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, December 20, 2010

Motivated Mondays: The Artist's Way check-in for week 12

Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way book cover
Whoa! I can't believe we're here. Today, I report on results from Chapter 11 and have already read Chapter 12. I've just about made it. How about you?

Hey, I know you haven't been coming around or posting as often as the first eight weeks. Things have slowed down. But don't give up now. Keep reading. Take a few extra weeks if you need it. But don't stop now. You're almost there with me. We've almost gone through the entire book.

So no giving up now. If you somehow got lost in the hurried year-end schedule, remember to take some time for yourself. The Artist's Way offers good reason to do that. I know it's tough and that you're learning some rough lessons. I realize you may be connecting with stuff you might wish you hadn't. Those nasty inner demons. But you're also growing and learning to push yourself past those blocks. Most of them are mental, you know. You can take charge of that if you cultivate the necessary inner awareness.

"You don't know what you don't know" is not a bad motto to live by. Ignorance has saved me many times in my life. But that's not the only path to success. Knowledge is a good thing as well. Knowing what you're passionate about, knowing what you like or don't like, knowing what motivates you or what drives you -- and that it isn't necessarily money, though that's nice to have -- knowing that you'll move past the setbacks, knowing that you can believe in yourself, knowing that competition is good, knowing that you can handle critique or rejection, knowing how to surround yourself with love, knowing how to nurture your artist self, knowing that your artist self needs to be nurtured, etc.

This is about the B.I.K.E. It's about finding your Best self, your Inner strength, that Killer instinct, and being able to use your Expressive voice to get what you now know you need. The lessons in Cameron's book mirrors the lessons I learned from the seat of my bike. They're so closely matched, it's why I connect so well with Cameron's work.

I know what she teaches works. With all my heart, I know that if you gain that insight, that inner awareness about what makes you tick, you will grow your business. You will be naturally directed to the things you need to do, toward the work that gives you joy, to the life that helps you fill the well, and you will prosper in ways that have more to do with your spirit self than your financial self. And, yet, your financial wealth will grow as well. Just give it time. Give yourself time to trust yourself, to learn to trust your better judgment, to go where your heart takes you.

Last week's work was really difficult. I faced some demons that made me take action I'm still not sure will give me results I'd like. But I'm sure I needed to take the action. It was a start. I did think it was funny how the chapter about self-protection made me feel the least protected. But then, thankfully, Chapter 11 changed things back around and led me back toward a more peaceful feeling.

About recovering a sense of autonomy, it focused on something I'm pretty good at: understanding the importance of self-nurturing (Note, I didn't say doing, which is why I still need this book. Ha!) and accepting that I am an artist. I do accept that. I do know it's all I have, in terms of any talent. So I HAVE to be good at this. Pure and simple, I do believe that I am an artist, that writing is the skill I've been entrusted with by God, and that I can experiment with that skill in order to make the most of that skill. And I'm very open to that concept. Just like the book says, if I need to write a poem, I write the poem. I'm very open to whatever creative sparks occur. I go with them. I am happiest when I follow the natural currents. And I'm okay if I do it poorly. I love the rewriting process. Or I'm okay with trashing something that just doesn't work. I am not afraid of what's next. I know something will take it's place. I will write again, or I will write something else. This is also good reason to continue reading The Artist's Way and reminding myself to "fill the well." This chapter reminded me that I am where I need to be.

That reminder alone is worth reading the entire book. I am where I need to be. Can you say that about yourself? If not, what will lead you to that conclusion? Let me tell you, it's a very self-empowering conclusion to reach.

What thrilled me even more was the section on exercise. For me, THE BIKE LADY, the woman who waxes poetic about the benefits of moving meditation, just as Cameron does here in Chapter 11, I was thrilled to see that I naturally gravitated toward this when I needed it most. I still do. When I'm stressed, I walk or I ride. When I have difficulty coming up with a solution to a challege, I walk or I ride. I pray in my car -- it's moving. I do very much believe in the zen that occurs during time alone on the bike. It's why I prefer doing my exercise alone. I can be with my thoughts, and I can solve world peace -- all in the space of an hour. All kidding aside, this chapter gave my blog here some credibility. And that felt damn good!

I particularly struck by these words in the book...Exercise moves us from:

"stagnation to inspiration, from problem to solution, from self-pity to self-respect."

Yes! I am in total agreement with her line there. Total agreement. I experienced that myself during my three-year bike ride away from a life with a man who was spiritually killing me.

I like the idea of an artist's altar and have had one in various forms over the years. At the moment, I do not. But I'm going to reconnect with that in the days ahead, as I begin to reorganize the way I work in my personal space. In other words, I think it's time to clean out the office once again!

This week, I wrote in the Morning Pages every day. I took my Artist Date like a good little girl, writing limericks in response to a page I read in a magazine, and I spent time on Chapter 10's exercises. I have work yet to do for Chapter 11, and they look like fun. Don't forget! The beauty of this book is that you can continue to do the chapter exercises. Just pick a few to work on a weekly basis, and you will continue to see the inner growth that's going to continue unblocking or releasing your creativity.

I pretty consistently run into this. This week, it just happened to be the exercise portion of the chapter and realizing how that relates to my work here. It led me to buy Jeff Herman's book about finding agents and publishers, as recommended by an agent to me last year. It took me more than six months to follow this gentleman's advice. So it was funny to see that happen, to see myself drawn to that particular book this year, this weekend, in fact. I see that as a recommitment to make my B.I.K.E. book happen, perhaps in 2011. I believe in timing, and I trust in the project, but I see no reason to birth the book till it's time. This is a project that can't be forced.

Oh my, did I have significant insights this week! The biggest one had to do with self-sabotage and the positive results I am seeing simply from awareness alone. It's something I've had to deal with all my life. Usually a very sneaky demon, I haven't always caught it in time. But I see myself healing from it, and that makes me very happy with myself.

Experimenting with the BLASTING THROUGH THE BLOCKS exercise from Chapter 9, I was also able to move past a personal hurdle in my life, which was significant for me. I am going to use that exercise more often, as I found it quite useful and helpful. I also did THE DEADLIES exercise from Chapter 10. Surprisingly, "food" kept coming up as an issue for me, something I don't see as reality, but it is going to be something I watch for in the future. I suppose it is a problem that I can go for hours without eating when I'm in writing mode. I can go all day without eating anything, in fact. I think that's probably why I don't lose weight, even though I exercise regularly. My metabolism has slowed down. So I'm going to watch that and work on creating a better eating habit during the day. I'm not a big eater, and I don't snack much at all, so this will be a challenge for me. But I am now fully aware of it, and will take action to correct it.

Creativity, after all, requires action, as we learn in Chapter 11, and I'm good at that.

How about you? What have been some of the most significant lessons you've learned and tackled in your work with Cameron's book so far. We have one more week left. So be sure to read Chapater 12. I'm hoping you'll want to post some overall thoughts about the book in Week 14.

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.

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