Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blogging the Artists Way, Week 2

Week 2: Recovering a Sense of Identity

My notes for week 2:

  • Avoid poisonous people, "crazy makers" -- people who bring you down in order to make them feel better about themselves.
  • Safeguard your newly recoving artist. Don't accept other people's plans for you.
  • Don't just focus on your responsibilities to others, focus on your responsibilities to yourself.
  • Nurture yourself. Be an example of transforming self-doubt into self-expression.
  • Set aside skepticism and accept "coincidences" as not coincidences, but as manifestations of the fact that you are on the right path.
  • Consciously practicing opening your mind.
  • Pay attention.

"The quality of life is in proportion to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention."

Tasks for Week 2:

  1. Affirmative reading -- morning and night, read the Basic Principles
  2. List your 5 major activities this week. Which ones did you want to do and which were shoulds? Draw a circle: Inside are the things you need to protect and those who are supportive. Outside are the people you must be self-protective around.
  3. List 20 things you enjoy doing and the last time you did them.
  4. From the list, take two things and make them your week's goals.
  5. Read affirmations from Week 1. Choose three and write them 5 times a day in your morning pages.
  6. Add five more imaginary lives. Is there anything from these that you can incorporate into your life?
  7. "Life pie." Draw a pie with six pieces, label each piece: Spirituality, Exercise, Play, Work, Friends, Romance/Adventure. Draw dots by placing them closer to or further from the center, representing the degree to which you are fulfilled in these areas. Connect them.
  8. 10 tiny changes -- "I would like to _______________."
  9. Make one of these your goal for the week.
  10. Do it.

I think I need a re-do on Week 2. I've written my morning pages every day, but I haven't even looked at the lists of tasks after reading the chapter and writing them down on Saturday.

This weekend was so bad that I think everything else was just pushed out of my mind by pain. On Saturday I had an appointment to get my hair cut and colored, but I was in so much pain when I woke up that I wasn't sure if I'd be able to. In the first place, I wasn't sure if I could even get out of the car when I got there, and in the second, whether I'd be able to sit in the chair for an hour and a half and get my hair done.

It was pretty brutal, but I got there, and I was waiting in the front for my hairdresser to come up, and when I saw her, and she saw that I was having difficulty walking, the look of concern and sympathy she gave me made me start crying. The pain, and then that kind of pain always seems to affect me emotionally also. As I said to her later, some people just give you permission to fall apart by offering sympathy.

I got through the haircut, then went to lunch at Chipotle and sat there and ate and worked in my Artist's Way notebook, making notes. By mid-afternoon I was feeling a bit better -- I guess the 8 Advil I'd had by that time had finally kicked in. I ran a few errands, and came home early.

Sunday was Mother's Day, and I was going to go out to my folks'. Bob had left early to go fishing with a friend, so I was home by myself, and when I went upstairs to get dressed, discovered that I couldn't get my jeans on. I just couldn't bend over far enough to pull them up. I laid on the bed and was able to get them on, then I couldn't get up. I just laid there and cried a little bit, feeling sorry for myself. I was eventually able to get up, but I honestly wasn't sure if I could survive the car trip.

I did (of course), then when I got to my parents' house, I couldn't get out of the car. Well, I eventually did (of course, again), but I had to go really slow and I had to stand and let the pain subside a little before I walked up to the house. I saw my mother come to the door -- she had heard the car drive up -- but she said later she thought I must have been on the phone or something, explaining why I didn't come in.

We had lunch, then we were going to move into the living room to sit and talk, and I couldn't get up out of the chair. This was getting old -- embarrassing, depressing, you name it. My little 80 year old mother had to go get her walker so I could get up out of the chair.

So I called my doctor, told him the 800 mg of Advil wasn't cutting it, and he called in prescriptions that Bob picked up on the way home. I've got some major pain medication, a muscle relaxer, and an anti-inflammatory. So I'm pretty loaded up with pharmaceuticals this week. They're helping tremendously. I was a little afraid to take the pain pill -- Hydrocodone -- because I was afraid they would make me sick, but they haven't.

Hopefully I'll get through the course of pills and the pain will be gone. If not, I don't know. Bob said maybe I need to be in traction. Maybe I do. I hope not. Surely this will work.

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