“I am not an angel,’ I asserted; ‘and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself. Mr. Rochester, you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me – for you will not get it, any more than I shall get it of you: which I do not at all anticipate.” ~ Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
Anton Chekhov once said: “If you want to work on your art, work on your life”. Julia Cameron, replies in her book The Artist’s Way, “that’s another way of saying that in order to have self-expression , we must first have a self to express!”
Week 4, in the Artist Way is all about recovering our sense of integrity. I have always considered myself a person of integrity, however, have I always been honest with myself, my feelings, and how I express them? No! In fact, for over 2 decades I have ignored my feelings, ignored my wants, my dreams, my creativity.
Yes, months before I started reading this book again, and going through the motions of weekly tasks and morning pages, I discovered, as I stated in last week’s post, The Artist’s Way Towards Empowerment, the process has already started!
More than ever this week, I was resisting the morning pages. Doing them was felt like cleaning a dirty toilet, and scrubbing the kitchen floor: Nasty, strenuous and ick! Why? I do not know. Writing is fun for me usually, avoiding writing probably means I am afraid of what is going to come out. What hides in this mind and spirit of mine. Yesterday, I wrote about my anger and taking the time to dig out the pain behind it. (you can find the post here)
Is that why I resist you so?
Julia writes on page 90:
“ Over a considerable period of time, the morning pages perform spiritual chiropractic. They realign our values. If we are to the left or the right of our personal truth, the pages will point out the need for a course adjustment. We will become aware of our drift and correct it – if only to hush the pages up”.
If you are just joining me on this Artist Way journey, morning pages are a ritual you do every day. The best way, according to Cameron, is to set your alarm clock a half an hour early take out a pen and just write what comes to mind. e.i. “Oh God I have to do tons of laundry today, will it ever end?, I am feeling so frustrated with all these chores I want to scream!! Can’t anyone else do something around here?” Writing these odds and ends often leads to free writing, and free writing is an amazing tool to discover what is really going on inside that person you are!
I adjust the way I do my pages to suit my needs, but I do try to do them (when I do, just as I get up, between morning coffees). I will not lie, I do check my emails and Facebook first.
Lets get back to the subject of integrity and how all this ties together.
According to the Online Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. Integrity was the #1 word of 2005 (interesting tid-bit of information). Its definition is as follows:
A. integrity (noun)
1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values :incorruptibility
2 : an unimpaired condition : soundness
3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided :completeness
My core values, my wants, and my feelings then, are my integrity. If I look at the definition to me, integrity means I follow what I believe in, trust in; more importantly I am honest with myself, and allow my authenticity to show. I wear the clothes which allow me to express myself, and throw out the clothes I hate. I rid myself of all the things which hinder my progress. If I am a person of integrity when I can speak my truth with confidence, and then on the fun side:
- Go out and take pictures
- Write often, write my morning pages, posts: to the best of my ability;
- Laugh, play and dance
- Paint, paint, paint
- Listen to my favorite music
- Go out by the water
- Research anything online (I love research);
- Watch my favorite movies, drink coffee in my sacred cup, play in my journals… etc.. etc..
I think we have a good picture of what personal integrity means to me, thus, bringing out what I love, brings out my personal power, which in turn brings out my integrity.
Following what I love to do and Eff’ the rest!
As I say hello to my authentic self. She is bright, funny, creative, loving, warm yet she can be very passionate, irritable, self-righteous, crazy and wild. All those things are adjectives to accept and love within myself, bringing out the artist in me. I am in good hands now, and I see and hear the “self” I have to express. “She (me) has done it for 7 months now.”
If you find yourself with bursts of spontaneous singing, dancing and running, know that you too, are reaching the skies of expression,and as you let go of what doesn’t serve you anymore you embrace the things which make your creative self explode brilliant colors of light.
Off to continue those darn, ahem, lovely morning pages!
Next week: Possibility!
Tell me, in the comment section below, tell me, what does integrity mean to you? Do you feel those around you have integrity, how about yourself?