The Artist's Way Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

Updated: Mar 18, 2021

Focusing on Change and Buried Dreams

 

During my working with The Artist's Way, I couldn't help but notice the morning pages were the place where each morning I was truly honest with myself. In the first twenty minutes of my day there was no time to turn on my brave face and plaster a smile to greet the world and my COVID-19 existence. One of the ways the morning pages had me processing my truth was through the clear way I was remembering my dreams and interpreting what they meant. Through a combination of intuitive dreams and spending time reflecting in my morning pages, I discovered there were relationships and friendships I was deeply dissatisfied with, I had lost hope in my career search and wasn't proud I was nannying and babysitting to make ends meet. I was losing touch with the part of myself that felt professional and talented in my field of work. My identity is so wrapped into my day job, I came to realize that because I was unhappy there, I couldn't be a good friend, daughter, sister, or community member. It was around week 4 that I was becoming more aware of my struggles connected to my lack of satisfying work but was not ready to make the moves necessary to face the problem and find solutions. My morning pages made one thing abundantly clear: without creativity as a driving force of my day job and without a sense of independence and autonomy; I was not going to find happiness in a new career. It was with this awareness that I completed the prompt to uncover my buried dreams.


Dreams I Have Buried:

  • Being involved in music through singing, dancing, or songwriting

  • Creating meaningful art through pottery, painting, art therapy, or other mediums

  • Connecting with my spirituality by completing a meditation or yoga certificate program

  • Learning how to create and promote my content through graphic design, writing, comedy, or video editing

  • Feeling comfortable in my own sexuality through taking burlesque classes or exploring boudoir/pin-up modeling

  • Getting comfortable sharing my story in front of a crowd by doing open mics, taking improv classes, or submitting my written work

  • Embracing my love for animals by looking into animal therapy, volunteering at shelters, or working in the veterinarian field

Once you allow yourself to write out the potential futures you have left behind for practicality sake, they become your only focus. When preparing for the media deprivation that occurs in Week 4, I thought about how I could incorporate these forgotten dreams without the distractions of the modern world.


My Media Deprivation Rules

 

When Julia Cameron first instituted the media deprivation into The Artist's Way and its practices, it was a reading deprivation. In the present, it has now been referred to as the media deprivation. I made my own rules for what was allowed and not allowed for the week.


My Cans

  1. I can use workout/mediation apps and videos as well as art instructional videos.

  2. I can write for my own creativity and then reread that work to edit it.

  3. I can listen to music to fill the silence.

  4. I can play the Nintendo Switch in 45-minute chunks of time to allow my brain an escape.

  5. I can continue to take part in my Discord channels for socializing.

  6. I can check texts at meals.

My Cannots

  1. I will not be listening to podcasts or audiobooks.

  2. I will not be streaming television or movies.

  3. I will not be reading physical or digital books.

  4. I will not allow myself to do any research for Penelope's book. I will first write and then find places to incorporate more familiar lore after the fact.

  5. No social media and the apps will be removed from my phone's home screen.

I was fairly successful with the media deprivation. I only checked Instagram once during the week when one of my favorite podcast host announced she was leaving social media. The media deprivation fell the same week as New Year's Eve so the Ball Drop was on mute at the small gathering I attended. Throughout the week I began this blog, started my manuscript for a children's book in earnest, and attempted to make a scarf for a friend. I also spent a lot of time on the phone speaking with family and friends. Without the distraction of social media, I was able to focus more on their stories and share with them how my process was going. I was fairly surprised by how easy the deprivation was to obtain even though I found it daunting due to me being off work for this week with no "schedule" to keep me busy. A rule I broke in earnest was the Nintendo Switch time limit. Towards the end of the week I found myself more and more tired by the brain work I was exhibiting towards my writing and keeping myself "entertained" without media. Therefore, I started to allow myself to stay on the device for longer periods of time. I may make this a tradition in January to start the new year with a media cleanse to see what other ideas emerge when I have the time to listen to my brain without distraction.


A Letter From My Future Self


 

Dear Natalie in Her 30's,


I (you) am eighty. After touring for twenty plus years with Penelope's children's series of books, the cartoon and eventual stage production, and the wild phenomenon that was your podcast, I have retired to a small cape town. I spent my early sixties having designers and architects bring to life a house that is the perfect blend of the Charmed house and the Practical Magic garden yard. When the house was under too much construction to be peaceful, I travelled. I revisited my favorite temples dedicated to meditation. I sipped coffee in Paris and ate good pasta in Italy. I connected with the power held in stone circles in Ireland. I talked to the ghosts in abandoned castles. I made frequent visits to the Tower of London in case Anne Boleyn had anything else to teach me. In short, I revisited all the places you loved once you let yourself explore the world. All this was made possible because you took the chance to believe in yourself and your art. You've always done things with outward ease, even if on the inside you felt chaotic and filled with nerves. But you eventually got to the point where you lived passionately. And because you know how to charm the coldest hearts, you had immense help, love, and support along the way. Never spend a day not basking in the victory of this life you created yourself. Love everyone around you with the openness and authenticity that is so magical in their eyes. Attune to that inner goddess within. You are her, you knew the entire time you had the key to unlimited power. You refused to not reap the rewards. Good for fucking you. And don't worry, there were so many lovers on all those travels and experiences. Find and allow yourself to fall in love often.


You did it and I Thank You,


Natalie Katona (Age 80)


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