The following entry is an exercise from Julia Cameron’s work The Prosperous Heart: Creating a Life of Enough.
It might make for uncomfortable reading.
Often what follows, as a course of the exercise, is personal – sometimes jarringly so. I prefer to aim for as much openness as possible about my past, about my family dysfunction, and about my current health and emotional challenges now. My present as I write this is quite stable, but my past is something of a lingering disease – and there is the possibility that the lingering disease may actually be literal, rather than metaphorical. Money is more taboo to discuss than even sex, sexual violence, or misogyny from populations as suppressed and oppressed as women. What is silenced most of all are the later in life protests of the targets of emotional and physical abuses – “get over it” is in fact “shut up about it,” because shutting up preserves the abuser’s power by ensuring that that person will never be held accountable – that’s what silence does. This also creates a situation where the target’s silence contributes to the abuser’s ability to persuade herself or himself that the behavior “wasn’t that bad” thus enabling that person to seek a high by abusing another day, whether that’s a person or a substance. While it is not the case for everyone, the work I do via Julia Cameron’s projects brings out these memories and maladies – and the scream breaks the spell.
There is also a very positive side to this work for me in that I am a stronger, better committed writer. I plunge into this work as one path to total healing. Most people just want to get working on their art. It works for that – just remember to forgive yourself for what you do to yourself, and stay accountable for what you do to others. That’s really the simplest way to function.
I started reading/working the Prosperous Heart yesterday, and I’ve already noticed a marked difference between this book and Julia Cameron’s previous works. Rather than recommending an Artist’s Date as a primary tool, she recommends taking two time-outs per day. The point is just to break what you’re doing, and I’ve used both for meditating, since it’s already part of my personal daily practice. I’m terrible about taking the long walks, not really sure on why – I think it’s just that I don’t like to stop working when I already know there are points in the day when I HAVE to stop working. I will ask about this if I get a chance – I’m guessing that the absence of Artist’s Date is to get people connected to feeling good/grounded without the high that comes from spending money.
I’m going to continue anyway. My inner well is running dry, it’s one way I know I can get a walk in, and with all the medical appointments lately I need to get some fresh visuals built up in my head to get through them.