Going Sane

Week two of The Artist’s Way is about “recovering a sense of identity”. If that sounds a bit ambiguous to you, you’re not the only one. In reality, the chapter is more about recognizing the things that are poisoning your ability to take yourself seriously as an artist, and striking them from your life. The chapter talks about “poisonous playmates” (i.e. other artists who are having a rough time and bring you down with them because misery loves company) and “crazymakers” (i.e. those people in our lives who are terribly destructive and waste our time and energy with their selfish ways). All in all, the chapter encourages you to look for the things and people in your life that are selfishly keeping you from reaching your full potential, learn how to avoid their destructive ways, and use your newly-freed time and energy to focus on more important things, like your art.

The tasks for this week are based around paying more attention to yourself, to the things you want to do, the person you want to be, and the life you want to live. Because these tasks are a little personal in nature, I don’t really feel comfortable sharing them with the online world. That said, I thought I’d share one of the tasks that I think could be helpful to people in seeing what’s missing in their lives.

The task is called “Life Pie”. First, you draw a circle and divide it into six equal pie pieces. Next, on each of the pieces write one of the following:

Spirituality (for the godless of us, this can mean whatever you feel it means)

Once you have your pie pieces labeled, place a dot in each slice to represent how fulfilled you feel in that area of your life. Closer to the center of the circle means less fulfilled, and closer to the outside of the circle means more fulfilled. So, for instance, if you absolutely hate your job, draw a dot near the center of the circle on that pie piece. If you have a ton of wonderful friends, draw a dot near the outside of the circle on that pie piece. Once your done, connect the dots, going from one pie piece to the next until you have what will likely look like an extremely lop-sided six-point star, like this example:


The point of this exercise is to show yourself where you’re lacking. If you’ve got all work and no play, for example, you’re not well balanced. The pie pieces that represent the most unfulfilled parts of your life are places where you need to work harder to bring a steady state to your psyche.

The second part of the exercise, then, is to do little things to increase the “fulfillment” of the pie pieces that are lacking. If your “Play” piece is almost empty, find something fun to do in your spare time. If your “Exercise” piece is lacking, take yourself for a walk or take a trip to the local pool for a free swim. The key is to stop looking for huge amounts of free time and take whatever you can get to do little things that make you happier.

Without actually sharing it, I can tell you that my pie is horribly lopsided. There are a few full pie pieces, and there are a few nearly-empty ones. Knowing that, I hope to bring a bit of balance, if I can.

How about you? Is your pie balanced, or does it look like a misshapen spider? Did the pie help you realize what is missing in your life? What do you plan to do about it? Please share!

30 Days of Truth – Day 30

A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

Dammit, there’s that word “love” again. Didn’t I already explain in one of these how there aren’t many things that I love about myself? Not to sound all self-loathing or anything, it’s just that I don’t think the word “love” expresses how I feel about myself. So let’s just tone it down a bit, okay?

I like my eyes. They’re nothing overly special, and the color has changed over time to a duller, less interesting shade, but I still like them. I think they’re my prettiest feature.

Staying on the physical side of things, I also like my shoulders/upper back. Maybe a strange choice, but this area of my body seems to be the one area that refuses to gather fat. No matter what weight I’m at during any given time, I always find that my shoulders and upper back look great. Call me nuts, but I just think so!

I like the way I make my daughter’s day just by filling a bottle with juice or splashing her while she’s in the tub. On a similar note I like how I can just sit down and play with blocks with her and feel completely content because playing with blocks with my daughter is awesome.

I like the way I write. Logically I know I’m not the best writer; I have some bad habits, and there are things I’ll never get used to (someone remind me again, what’s the difference between its and it’s?). But regardless, I personally like my own writing. I enjoy reading my own writing, and I think that’s a pretty important step to becoming an author, because if you don’t like your own writing, how can you expect other people to?

I’m going to stop with those four because they’re the things that come most immediately to mind, and I see no sense in sitting here all day trying to come up with what might be considered a decent-sized list. Let’s just say I like myself. I might not love myself, and I definitely have bad days sometimes when I almost hate myself, but in the end I do genuinely like myself, and I think that’s just fine.