Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Soul-o Artist Date

A key component to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is going on artist dates. Julia says, “You will do this every week for the duration of the course.” She recommends that you set aside 2 hours each week and be, “committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.” She describes artist dates as excursions or play dates that you, “preplan and defend against all interloopers.” And they’re solo – you don’t take anyone with you except your inner artist child. Julia says, “You are likely to find yourself avoiding your artist dates. Recognize this resistance as a fear of intimacy – self-intimacy.”  

While I may have been avoiding the type of solo artist dates Julia Cameron recommends, I have been having dates with my inner child, my soul. For the first time in my life I am finally being present with myself and my emotions. I have been steeped in self-intimacy… self in-to-me-see. 

Marcella (age 3) with her Father on the Oregon Coast
A few months ago I learned that my father is no longer living, but I didn’t know when or how he died. Recently a long-lost family member confirmed that 9 years ago my father lost his battle with lung cancer that spread to his brain. Since learning the details of my his death I have been overwhelmed with grief, anger, and regret.  

My parents separated when I was 4 years old. Over the years my father and I corresponded a few times through letters. But for the most part, he was not in my life. My step-father is the man who raised me. My last correspondence with my father was 15 years ago – 6 years before he died.  

In an effort to be strong and move forward with my life after my parent’s separation, I wore a mask. I pretended to be okay when really I was deeply hurting. I have spent nearly all my life numbing, stuffing, and when all else failed, distracting myself from the emotional pain of feeling abandoned as a child and the resulting, false, belief that I was unlovable. Like a recovering addict, who used to drink or drug to numb their pain, I can’t out-run it anymore. I have to be with my pain if I’m going to heal. 

These days it takes almost all my energy just go to work, much less go on a solo artist date. But this past weekend I had a date with my soul. It was a weekend of self-nurturing. In between bouts of crying, I wrote my pages and allowed myself to rest.  

When my husband went out with friends Saturday night, I stayed in. I re-watched Katy Perry’s documentary, Part of Me. I feel like I can relate to Katy in that her upbringing, being raised by Pentecostal Christian Ministers, shaped her, but it does not define her. She lives her life, and manages her career, on her terms. I love that about her! And that she writes awesome song lyrics. 

Through learning of my father’s death, I am having a rebirth. I am realizing that I am the person I am today because of who my father was, or wasn’t. His absence inspired me to pursue a journey of self-discovery. I have always been wondering and searching for the truth of who I am and the meaning of the life I live. In his small way, he played a large role in influencing the choices I made that led me to being a spiritual seeker and onto an artistic path.  

I’m still hurting. My father died. But I’m grateful that through my soul-o artist date, I have found gratitude that my father was the man he was, so that I could become the woman I am, living The Artist’s Way. 

Until my next post, I leave you with a portion of the lyrics from Katy Perry’s song Part of Me: 

This is the part of me
 That you're never gonna ever take away from me, no
…you let me down
 But that was then and this is now,
…Now look at me I'm sparkling
 A firework, a dancing flame
 You won't ever put me out again
 I'm glowin' oh whoa
…But you're not gonna break my soul, this is the part of me
 That you're never gonna ever take away from me, no.

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