This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Motivation for Mondays: The Arist's Way--Check-in for Week 1

For the next twelve weeks here at B.I.K.E. WITH JACKIE, those of us who are reading The Artist's Way will be checking in on Mondays. I have a small group of writers participating with me, and we'll be posting our progress as comments below.

Week 1
By now, you've read Chapter One, "Recovering a Sense of Safety." You've learned about the Morning Pages and your Artist's Date. You've got a pretty good idea of what's involved in the book and what you might be able to expect in the coming weeks. It's going to be extremely enlightening if you've never read Julia Cameron's work before. It's going to be wonderfully familiar to those of you who have. And, I hope it's going to be a highly encouraging, motivating, positive force for all of us, propelling us into greater success with our creative endeavors--no matter what they are or what they might be.

Here's how the first week panned out on my end:

I remember the very first time I read this chapter, it made me cry. I could quickly recognize where my "blurts" were coming from. But this time, I have a much healthier sense of who I am as a creative person. I don't feel any strong pull from anyone--other than myself--that would suggest I can't live my life creatively. I realize, at this point in my life (past my early 40s), I am in charge of where I take my career, and where I don't. I kind of like to think I have a handle on the blurts. But not always. I did find myself connecting all too well with the need to affirm. I relished the time in the mornings last week when I spent reaffirming myself as a creative person, a successful writer, a person who can "Expect the best" from this world.

In fact, coming back to The Artist's Way for motivation allowed me to hear the above mantra on TV, and I've been using it ever since. "Expect the best." I might have missed it without Cameron. She kind of saved me last week, as I had been having some really down days the month prior--and that's probably what led me back to Cameron's book. I needed it. I needed to be reminded of my strengths. I am glad to have her book to use as a tool to reconnect and work to "Find and protect the artist child."

I have a lot of highlighting in my book, and notes written in the side margins. But I still managed to write more there. I particularly liked to be reminded that beliefs are not facts. Beliefs are not your truths. You can change your beliefs for the better; thus, the need for affirmations, which provide the safety and hope your creative self needs to soar. I liked being reminded of that.

I wrote my Morning Pages every morning, except for on Saturday. I went on a very long hike instead, and that suited me just fine.

I didn't actually schedule my Artist Date, as I couldn't decide what I wanted to do. So when Sunday came, in between laundry and a little house cleaning, I ran across this game I picked up at a bookstore last year. Called the Color Game, it's a series of cut-out cards of various colors and designs created by an architect named Ted Naos. You mix and match the cards to form different patterns. I played with those for about an hour. I didn't have as much fun as I thought, and I think it's because I forced myself to do it, just so I could say I'd done my Artist Date. I think the date has to have more meaning than that, something that is more consciously chosen. Maybe. Anyway, in my search this morning to try to find the game online, in case you're interested in seeing it for yourself, I found this color game instead. It turned out to be more fun than the one I played.

I was so not intimidated by the exercises this time around. I wanted to do as many of them as I could. I remember my first reading, when I thought, "Exercises! Bah. I don't want to do that." And I did as few as I thought I could get away with. This time, I, of course, wrote my Morning Pages--such a freeing experience, and I do feel like I let go of a lot of crap that was hanging around in my thoughts for too long. Amen! I did do the Artist Date. I did one of the Time Travel exercises. I wrote a letter to the editor in my defense. That was so fun! I mailed it, but I haven't yet received it. I think I'll wait to read it till the end of our 12 weeks. I did the affirmations. I read affirmations at least four times last week, and I took my artist for a walk.

All in all, this was a great first week. I hope you all had a similar experience. If it's your first time, tell us your impressions of the book and the lessons so far. Do you think you'll be able to finish? I remember that one time I read it, I quit midway. I don't remember why. I wasn't ready for it? I don't know. But let's hear from you about your progress. Go ahead and answer the questions that are at the end of the chapter. Or, just post your overall thoughts. Reveal as little or as much as you like. We'll keep checking in every Monday till we've all completed the 12 chapters.

Motivation for Mondays is a part of a weekly Twitter party called #MotivatedMondays initiated by Lorrie Shaw, a professional pet sitter, a regular pets contributor at, and pet blogger in Dexter Township, MI. Together, we post a combination of inspirational notes, links to motivational blog posts, and tips to help kickstart your week ahead. Look for us online every Monday morning--and throughout the day--if you need to kick start your week or want to share your own motivational thoughts.


Teresa Bitler said...

I read the first chapter last Monday and the second chapter last night. I did my morning pages every day and a few of the exercises. I didn't get a chance to do my artists' date, and I'm fairly certain I won't again this week since I'm going on vacation. I know it's an important part of this experience so I will try. On the other hand, I've been working with affirmations, and those have been helpful. I've also adopted Jackie's mantra of "Expect the Best" and have had some good outcomes as a result.

