Book: The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

A good book for Yoga and Creativity is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, whose life’s work has included many books and courses on unleashing creativity.  Her writing is empowering, speaking to all forms of creativity from the crafty to fine art to filmmaking to carpentry to whatever you’ve been secretly thinking about.  Very, very good for examining and removing blocks.

This book is organized into 12 chapters, for a 12 week workshop on creativity.

Lessons for Yogis (and creatives):

1) Julia introduces a powerful mindfulness practice: Morning Pages.  Basically, you fill three pages of paper with writing each morning… just recording whatever you’re thinking about.  No concern for grammar or even making sense.  By putting to the page your to-do’s, gossips, fears, and whatever else you usually find up there when you try to sit down and meditate, you can move on… on to creating or on to the mat!  Over time, you might see some patterns in your morning pages and come to appreciate them as meditation… acknowledge your thoughts, accept them, release them!

2) We can relinquish our ideas of being a tortured artist.  And of being a starving artist.  Creating doesn’t mean self-sacrifice.  We can examine what preconceived notions we have about whatever we are pursuing.  Functioning at our healthiest, and being the best version of ourselves we can be, will help us do our best work.  Yoga can be a great tool for finding that health and calmness.  I’d also suggest we look at what preconceived notions we have about practicing yoga…. we don’t have to be flexible, toned, serious, vegan, aloof, etc. etc….

3) It’s important to take action!  Take a small step!  As Julia has said in her blog, “Creativity requires action, and part of that action must be physical.”  We come up with so many ideas, but it’s important to begin, somewhere.  Repaint a piece of furniture.  See one small creative task from start to finish.  Julia continues, “we need to move out of the head and into a body of work. To do this, we must first of all move into the body.” Bring all that mindfulness we’ve been cultivating on the yoga mat to the hand with the paint brush, or to whatever task we begin.  One step at a time! 

I first discovered Julia Cameron during a rudderless time between media production jobs, and I have checked this book out of the Chapel Hill library, and maybe my branch of the Washington DC library, many, many times. Each time there’s something new.

I’ve got a copy of this book to lend — as well as another book of Cameron’s, The Right to Write.  I think I have the audiobook of The Artist’s Way on a few CD’s (!) if you’re in the area and would like to borrow them (and somehow have a way to play them…)

If you’re interested in a copy of your own, it’s now available as a paperback or for the kindle.  I’ve seen accompanying workbooks too – but you’ll probably want your own notebook!

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