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.