from the Esocentric Tarot Deck © Shot in the Dark Photography
Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most.
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Today, we begin the fourth step together, Recovering a Sense of Integrity. And frankly, I have a lot of complex feelings about this one. I will warn you, it is maybe the hardest one. At least it was for me the first time, and probably will be this time, too. And I have very mixed feelings about how I am going to handle it within the context of blogging. Because it is completely antithetical to blogging.
This is the step of the infamous reading deprivation week. Yes, you read that right. I’ll have LOTS more to say about it, but we don’t need to go there just yet. I’m just giving you a heads up about it.
At this point, as Julia writes on the first page of the chapter, “You may find yourself grappling with changing self-definition. The essays, tasks, and exercises are designed to catapult you into productive introspection and integrations of new self-awareness. This may be both very difficult and extremely exciting for you.
“Warning: Do not skip the tool of reading deprivation!”
So first off, a very important check-in here. How are you doing with your morning pages? They really aren’t meant to be an optional, “When I feel like it” step. Honestly, they are crucial to this whole thing. By now, you have hopefully made them an integral habit. I find that I get cranky when I skip them. How about you?
We are going to need them for this step, and the more natural they are for you, the better. This is because, as Julia notes, it is precisely at this moment on our journey that big, powerful waves of change may be in the offing. And she notes that in her experience from many years of leading people on The Artist’s Way, we are most tempted to abandon our pages when we can feel intense emotions brewing.
The daily check-ins that are easy are, um, well, easy. But the Big Stuff, especially when we are in the middle of it, and can’t see the end, since it may be days and weeks away, is where we get very uncomfortable and actually may not want to have the lightning bolt of truth revealed to us.
Indeed, we seek the deep and profound change of growth, but when those changes really start to shake things up, many of us naturally step back, fearing the loss of our comfort levels. So often, the pain that we know and have accommodated for years disguises itself as security. To feel the impending dissolution of that is scary stuff. And the morning pages can often be the catalyst for those revelations, from which there is no return.
Know what I mean?