Just as our Tarot card of the week has predicted, we are leaving behind the tenderly placed heart lessons found in the chapters of this book, and preparing to walk off into the Mystery. But the last gift in this final chapter is one of my favorites.
Since first embarking on The Artist’s Way many years ago, over and over I have encountered this experience that Julia now discusses. I especially see it in my Tarot practice. It often applies to love and romance, but it can also occur in careers, family relationships, even addiction recovery. The latter is especially how it applies to The Artist’s Way, since we are, after all, artists in recovery.
Julia calls it (I just love this!) Escape Velocity. Her friend Michelle introduced the idea to her. “In a nutshell, it goes: ‘When you’re going to leave them, they know…’
“There’s this time for blast-off, like a NASA space launch, and you’re heading for it when wham, you draw to you The Test.”
“Yeah. The Test. It’s like when you’re all set to marry the nice guy, the one who treats you right, and Mr. Poison gets wind of it and phones you up…
“The whole trick is to evade The Test. We all draw to us the one test that’s our total nemesis…Think of it. You’re all set to go to the Coast on an important business trip, and your husband suddenly needs you, capital N, for no real reason…You’re all set to leave the bad job when the boss from hell suddenly gives you your first raise in five years.. Don’t be fooled! Don’t be fooled!”
I am here to tell you, my friends, she is dead on with this. Over and over in my own life and in my practice, I have seen that just when you are about to break free into the stratosphere of a new, fabulous chapter, the old drama puts on a shiny new disguise, meant to suck you right back in.
It could be the abusive spouse who swears they will never strike you again; or the toxic roommate who suddenly turns sugar sweet, just when you’ve found a gem of a little apartment of your own. The old flame (who broke your heart but is now oh-so-sorry!) pops up on Facebook and wants to “just chat,” just when your marriage counseling was making headway. Those plans for building your own studio out back suddenly thrown into doubt because Eldest Son really, really needs a car.
At first dubious about her friend’s conspiracy theory, Julia thought about it carefully and agrees, even sharing some of her own Tests, that she admits she sometimes failed. “There was the agent who managed to undo done deals but apologized so prettily. There was the editor who asked for rewrite upon rewrite until gruel was all that remained, but who always said I wrote brilliantly and was her brightest star.”
Think about your own life. Your artistic longings. Your desire to express your true self. Your need for a more nurturing, happy, wholesome creative life. And notice how right on time, up pops the devil, that is, some kind of temptation to stay in your familiar stuckness. For so many perfectly understandable reasons, you could postpone and defer your escape one more time, right?
It’s happened to me, many times. I know it’s happened to you (maybe even right now). What will you do when the pull of gravity threatens to suck the momentum out of your new dreams?