If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
— Lao Tzu
As we get ready to take our next step, there is one more task to complete. This might be another micromovement exercise, or it could be bigger. You can read it in The Artist’s Way, but I am going to embellish it just a little bit, based on some work I’ve done with coaches, as well as some of the inspirations from another favorite of mine, Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance.
Take a walk-through of your house sometime this weekend, with a clipboard or notebook and imagine you are seeing everything for the first time. You might imagine that you’re a benevolent but honored VIP of some sort. Seeing your home with fresh eyes, what things would you like to change or improve? Room by room, take notes. What little chores have you been skipping, thinking you’d get to them later? What irritating bits do you put up with because you’ve learned to tune them out? And if issues come up that are not home-based, include them, too!
Be gentle with yourself on this. But be honest. Having to move that table over every time you want to close the door is just one small thing. But, over and over, repeated, say, twice a day, year in and year out, it is stealing your good energy, and driving you a little crazy; or else making you settle for less than comfort and ease (not to mention the awful feng shui of such a thing!). If we can’t have comfort and ease in our own homes, what hope is there for us?
So walk through and make an inventory of what you’d like to change or fix. And again, if non-domestic concerns occur to you, like things at work that are bugging you, include them as well.
From this, Julia suggests that we pick ten changes “you can make for yourself, from the significant to the small or vice versa (‘get new sheets so I have another set, go to China, paint my kitchen, dump my bitchy friend Alice’).”
She recommends that when we pick our top ten changes to make, we write them up like this:
1. I would like to …
2. I would like to …
And so on. As you can see, this turns them into positive steps that encourage us.
“As the morning pages nudge us increasingly into the present,” she writes, “where we pay attention to our current lives, a small shift like a newly painted bathroom can yield a luxuriously large sense of self-care.”
So, this weekend, select one small item from your list and do it!
And as we conclude this second step in our process, I invite you again to check-in. How many days did you do your morning pages? Hopefully every day! How are they working for you? Any surprises?
Have you been doing your artist date? I personally find this the hardest to do for myself. It seems sometimes like a selfish indulgence I don’t have time for. But I am finally beginning to understand that it is absolutely critical for my artist recovery. If I don’t treat my artist self to some regular playtime and unsupervised fun, I get really crabby and depressed.
How about you?