I started Julia Cameron’s 12 week program, The Artist’s Way, about 8 weeks ago. It’s my third time in the past 9 years doing the program. I first learned about the Artist’s Way from my cousin Erica Reitman about 20 years ago when we both moved to California. My cousin was doing it with a local group and I saw something shift in her that was truly remarkable. A friend of mine recommended it many years later, several months before I got married, in 2010.
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I decided to give The Artist’s Way a go and within days I was completely hooked. If you’re not familiar with the program, it’s a 12 week program all described in a book that Julia Cameron wrote over 20 years ago and has sold millions of copies all over the world. The basis of the program is to write morning pages (3 pages of free consciousness writing every morning,) artist dates once a week and simple tasks separated by weeks that coincide with a theme.
You can purchase the book here
I have done many self help workshops over the years and read a ton of books. I am a firm believer in doing “the work,” whatever that looks like, to live our best lives. Of all the things I’ve ever done, nothing has been quite as effective and life changing as The Artist’s Way. It is the reason I started blogging over 8 years ago. The idea came to me in my morning pages and thankfully, I listened.
There is something truly therapeutic and downright magical about writing morning pages. Ev, my husband, calls them my magic pages. Whenever we want something to happen, I write about it our my morning pages and before we know it, there it is. Now, of course I don’t mean I just sit around waiting for things to happen. If you know me or follow my work, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I am always working on something. Having said that, there is definitely this sort of synchronistic force that exists when you put your heart on the page and just let things flow from their.
Now, 9 years or so later after my first Artist’s Way, and about 4 years after my second, I am so thrilled to be doing it yet again. I’m about 8 weeks in, though just starting chapter 6. I’m doing it with three girlfriends and we allow ourselves some extra time here and there when we’re behind on a chapter. I have to say, I’m not as diligent on the tasks and artists dates as the morning pages, but I’m working on it. The morning pages are a non negotiable. I haven’t missed a day in 8 weeks. They have become so important in my daily grounding that the idea of not doing them is really uncomfortable. The artist dates are interesting…
The idea of the artist dates are to do one thing each week just for you that you might love. So an example might be going for a hike, taking a pottery class, or visiting a museum. Can you guess where these pics are from? My most recent artist date was a trip with my new camera to The Broad.
Other dates I’ve taken have been to Soulcycle, a long walk around a new neighborhood, the movies to see Amy Schumer’s “I feel Pretty,” twice, hanging in Culver City/the beach for the day and a pottery class. I find that doing the artist dates lifts my spirits more than anything, yet I struggle with planning them and making them a priority. What’s with that? Maybe if I say them here I will make them more of a commitment. I’d like to go on a hike, visit LACMA with my camera, go to Santa Barbara for a day, take an art class, and do an overnight with my fam to Portland. Not sure if the family one counts but I really want to do it so I guess it does.
If you haven’t been to The Broad, I highly recommend it. Here’s to treating ourselves to the things that lift our spirits. xo, Meri