Week 6 of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is all about recovering a sense of abundance. As artists, it is easy to be influenced by the popular stereotype of the tortured, starving artist. Cameron suggests that this is a misleading image based upon faulty notions about God and the nature of the universe. If one actually looks at creation, one notices that “there is not one pink flower, or even fifty pink flowers, but hundreds. Snowflakes, of course, are the ultimate exercise in sheer creative glee. No two alike. This creator looks suspiciously like someone who just might send us support for our creative ventures” (Cameron, 2002, p. 107).
If we release our faulty notions of a crotchety, killjoy God and a stingy universe, we open ourselves up to the reality of an abundant universe with unlimited options and potentialities. A good way for artists to acknowledge the reality of abundance is by indulging in a little luxury. And before you cry “Budget!” or, God forbid, “Recession!!”, Cameron reminds us that creative luxury has nothing to do with cash, cars, or vacations. Authentic luxury is about expansion and self care: “What gives us true joy? That is the question to ask concerning luxury, and for each of us the answer is different” (Cameron, 2002, p. 110).
When we treat ourselves with a sense of respect and care, we replenish our creative reserves. The things that truly give us joy tend to be quite simple – a vase of fresh flowers, a stick of incense, a scoop of ice cream at a real ice cream parlor, etc. I, for instance, bought a candle at Michael’s for $1.00. It smells wonderful and it is only for me.
As we begin to align our behavior with our values, it shows up in how we spend our time and money. In fact, one of the exercises this week was to chart your every expense – not as a budget exercise, but for observation’s sake. Cameron notes that we often waste money on things that are not truly important. Then we claim we have no money for the things that promote our artistic endeavors. The exercise helps us identify these potential areas so we begin to realign our spending with our values.
This week definitely taught me that flow creates flow. The general abundance I have felt has spilled over into other areas. Not only have I been having wonderful artistic experiences, but other areas of my life are blossoming beyond my wildest expectations. I encourage all artists to recover a sense of abundance!
Now, go follow your bliss…
Cameron, J. (2002). The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity. Penguin Putnam Inc.: New York.