Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Return to The Artist’s Way: Taking the Pledge

A life spent in constant labor is a life wasted, save a man be such a fool as to regard a fulsome obituary notice as ample reward.
— George Jean Nathan

Wow! It’s been almost a month since we worked on our Artist’s Way path here. I hope that you’ve been using this time to give yourself lots of artist’s dates, working on your morning pages, and doing some of the deeper healing work that Chapter Eight, Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection has possibly inspired.

Are you still with us? My intention is for us to be completed with this journey by Imbolc/Brighid, as it has been a year-and-a-day magical commitment. So let’s get right back into it, shall we?

We left off talking about self-protection being, in part, about protecting our inner artist self from our own compulsion of workaholism.  Today, we will swear off those behaviors that are destructive.  How, though, do we know where the line is between healthy motivation and self-sabotage?

Being busy and productive is very different from falling prey to the list of symptoms in the quiz we took back in December.  Julia writes, “There is a difference between zestful work toward a cherished goal and workaholism. That difference lies less in the hours than it does in the emotional quality of the hours spent. There is a treadmill quality to workaholism.

“… Because workaholism is a process addiction (an addiction to a behavior rather than a substance), it is difficult to tell when we are indulging in it. An alcoholic gets sober by abstaining from alcohol. A workaholic gets sober by abstaining from OVERwork. The trick is to define overwork, and this is often when we lie to ourselves, bargaining to hold on to those abusive behaviors that still serve us.”

So she suggests that we set ourselves a bottom line. Each of us will have a different one, but she insists that we each know which of our patterns and behaviors are the ones that need to be off-limits. This is like “taking the pledge.” Your bottom line promises need to be very specific and personal.

Go back and review your answers to our workaholic quiz. Based on those results, what nonnegotiable boundaries might you set?

For instance, starting today, perhaps, you might want to declare one day a week work-free. No work emails; no phone calls, no “reading over a couple of things,” if it has anything to do with what you do for a living. Or maybe you need to make a vow that you will never again postpone or cancel plans with friends because of a project that you have the say-so over.

What else? Please feel free to share this with us.

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  • January 6, 2010, 6:49 pm Star*

    I am still here and following the Artist Way path. My artist date this week was at the Carnegie Art Museum in Pittsburgh! WOW!
    I may be the opposite of a workaholic, sometimes being overindulgent to myself, but I am certainly a spend-a lot-aholic who loves to shop for bargains and then cannot resist taking advantage of them. This puts me in a financial hole most of the time. Worry about money is not an useful energy that supports creativity. I am still working on this one…

    Meanwhile, I may take partial breaks from AW over the next few weeks as I fill my new role as Nana to my first grandson, born yesterday. My path may extend beyond Imbolc. I was very creative yesterday, while waiting for news from the birthing room and accomplished tying up lots of loose ends on projects in my studio while my daughter was doing the ‘creating’ though labor in a big way! All went well for her and the baby’s dad (usually a very busy executive, who stayed with her for the entire 12 hours!).


  • January 7, 2010, 5:49 am Beth

    {{{{{{{{{{{ Nana !!!!! Congratulations!!! }}}}}}}}}}}}

    Blessings, blessings, blessings! 😀
    – B.