
This is a listing of each week's Artist's Way Workbook assignment. I'm starting them on Sundays. My goal is to track (somehow) each day that I sit down with them, because I've been badly neglecting this.
Another thing I want to keep track of is making sure I keep myself accountable about Morning Pages. As a Creative, this is important to keep the inspiration river flowing. Each day I do these, a square will be shaded in for the corresponding date.
I have a journal my husband bought me a few weeks ago. It's cute and it's got an owl on the front cover. My husband's constantly encouraging me to keep in touch with my muse. He'll ask me at the end of each day, "did you do any writing today, love?" And I'm honestly sad to admit, no, not every day does this happen where I sit down and spend time with my muse. Well, my goal is to change that. Each evening, I'm going to sit down and write out the happenings of the day, after dinner, after dishes, as part of the bedtime routine. Each day that I write at least one entry, I'll mark it in green (of course). If there's more than one entry, it'll be marked in blue, and if it's been ignored, it'll be marked in red.