BIKE LADY said...


An Artist's Date can be very simple, something like sorting through photos for your book projects or for the blog. Really, it can be just as simple as that. Try to schedule it in as best you can.

Did you like Chapter 1? Did you get anything out of it that you didn't expect?

Teresa Bitler said...

Nothing so far that I can say I didn't expect. I'm more aware of the negative voices (blurts) but also the positive ones. I got a nice email from a friend today and realized she has always been a champion of my writing. I'm going to print out her email and hang on to it.

Anonymous said...

I just read the first chapter. What an experience, made all that much better because of the cool thunderstorm that blew through. I will start the morning pages tomorrow, reluctantly. I do my best writing in the morning and am concerned that this will cut into my productivity. We'll see. I'm definitely liking the Artists Date assignment, though. If I go horseback riding will that count as a date? Always looking for another excuse to do that! Otherwise, I'm kind of amped to go to a museum or gallery -- haven't done that since forever.

BIKE LADY said...

Your Artist Date is open. Horseback riding. Biking. Sewing. Visiting a museum. Scrapbooking. Window shopping. Playing with color. Sorting photos for an album. Listening to music. Drumming. It could be anything creative that you give yourself time to explore. Enjoy!

Diane Faulkner said...

Okay, so I thought the first chapter was the one before "Week 1". I did glean enough info, though, to at least do my three pages, which was painful.

I really do hate these kinds of things. I'm not New Age'y. Not Agnostic or Atheist, but rather a Deist. I have a great block on anything "Christian" where the god is always referred to in the masculine, when the dual gender is clearly delineated in the Torah/Old Testament. So, I'm going into this book knowing I'm going to have to edit as I go along. I'm behind the eight ball.

I didn't start my pages until today, Tuesday, because I did everything I could possibly do to avoid reading the book over the weekend. My rut is deep. All day Monday, I avoided doing the reading, first by staying in bed too long, then by taking too long to do research on calls I needed to make. By the time I got all my calls done, it was time to listen to my show, which takes three hours. Then I decided to watch television, after all, the new programming is on. When I caught myself watching re-runs of what I just watched. I switched off the tube, poured myself a new Diet Coke, and headed off to bed with my computer, book, and reading glasses determined to read and get started. By the time I got to the Week 1 chapter, I was done in.

This morning, I stayed too long in bed again. I took care of the kitties and threw in some laundry before I set out to write my pages. I wrote them, though. In writing them, I felt myself delving deep into myself and then snapping out into writing a To-Do list. I got up three times to check on the laundry. I sent a text message. I got some Luna bars, which I'm determined to never again buy because I gorge on them.

In the end, I realized that the reason I resist writing journals such as this is because when I was a kid, my mother would read my journal - which had a key - and would then punish me for what she didn't like. My college boyfriend read my high school correspondence with an Aussie pen pal who I had to cut ties with because he wanted a relationship, and my post-college boyfriend regularly broke into my emails. I have no trust in whatever I write on my yellow-dog to remain private. I know that the best way for me to delve into my subconscious is to write long-hand, as that is my best meditation; but when I can't feel safe, I can't trust. When I can't trust, I can't share. When I can't share, I don't create, because why create something that can't be shared - even with oneself?

I'm in the middle of the Week 1 chapter. I should finish in a few minutes.

I hope I'm getting the spirit of this thing right, because I so want this to work. And truth be told, I need for this to work. I'm tired of being where I am.


Diane Faulkner said...

Okay. I got a message that what I tried to post was too long, but at the top of this page, is reads "Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval."

Did you get my post?

BIKE LADY said...

Diane, that was painful to read, which means, I think you're on your way. You're doing something you resist. Just do the best you can. No judging. The more you do this, the more enlightened you will become, and then, as you really pay attention to what you're writing down, you will begin to heal. In chapter 2, you will meet some of these old wounds and you will begin to find your truth--that you can trust yourself, and that's what really matters.

Mostly right now, I just think you need a hug. So take your arms, wrap them around your shoulders, close your eyes, and give yourself a hug. Stay that way until you feel calm. That, my friend, is self-love, and we all deserve that. That's what nurturing your artist self is about--self-love. You will see. ;-)

Star, Frankie, Patrick, and George said...

Okay, so I'm behind. I just finished as much as I could for Week 1. Number 8, the exercise on imaginary lives, the second part where we actually go and do/experience something from that life, well that and the Number 10, taking a walk, will have to wait until my foot heals. I think I posted the fact that I broke my foot last Wednesday.

