The Artist's Way Experiment

I am working through the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron trying to unlock some captive creativity and I am really enjoying the process. I am on week four and something incredible happened that I've had in the back of my mind for a while as a possibility. The assignment for the week was to not read for leisure or watch TV for the week (no talk radio or audiobooks, youtube, or facebook either). I laughed when I read it and right away I was really intrigued. I knew it was going to be an interesting week but I didn't know if I would like it or if I could even do it. I listen to audiobooks all the time, and pandora comedy is my go-for working around the house. 

Well, I did it, and it was a remarkable week! Here's what I gathered: 

- I look at my phone waaaaay too much, and I often feel just drained and empty at the end of the day. I have felt the two have been related, and after this week I am certain. 

- On day one I wasn't missing it at all. I felt way more into what I was up to that day, I found myself daydreaming hard again and I was able to tackle some smaller tasks around the house when I probably would have been standing and staring at my phone. The music I listened to that day seemed to sound better, and everything seemed to have a bit more color. I know it might sound a bit silly and over-poetic, but that's exactly what it felt like. 

- On the second day I found myself becoming more aware of my surroundings and the people nearby. Everything seemed more intense too. It was getting better and better. 

- by the 3rd day I found myself really heading off some problems and working to get more organized (and not dreading the tasks!). It is so easy for me to push out my problems with a distraction but without it I just handled things. It felt like a new section of my brain had opened up, it was awesome! Super refreshing. 

- The fourth day was great. I realized how much I was seeking out people to talk to again and being able to think faster and be more engaged in the conversations. I was genuinely invested in what was going on and I was just happier overall. I felt like I was thinking on my feet better while I was teaching as well. When I drove home I put in one of my favorite albums and came up with a neat connected story line to the music the entire drive home. I went made a point to go fatbiking with a friend that evening and I went to bed just feeling awesome. 

- Friday was great! I made a phone call on the ride home (something I don't do often) and when I talked to people I didn't feel like I had to run off somewhere and I had to keep it short. I felt comfortable in my own skin again. Looking back at my notes, each day I noted how great things were going and each day I said something about how this needed to happen long-term (maybe mainly with facebook and limited mind-hijacking during the week). I felt awesome. 

-Yesterday I had to work a looooooong day running sound for a dance competition, and I wasn't bored at all. The day went pretty quickly and I just found things to do to occupy the time, and it was great! There was no staring at the clock, no dragging feeling at all, it was just fine. 

-Finally, today was the best of all. I woke up feeling hopeful and energetic (this used to happen during the summers in high school where everything was where it needed to be and I just had everything to look forward to all the time.) It is an exciting feeling, but it doesn't happen very often these days. 

I allowed myself some news reading and youtube and facebook vegging today and now I just feel dense again. 

Conclusion? I'm definitely doing this for another week! I think there is so much gravity to not even having your phone in the same room when you are hanging out with people or sleeping. The Artist's Way always talks about your creative spirit as a child, and I think this week definitely made me feel younger when I was more social and the entire world was a different light. It's starting to make more sense and I'm really excited to see where the next 8 weeks of the book take me. 

Finally, I remember there was a time of my life where I became a different person. I became quite unhappy for a while, things just changed, and for a long time I was a cynical person who had difficulty identifying and working through some character faults. I can pin the start of the change to not long after I joined Facebook. Beforehand life was without a doubt different. Is Facebook the devil? I don't think so, but I always had the inkling that my life would be better if I stayed away from it. That has now been proven to be 100% true.

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