A Sense of Autonomy

Do you find yourself getting derailed during this busy time of year? It seems as though demands on our time rise exponentially between Thanksgiving and New Year. Parties, shopping, wrapping, sending cards, baking cookies. No offense, guys, but much of the burden falls on women.

10-Tips-for-a-Stress-Free-HolidayI decided long ago not to get caught up in doing things I don’t enjoy just because they were expected of me as a woman. I don’t bake dozens of cookies, and I send a minimal number of cards, just to name two examples. This makes me a bit of an oddball in social circles, and I’ve noticed our party invitations have dropped off in the past few years. I miss the interaction with friends and neighbors, even though I always have that awkward sense of not fitting in with the crowd.

In Chapter eleven of The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron writes about the artist’s temperament in a way I found myself relating to. If I’m not creating (which for me means writing), I am out of sorts, restless, crabby. If I’m trying to conform to the expectations of others, I feel stifled and phony.

Claiming, or reclaiming, a sense of autonomy is essential for creative expansion. Twelve weeks ago, one week before starting The Artist’s Way, I set up an expectation for myself to write a weekly blog about each chapter of the book and my insights from it. Honesty compels me to admit that I am struggling to complete that commitment in the midst of all the holiday busyness.

There is so much more that I could write about on this chapter and all of the others before it, but here is what is resonating with me today:

  1. As an artist, be yourself and don’t be afraid to be a little “odd.”
  2. Live up to your own expectations.
  3. It’s okay to ease up on your expectations occasionally.
  4. Guard your space, physical and emotional space, that you carve out for your art.
  5. As a minimum, cling to your morning pages as a lifeline to your creative self.
  6. Buy your artist child a present.

I wish you all whatever fills your heart with joy.

And if there is anyone reading this for whom this is not a season of joy–I see you, too–and wish you peace.


3 thoughts on “A Sense of Autonomy

  1. Thank you for sharing you thoughts and insights during your twelve week journey. Commenting on your list from this weeks chapter:

    1. I’ve always accepted myself as slightly off mainstream and I like me.
    2. Living up to my own expectations. Now that’s a tough one. Something to work on.
    3. Cut myself some slack…I’ve been doing this more often and let me tell you, it feels really good when I do. (highly recommended!)
    4. Definitely need to work on that one. My space is in the kitchen…soon to be moved to my own space. (yay!)
    5. Uh…morning pages…right. I’m thinking about them. Does that count?
    6. My artist child is spoiled rotten. I think she needs less stuff and more emotional support and guidance. More #3 and self-esteem boosters.

    For those of you finding it difficult during the holiday season, try to connect with one person. Just one. Standing in line at the grocery store or where ever you encounter people. Say anything really. If you communicate, they will most likely communicate back. You’ve made a connection with another human being. However brief. As an introvert, it’s quite refreshing for me and makes me smile. All those years of keeping to myself in public, I’ve finally started to come out of my shell and it’s really not so bad out there. 🙂 (ok. probably off topic but it was on my mind. I’m see strangers in my community in a whole new light.)

    • Great insights, Jill. I love your thought on connecting with one person. It is such a good feeling to make someone smile.

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