Nothing like hopeful plans to turn things around.
My current normal, happy state of living was triggered six years ago by a series of events that brought me Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way. I worked the program and, as the friend who recommended it warned me, I was transformed.
A series of events I call The Dominoes was triggered, taking me through an adventure in personal growth via the written word to the life I (usually) live now. (A rather verbose way to try to say, "I read a lot of good stuff. And learned from it.")
In many ways I am not the person I was, just released to be the person I have always been.
I am not who I was, but not yet who I am.
I'm approaching a transition. Approaching retirement that will begin at a Masteryear. Now moving through a year that I've been warned will be a year of Liberation. (So far it has been and I have no doubt that will continue.)
I am driftwood. No sense of what's coming, trusting that it will be what's best for me. Ready to float with the water, absorbing as I flow around the boulders.
In this state, it occurred to me that it might be time to re-work The Artist's Way. I am sure my new perspective and perceptions would make it a totally new experience and might help me stay focused on the real world challenges I continue to meet. I pulled my highlighted, sticky-tabbed and margin-noted copy of the book and just skimmed the first few pages. Yep. Definitely a different read.
But I was going to need a new copy. In college I could never use the "used" books because I would be distracted by someone else's highlighting and margin notes. I can see that if I try to re-use this copy of The Artist's Way I will have the same problem. The old me - and her perspective - will keep the new one from getting what she needs.
Look what I found on the way to a new copy:
Synchronicity at its best.
A slightly altered program for those of us at this transition in our lives.
I'M SO EXCITED!
I already had my summer stack started. I started meditating in the mornings and reached a point where I wanted to learn more about the process. In the same week that I came to that conclusion I read Sara Bareilles' book, Sounds Like Me, and Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic, and both quoted Pema Chodron. When the Universe sends me a message like this, I gotta follow the advice (hasn't failed me in six years) so I picked up three of her books. I just finished Comfortable with Uncertainty and while I don't think I'll be buying into her teachings 100%, I am learning and looking forward to reading the other two I added to the summer stack.
In my lovely, local, independent bookstore (a rare treasure indeed) I got into a long conversation (that extended into the afterhours) with the owner during which we discovered that while we define our spirituality in different vocabulary, we both have the same gut-level belief system. Based on what we learned about each other, she gifted me with an autographed copy of Buddhist Boot Camp by Timber Hawkeye (and I bought his second book, Faithfully Religionless.) I've read the first selection of Buddhist Boot Camp and decided I was getting too much out of it to try to read it during the last insane month of school. (Hmmmm... or maybe this is EXACTLY what I should be reading?) .
I'm a fan of actress Kate Hudson, so picked up her book, Pretty Happy,
off the Costco bulk book table and was happily surprised to find that it
is the perfect addition to this next-step summer. It's also a
workshop-style read with a workbook element, similar to The Artist's Way. (Honest. Anyone who thinks they will "get" these books without working the exercises is nuts. Don't waste your money if you're not willing to spend some time with pencil and paper.)
I have the third of the Michael Newton soul books loaned to me by the SPED instructional aide who works in one of my classes. (Yeah, these last six years have brought me into some really weird stuff that just smells like truth.) Funny story: She had been in my class since September. She was assigned to a boy who was on spectrum and so severe that he SHOULD have been placed in a special ed class, but his parents insisted that he could do what the other kids do. So he was placed in my class with this aide, who was told to let him sink or swim so everyone could see if the parents were right. In short, the aide had nothing to do. Every day - EVERY DAY - ended the same. She would walk over to me and say, "I don't really know what I'm supposed to do here." THEN after the first report card they moved the kid to another teacher with a completely different (more regimented) teaching style to see if he could pass that class, but left the aide in my room. Our end-of-class conversation was even more dramatic because - REALLY? - we didn't know what she was supposed to be doing there. She just was there, every day, coming over to say, "I don't know why I'm here."
Then, one day I had my new daily planner out on my desk and she came over to ask about it. Turned out, she had been thinking of buying one by that designer, and did I mind if she took a look. She ended up buying one, and at least for a couple of weeks we had something to talk about. Talking about the planner and how we were using it led us into other interests. To make the story just a little shorter, it turned out that we are both in to weirdo spirituality stuff. Had absorbed a lot of the same books and come to the same conclusions.
At least we now understood what she was doing in my room. We were supposed to connect.
So, she loaned me her copy of Michael Newton's Life Between Lives (which I will have to return and get my own copy so I can highlight and sticky-tab) and somewhere around here is a slightly read copy of Michael (wow, look at all the Michaels) Talbot's The Holographic Universe to finish, as well as a shopping bag full of half-processed books including Lynn McTaggert's The Bond (read The Field and The Intention Experiment early in The Dominoes).
Part of my summer plan is to get myself a pair of dark lens reading glasses and a new beach chair and get myself as close to the sea as I can to catch up on my reading and writing. Our local library is another option; the closest thing we have to a resort around here and as a spa, the price is right.
But Julia is at the top of the list. I got back into Morning Pages a couple of months ago (I write directly after my fifteen-minute meditation sessions; wow, that added an interesting kick to those daily writings). But I never did perfect the Artist's Date and I pre-dated the walking element (hope my knee can handle it). There is a new memoir assignment that the archivist in me is already itching to enjoy.
Yes, back into my usual optimistic mode. Feels so much better here than that other place.