Riding the Dragon: My 10 Core Values

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. SPEAK the truth. I consider silence the most poisonous substance of all. The following poisons of the mind include belittlement, assumption and screaming/hysteria.
  2. Find a new way. This isn’t new for the sake of new – there are some “old” ways that really work. However, there are new ways to relate. Women don’t need to fall back on beehive stereotypes or “the office bitch” and men don’t need to play into the power-over game. It is possible to recognize the negative behaviors, but not to just “accept them as human.” It is possible to address them and try out new methods of relating and communicating.
  3. Imagination must be given a place; left unattended, it is applied negatively. Everyone needs a place in their life to be imaginative. Otherwise, they begin imagining things about each other, and they’re inclined to believe negative things/the worst about people, and over time take what they’ve imagined as the truth. “That woman thinks…” is dangerous, especially if the woman has never said “I think x,” like has been cast onto her.
  4. Work in short bursts. It’s better for your brain.
  5. Physical activity makes a better writer, healthier body and happier person.
  6. Dieting/food shame/calorie counting makes for a miserable human being and a really boring conversation partner.
  7. Upcycle, recycle, procycle – the expense/effort involved in repurposing items is worth it, even if I don’t see an immediate profit offset.
  8. The only truly valuable thing to collect in this world is information. All materials should be moved on sooner or later.
  9. You have no right to make plans for someone else’s future; the minute a child turns 18, you no longer have the right to make decisions for that person. You can certainly plan with that person, and go over it with their consent. But our own future is the most sacrosanct possession we have, where the manifestation of our free will lives. To try to decide “my child will be —” or “my secretary will spend x years here,” is to help yourself to someone else’s life in a horrifyingly negative way.
  10. Know the difference between sharing the dark parts of yourself so people can help you if they truly want to, and using it to manipulate others and drag them off their own paths. At first such sharing looks very similar, but the latter tends to lead to outbursts and drama when that other person helping continues with his/her own creative accomplishments.
  11. A bonus round: being positive is hard work. It’s easy to find things to bitch about and things to tear down. Positive people are builders, and building takes hard work.