Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Hard Questions

What do I want to be?  And where did the day go?
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is a book I was familiar with from my days as a writer.  I bought the book many years ago but never did the morning pages or any of the exercises that are supposed to help you get unblocked and become more creative.  Last week I checked it out of the library.

Since being laid off from my day job in early December, I've struggled with the most difficult of questions:  "What am I going to do with the rest of my life?"  Having been a capable mainframe programmer and database administrator, I am now obsolete.  For the second time in my career.  I need to work for another 15 years, but I'm not sure I want to jump in to the technology pool and try it again.

This morning, I wrote my three morning pages as required by the book The Artist's Way despite my writing hand alternating between falling asleep and cramps.  Writing the pages by hand puts you in touch with your subconscious mind.  You aren't supposed to edit your words or think too much about what you want to say because it's supposed to be a stream of consciousness thing.  With morning pages, it doesn't matter what you write, as long as you write three pages fast.  There are exercises for each week (12 weeks in all) that I haven't started yet, but I have read them and they are in the back of my mind.  The focus of the first week is "Recovering a sense of safety"; what attitudes and core beliefs might be hindering my inner artist child from feeling safe.  Like when a parent has said, "You can't make a living as a writer; you need a REAL job to pay the bills!"

A REAL job.

When I think back on my work life over the past 12 years, I know I started out happy and effective and full of positive energy.  I'm an oldest child and was always the star performer, especially at work.  I'm not sure when that changed.  In the past couple of years, I had become moody, frustrated, jealous, angry, unhappy, abandoned.  My future prospects had gone down the drain with the mainframe computer. 

Yesterday I ran errands:  post office, library and bead store.  When I got to the post office, I discovered I had left the bills on the kitchen counter at home.  At the library, I picked up a book on chip carving for my Dad, and browsed through a few shelves for myself.  I picked out more books on marketing and crafting as a business.  My last errand was to get the 2011 midwest arts and craft fair guide which I expected to find at the local bead store.  They don't carry it, but I managed to find a couple of things I didn't know I needed instead.  I also chit-chatted with the clerk: what classes did she teach, where does she sell her jewelry, blah, blah, blah.

When did I become such an extrovert?  The clerk's eyes glazed over more than once. 
However, if I hadn't been in such a chatty mood, I wouldn't have learned that the store might need someone to teach a seed bead-weaving class this summer.  I left my card.  I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed teaching beading since I haven't done it for a few years.  Thinking about it today I realized a bracelet I designed would be the perfect project for a beginners class in Peyote stitch.

The Artist's Way has a subtitle that says "A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity." 

Maybe I'm on my way....


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