I'm still not quite clear on what the Artist's Date is supposed to be about. Does blocking out the time it takes to watch all my sports on the weekend count? I normally get caught up in one particular problem client's "emergency" and wind up wasting an entire afternoon with him and miss everything I wanted to do for myself, namely, enjoy watching my teams and talking with my brother and best friend throughout. I never get to do that except during football season. I do actually get inspirations on things to write about: why are all the older sportscasters dying their hair, and why don't some go the extra step and dye their eyebrows to match?

In the book, it says we're supposed to do this date on our own, but I'm always on my own, which is why I think I should be able to reach out to people on the date. Is that wrong?

The Time Travels were particularly interesting, as I got to revisit those early inspirations. Have to say that I surprised myself with one person I came up with on that score. Two were teachers, by the way.

I emailed my mentor. I think she'll be shocked, because even though I've teasingly introduced her as my mentor, I've always believed her to be so. She's someone I look up to, and I don't think she knew that, but she will now. You know her, too. She's a great lady.

I'm not quite getting the "blurts". More so than blurts, I have interruptions that take me away from doing my pages in one fell swoop. I discovered exactly how the interruptions turn into distractions, though, and learned how much time (a lot!) I waste throughout the day. It's those that I'm listing. Is that okay?

How many days did I spend doing the pages? Well, I started Monday night/Tuesday morning. Did Wednesday, then nothing. I touched the book and my yellow dog pad, but only to move them out of the way as I napped away the pain in my foot and focused on phone calls, billing and correspondence. I was determined, though, to get caught up on Monday, and that's what I'm doing. I'll be reading Week 2 right after I get done with this post.

How was the experience? I learned more than I thought I would, but I also seem to have used the pages to get myself organized, which might not be a bad use. I liked taking the time out to work on the exercises, but I still feel the need to skip over a lot of the text. If what I read makes me roll my eyes, then I just acknowledge the point the author is making and then move on. Is that bad for this process?

Issues that were significant to my recovery...

1. Nailing down how I allow myself to waste time, which I believe is a subconscious need to avoid work/sabotage myself.

2. Recognizing how long I've allowed a particularly difficult experience in my past dictate how I feel about myself and how that has led to my writer's block and low self-esteem.

3. Realizing how much the three people I listed as champions affected me by a) praising my work in front of the class and holding me as an example, b) allowing me the freedom to express my regular work in creative ways, and c) by being honest and sincere in stating facts about me that are truisms I recognized on some level in myself, but had never heard that particular person say. From that moment on, our relationship was completely different. I showed him much more respect, the respect he actually deserved from me all along.

Star, Frankie, Patrick, and George said...
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Star, Frankie, Patrick, and George said...
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BIKE LADY said...

Diane, first of all, please don't worry about doing this wrong. What you get out of it is what you get out of it. You will not do it wrong, even if you slant it to fit your life experience as it is right now.

However, I believe Cameron has good reason for the rules she's created--writing the Morning Pages every morning, doing the Artist Date alone, etc. Your resistance is your resistance. In time, maybe you'll loosen up. Maybe that will be the second time you go through the book. No judging. Just do the best you can.

I will tell that I've experienced the book both as a married woman and as a single woman, and I've done the Artist Date alone in both situations, and sometimes I've felt I had to do it with someone else. The experience is not my own when I add another person. But if that's what works for you right now then it has to be better than avoiding the Artist Date altogether. At least, that's what I think. But read over her reasoning again, if that helps.

By the way, I'm sure a sporting event can count once or twice, but if you don't mix it up, you're missing out. This experience is about stretching yourself, exploring areas of your life you've either ignored or didn't know existed. Allow yourself to dig deeper. You'll figure that out in time. Keep reading, you'll see.

And, personally, from what I'm reading here, I think you're getting far more out of it than you expected or thought you might--and you're not even done with Chapter 2. I love that you get it more than you realize. Cameron's ideas are universal to the creative mind, regardless of your beliefs. Her wisdom will seep in, as it is already. Your three points about your recovery? Excellent! I'm not experiencing that much insight yet. I'm mostly seeing how much I've grown. As I read on, I expect to see areas where I need improvement. That's my ultimate goal--to see where I need to effect positive change, in both my personal life and my work/creative life.

Thank you for the thought-provoking dialogue.

BIKE LADY said...

OMG! I just posted a lengthy response here, and it was deleted--too long. Bummer. Due to my time constraints now, let me just say that, Diane, you're doing great. I see that you're picking up more than you probably expected. I love what I'm reading here. You can't do this wrong. Take it one chapter at a time. See where it leads you. Pay attention to your resistance. That's where you might want to focus your time. And I absolutely think you're going to see some serious growth in both your personal and professional life. It's right here in your comments!

BIKE LADY said...

Well,that's weird. The post showed up, anyway. I think the same happened to you, too, Diane. And I had to delete your double post (part 1 and 2). Next time it says your post is too long, it probably really isn't. No need to repost. Technology. It's just not that foolproof, is it?