Thursday 15 October 2009

the artist's way - week eight & check-in

I went to the doctor on Tuesday and was diagnosed with bronchial asthma.....not good for me but that would explain why it felt like I was carrying a brick around inside my chest for the past week. That dust storm three weeks ago was the cause and now I have a stronger preventer inhaler to use twice a day, as well as, a reliever puffer to use at four hourly intervals. As yet, I'm not feeling too much relief but we did have another dust storm yesterday which didn't help matters. I'll go back to the doctor if I'm not noticing a huge improvement by the weekend. Thank you all so much for the well wishes!



Recovering a sense of Strength

As I've been pretty sick with the bronchial asthma, I didn't do too much on the physical side of the tasks but I did focus on the theory.

In this chapter, Julia talks of how artists can be deeply wounded by harsh criticism. Constructive criticism is fine because it helps our creative growth but criticism that is harsh and has no real foundation can be crippling. Teachers and mentors can often be the main culprits as they will put a blanket judgement over our creative efforts without bothering to acknowledge the creative potential that is there. We must learn to move through this painful time by acknowledging it. The trick is to convert the emotional pain into energy. We must reach for and focus on what we want. When hit by loss, we must ask "What next?" not "Why me?".

Man can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown ~
Claude Bernard

When one avenue of creativity is blocked, find another. The key to recovery is to take action.

Saying we are too old to attempt something creative is a cop out. It's an evasive tactic to avoid facing our fear. This also occurs at the other end of the scale....young people will say that they will do something creative when they retire. Again, it is a fear-based excuse.

Julia makes a good point that creativity occurs in the moment and that, in that moment, we are timeless. Our fear, not time, is what truly holds us back. The journey of a thousand miles begins with with just one step. By focusing on the doing in each 'now' moment, we live the adventure, whereas focusing only on the end result can often feel like it is out of our reach.

It can help to break a goal down into smaller steps and just focus on doing those steps one at a time and eventually we will reach the goal. Even the simplest of actions is taking a step in the right direction.

I didn't realise I was creatively talented until I was well into my late thirties and that realisation came by total accident. I must say that, since I took up art, I have had nothing but support and encouragement from my family and friends so I don't think I can blame criticism for any creative blocks I may be dealing with.

I turned 50 this year and, while I am happy with my achievements to date, there is so much I want to try artistically. As I've noted in previous posts, my desire to try out different art forms often leaves me feeling confused about which one to focus on, thereby, never taking that first step forward. From this chapter, I have re-learned that, instead of procrastinating over what direction I want to take, I should just do something in line with my art...anything, even something small! It's a whole lot better than wasting time procrastinating which only leads to me doing nothing anyway....such a waste of time!

I can take the small steps first.....I can refill the dirty water jars with fresh water, I can prepare some fresh stay-wet palettes, I can put a coat of gesso on a canvas, I can tidy up my art space, I can do some sketching or doodling, etc.....all those small actions are part of the bigger picture. I can make a committment to take one small creative action daily and live the adventure instead of just thinking about it.

One of the exercises was to choose a colour and describe ourselves as that colour -
I am blue! Cool, calming, peaceful and spiritual though, like the ocean, I have many moods. I can be soft like a dawn sky or vibrant and strong like a stormy sea. My deepest blue is my portal to the spiritual realms where I connect with my soul.


Did I do my morning pages? Every day except one due to being so sick.

Did I go on my artist date? I'm counting our country drive as an artist date because, even though others were with me, I did go exploring on my own and it was fun and refreshing.

Did I experience any synchronicity? I found it interesting that The Joy Diet topic for this same week was about taking one creative action daily. This is where I should hit myself over the head and the signs, girl! Read the signs!

Any issues significant to my creative recovery? The realisation that I need to just do.....take the small steps instead of procrastinating and wasting time.

