Riding the Dragon: Check-in Week 8

This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Artist’s Way at Work: Riding the Dragon. The responses are self-examinations and assessments based on work through a daily series of exercises. While I do keep some material offline as it can be very personal and jarring, I often opt to be fairly open about my experiences, both positive and negative.

1. Who am I? What are my group affiliations?
Self Portrait in Two Mirrors

I am a strong, independent priestess. I am a writer. I am a witch. I am an herbalist that needs to formalize my knowledge. I am an organizer – and a damn good one, albeit relatively unsung at the moment. I am the person who knows how to say no and when to say yes. I am a journalist – because that will never end. I am meant, at some point, to be a sociologist. It’s what I know I should have done coming out of high school but I allowed my family’s fucked up worldview to lead me astray from my truth. Besides, what the hell is wrong with being a social worker?

2. Morning pages – I did them. This week focusing more on purging family dynamics memories. I believe this is related to the work I’m doing, because the screwed up family patterns may explain my struggles with work and organization politics. Studying up this year on female social violence has also proved invaluable, and made hanging out at a local pub once a week a lot more pleasant for me (because I can shut that shit down RIGHT NOW without being mean.)

By recognizing how the patterns of how silence and unspoken rules fall – and why that’s bad – I can break unspoken rules and get something more productive and healthy from my interactions. I ended up with the rebel slot despite trying to please and support my family because I broke the unspoken rules. All those unspoken rules led to me +purdah, so having my family hate me and treat me like dirt is unsurprising, but worth the price of getting the fuck away from that. It also explains why most of what I deal with now is people demanding my silence – there’s really nothing I do that sets anyone off beyond expressing an opinion. Which means I’m breaking things that need to be broken.

I also realized that I in terms of group dynamics, I am the de facto scapegoat and mirror, but most people tell themselves they see me as the leader/charmer or some variation of organizer. On a subconscious level, some individuals assume “having things in common” means that a person is a reflection of themselves. Frankly, after a childhood with people constantly trying to force me to conform to some screwed up image of themselves, I don’t respond well to interactions where people talk ONLY about themselves and their interests. It’s possible to bore me with things I actually like that way. I do think that I can certainly be the actual leader/organizer, now that I know where these patterns and “silent rules” come from and I know that they can all be broken, mostly by the simple act of saying something.

3. My time-outs have been a bit lame of late. I need to do another one soon.

4. I have noticed changes in my group interactions, and I have a new opportunity in that a recurring interaction has appeared again. The people I’m working with are trying to do some overt manipulation, and I’ve been mistaken in trying to tell them “why no.” What I need to do is have them explain to me “Why yes.” I’m pretty sure that enthusiasm has overridden consideration for logistics.

5. I could do better with self-care and time-outs. I tried doing a back to back at the gym last night and almost passed out during yoga. Qigong was worked in, and it happened after that. So while it could be dehydration, it could be a Qigong thing or breathing wrong or something. Still, making sure I hit the gym, but I need to get back on my weekly program of skin buffing, facials and hot oil treatments. They really do make a visible difference.