This is part of my work in the Julia Cameron Artist’s Way series. The work this time is from the book the Sound of Paper. 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.
The exercise is the “slice of life pie.” No one’s life will ever be perfectly round and satisfying – we can get our inner lives worked out, but we will constantly have weather and environments shared with people who may not recognize that they have to work from the inside out (and may be unwilling to learn how.) My pie does look quite a bit wider than it used to, but every area needs a little bit of examination.
I’m going to look on the friendships section. Why? Because it’s the area I have the absolute least control over. I can do everything “right” and still end up disappointed and hurt; at the same time, because it is what it is, I can be awful to some people who forgive me and love me anyway. You can’t help who you love, even on the friendship level. But you can help HOW you love.
10 small things I can do:
- Show up more – a lot of things slid in 2006 when I started working from home. I really truly did not have the money to go out, and my constant health issues – much more than just sneezing at a cat – got debilitating. So I withdrew from normal socializing. This has only started to improve around 2010. Transportation still poses something of a problem, especially as the local coffee shop I can stand is two miles away (fine for a brisk walk, not fine for lugging 20-30 pounds of work material) and does not fall on a direct bus line.
- Schedule daily time for social media. Even people who claim they do not care about that stuff actually kind of do; it also helps me develop friendships in ways I might otherwise not be able to. It only takes an hour a day to know what’s going on with others and to let them know you care. It’s not physical, but that energy matters.
- Continue to cultivate my communication skills and emotional intelligence reading. It helps me sidestep unnecessary conflicts.
- Continue to cultivate my inner life.
- Keep going to the Shamanitrance stuff. I genuinely connect with other attendees in a way I haven’t gotten to in other ways.
- Know my formula: I feel connected after once a month face to face visits with online/text interaction in between.
- Find a writing group that fits both my genre and my schedule.
- Use the rule of 3 I did in high school: if 3 invites are refused, stop trying.
- Try taking the bus to the Dunn Brothers at the edge of Downtown. Do this once a week, twice in good weather.
- Say yes whenever it’s possible to say yes, but honor my need for space and recharge time.