Silly me - In this post, I mistakingly thanked one of our Artist Way members for sending me an unsigned postcard as one of our assignments from week six of The Artist's Way. I didn't realise at the time that the postcard, in fact, came from Ricë Freeman-Zachary advertising her latest book - Creative Time and Space - which looks like a fabulous book I might add. The neat timing of receiving a postcard on creating time and space didn't escape my attention. Yet another sign that perhaps I am on the right track?

Anywhoo, my apologies and sincerest thanks goes out to debra as I DID receive your lovely postcard in the mail today! It was a lovely surprise!

love, light and peace


  1. Sorry to hear of your bronchial problems. If you are open to it, I recently found a technique that may be of some help. The web site is The way I see it is, it can't hurt. It worked for me just a couple days ago with a bad headache. Best of all, it's free!

    Anyway, glad to hear of your progress. Like you said, one step at a time!

  2. Oh my...I hope the inhaler helps and this is not a permanent condition. Way to go in your book club!

  3. Is this a particularly bad time of the year for dust storms? Hope the asthma meds finally kick in!

  4. "The key to recovery is to take action."

    Your post today has been deeply inspiring. Thanks. I´ll be going to my craft room now. :)

  5. oh yes, you are certainly blue... a serene, calm blue - beautiful

    enjoy week 9 xoxo

  6. I am an old asthmatic (I am 53 now, but had it in childhood)...but have been living without much incidence of it since I figured out what MY major triggers were:
    1. Perfume
    2. Cigarette smoke (ie: probably your dust storms)
    3. Allergy to BLEACH!

    I came in to contact with some (in a building I went into during work)on Wednesday and have had the classic symptoms since Wed. night...I found that hot tea (not herbal, but black tea) drinking it solidly helps to open up your lungs, and I have even managed to keep myself from having to go to the doctor until I was over it (Or hot coffee really helps too)! Find out everyting you can about asthma...there is so much invaluable information out there that can really help you!

    Much love...and feel better soon...Julie

  7. not good about the asthma, but at least now you know what the problem is. hopefully the inhalers start to help soon

  8. dear Serena
    Hope you are feeling better and breathing easier. I am so amazed at your talent. Glad you found it!
    What a gift you have.

  9. I hope the new medications help. Must be a time for contemplation. Being sick or not up to your normal capacities forces down time onto us, doesn't it?

    I was thinking about your trying new things and just taking small steps--especailly with your art. You won't know what you really like if you don't experiment. If you hadn't taken the step to try the looser collage painting, you never would have felt that freedom of expression. Sometimes I have to ask myself--what have I really, honestly got to lose if I try this? Some paint, a canvas (can paint right over acrylics & reuse), WC paper (even expensive WC paper is only a few dollars and I can always use it to make recycled paper), my time? What will really happen if I totally fail at it? When I think of it as playing--it helps loosen me up to blank canvas or paper. Spread your creative wings, Lady! Who knows where the updraft will take you! :):)

  10. It's been a few days since you've posted. Hope you're better!

  11. Thank you all so much for your concern and well wishes. I may be going back to the doctor again today as I haven't improved much at all. I guess the good news is that I haven't gotten any worse either. Apparently, asthma medications can take at least two weeks before they make a marked improvement and I've only been on mine for a week.

    Chocoholic - The dust storm we had was the first for as long as I can remember and the news said the last one was over forty-five years ago. As I'm prone to an astmatic cough under certain conditions, I now know dust storms are one of them. :(

    Rita - I think you may be right about needing time for reflection. I've certainly been doing a lot of thinking about where I'm at creatively.

    Julie - Yep, the dust storm was definitely the culprit and because it was such a bad one, it really played havoc with my asthmatic condition.

    Tamerie - Thanks for the link. I've had a bit of a look but can't find anything related to asthma relief but I will try again. Accupuncture worked wonders on my daughter's severe whiplash injury and this appears to be a form of accupressure so it may well help.

  12. Popping in to send you some strength and breath vibes :) Hugs!