A few years ago I was working with a client who had taken an early retirement buy-out, and at first it seemed that would be the answer to the health problems and burnout she experienced from work. Yet, once she retired, she couldn't find the energy to do anything. Accustomed to managing a team and being surrounded by coworkers, she was lonely and isolated at home all day. By the time I met with her, she was feeling lost and depressed.
While her career had created health problems, it had also given her purpose, confidence and structure. Without it, she was struggling to find the energy and motivation to do much of anything. She was beginning to think she needed to go back to work, just to have more structure.
After listening to her, I suspected she didn’t need another job; what she needed was a reason to get out of bed.
In that first session I asked about her hobbies, and she lit up when she talked about doing mosaics on old windows. It occurred to me that she might enjoy The Artist’s Way. She needed something to sink her teeth into, and readily accepted my suggestion to get a copy. Further, I recommended the same thing to another client facing a similar situation and connected the two of them. They committed to doing The Artist's Way and to meeting once/week to do crafts and discuss the book.
It’s been three years since she was a client, and she reached out to me last week to tell me how much her life has changed as a result of doing The Artist's Way:
“I think my retirement life is now as busy as my [work] life ... only it is doing things that I love to do. I am an art workshop facilitator at Village wo Walls, children’s creative reuse art instructor at village gallery of arts, show my work at two galleries (Cedar Mill and Lincoln City), member of a mosaic guide, am a yogi, busy with water aerobics, Monday babysit my 1 year old nephew and still do crafts w Terri R every Wednesday.
It is pretty amazing waking up in the morning and living with joy in my heart ... I never knew this way of life existed.”
That’s why I get so passionate (and pushy?) about TAW. It changes peoples’ lives because it teaches them a way of life they never knew existed. It gently helps people question long-held beliefs that are no longer serving them and it gives them permission to try something different, without it meaning that we have to jump off a cliff. It’s about taking small steps to more joy and satisfaction. If you want to go cliff diving, that’s great, but it’s not necessary to enjoy your life more.
Participating in an Artist’s Way group IS the thing that can give you the nudge that makes you finally take action to create the kind of life you want to lead. How often have you already told yourself that things have got to change, that you can’t go on the way you are, and yet, you do? It's not just you, by the way.
Nearly everyone I’ve spoken to in the last week about The Artist’s Way (TAW) already has a copy of it … and it’s sitting on the shelf gathering dust. They wanted to read it, but never got past the first couple of chapters. They kept thinking they ought to do it with a group, or it wasn't the right time. They would get to it — maybe after the kids were born, after they got a promotion, after the kids went to school, after they paid off the credit card, after the kids graduated — but they didn’t.
It seems that everyone intends to do The Artist’s Way but something else always gets in the way. Turns out, just like having kids, there’s never a perfect time to completely change your life.
We are human, which means that:
We will always find a way to avoid change because change threatens the status quo.
We will always find the flaws in any program, person, book, etc. because finding flaws outside of ourselves is much safer than finding — and addressing — the flaws within.
We evolved so that we are hardwired to stay safe and stick with what’s familiar, even when what’s familiar is painful and intolerable. We tolerate it anyway.
It’s why addicts and alcoholics have to “hit bottom” before they sober up. It’s why people, even after a near-death experience or scary medical diagnosis, will continue the same behaviors that are killing them — because it’s familiar — and our lizard brains cling to that.
That is precisely why The Artist's Way is so effective — if you do the work.
Do you want this year to really and truly be different? I invite you to participate in one of The Artist’s Way groups I’m leading in 2020. Register and get details.
But don’t believe me, see these testimonials from current group members:
“You don't realize how much you needed the guidance and support from the Artist's Way until you're well into it. Working with Paige and our small group to go through the Artist's Way has been truly transformative (truly!). I've learned how to take care of myself as an artist and how to let go of my overly-analytical instincts and let magic happen. Paige has lead our group in the most organic way I could imagine, drawing on her expertise as a coach to help us work through the challenge we come up again as we go through the process while also being candid with her own experiences. I've thoroughly enjoyed my journey through the Artist's Way and I am so glad I've been able to watch and support others as they take the journey with me.” – Molly T.
“I appreciate the value in a group dynamic for this type of course. Hearing members discuss their unique paths and insights has helped shed light on some of the tasks and personal challenges I’ve encountered along the way.”
“This program has been around for over 25 years and in that time has helped countless people overcome mental, spiritual, and creative blocks. At least, that’s the experience I’ve had and in reading through the numerous anecdotes and accounts mentioned in the book (Martin Scorsese and Elizabeth Gilbert being two of the more prominent ones) it seems clear TAW can help nearly anyone break through barriers in their creative, and even non-creative, life. It’s not necessarily fun and games; the author, Julia Cameron, continually asks the reader questions that require reflection and honesty, and in answering these questions the reader gains not only encouragement to grow and surmount their obstacles, but comfort in knowing many, many, many other people have felt the exact same way, and have come through the 12 week program to a far more satisfied and enriched place.” – Luke M.
If you want to change your life, but it’s kind of freaking you out, feel free to schedule a complimentary 1:1 session with me.