I asked Leslee, my accountability partner and friend throughout our Artist Way journey to write about her experiences this past summer with our 12 week program. We took little breaks here and there and are about to Skype this week to do the week 8 check-in. I am so happy she agreed because I love her writing and am anxiously awaiting along with her to see her books in print.
What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.— Julia Cameron
I think it was around 2007 when I first discovered The Artist’s Way. I had just begun writing novels and I needed something to encourage my creativity. My attempt at the twelve week program looked more like this: I devoured the book in about two days and carried on a ritual of writing morning pages for about a year. After the first read of Julia Cameron’s book, I didn’t get very far into actually doing the exercises. I simply couldn’t take it slow and easy because all of it spoke to me. I needed to “recover” all of it and I wanted it right then, not in twelve weeks. Because of my impatience, I didn’t really take the time to recover before I was on to the next thing.
This summer I felt the nudge to pick up The Artist’s Way again and actually give the twelve weeks a go for real. I didn’t allow myself to read ahead in the book this time, I just went week by week. What I have discovered is that even without completing the program five years ago, in a lot of ways I have recovered.
You see I have been practicing my craft. I’ve actually written three novels since that first attempt. I have a lot more ideas for novels I plan to write. I have a lot of faith in my process and know that though I am not currently writing creatively, my ideas are brewing and with divine guidance and timing they will come out.
There is one area of recovery that I’ve hit a wall with this time. It has seemingly been my theme for the summer as I await responses from editors on one of the books I’ve written. What seems to be the most difficult for me to obtain and hold onto is a sense of abundance. The truth is I want a prosperous career as a writer. I want to author a book series that makes the best sellers’ list. I want kids lining up for the midnight showings of the movies made from my books. That is my dream. That is my vision, if not for the underlying belief I uncovered during week 6 of The Artist’s Way.
I unconsciously have been equating wealth with immorality.
One day I was sharing a story about our trip to London last summer and I found myself unable to tell the story without first saying how the only reason we were able to go to London was because my husband had work there and his plane ticket as well as our lodging was paid for. I didn’t dare want anyone to think that we had such an extravagant life that we could just pick up and travel to another country.
And to be honest I do this, and have always done this, with almost everything. When I was a teen my dad bought a really old Mercedes that he let me drive sometimes. I always made sure that people knew how old it was and that it hadn’t been expensive. When I buy new clothes I always add that the clothes were on sale or perhaps I had a gift card. When I talk about our Disney World vacations I always mention that Florida residents get great deals, lest anyone think I can actually afford it without the special price.
The first time I heard the song “Billionaire” by Bruno Mars it literally made me angry. I remember thinking it was a horrible message to send to kids. I’ve even written blog posts about how money isn’t what’s important. And when I first heard the song “It Ain’t About the Money” I proudly posted it on my Facebook page. I have made certain to separate myself from the rich people, while managing still to live very comfortably (but NOT extravagantly).
So as I have been “recovering a sense of abundance,” I am seeing how detrimental my attitude has been for my own prosperity. I have put a limit on what I am willing to accept from the Universe, and thus have limited what I am able to give. My biggest lesson this summer has been to tear down these blocks and accept that abundance is a natural state. As I am rewarded for my creative gifts, I can and will pass those rewards on to others. If I prosper monetarily, I will be able to do the charitable and loving acts that I only dream about now. There is nothing immoral about it…that belief has no place here anymore!
Leslee Horner is an author, blogger, and artist. She is currently working on a Young Adult novel series about a girl who flashes back to previous reincarnations that all have two things in common, true love and death. When Leslee is not writing she’s creating art or spending time with her husband and two young daughters. You can learn more about Leslee at www.lesleehorner.com.