August 10, 2017

Life: A Delicate Balance by Sharon Espeseth

Life: A Delicate Balance
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Wisdom from Julia Cameron in The Artist's Way

In her June post, Sandi Somers mentioned The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I found this idle and previously unused book on my shelf and started reading. I quickly decided this book might help me get from feeling stalled and stymied to accomplishing some of what I believed I was meant to do in life.

I was the blocked creative Cameron was talking about. I was the flower seed crowded out by weeds of care and concern for everything and everybody. While trying to fix everybody else, I was short of the sunshine and elbow room I needed to grow myself. Low on sunshine and nutrients, my growth was also stunted by a creative well run dry.

Cameron lists ten Basic Principles, which coincide with my beliefs. Sample: "Creativity is God's gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God."

Two of her Basic Tools are Morning Pages and The Artist Date, which she says are a non-negotiable part of her "recovery" program.  Morning Pages are three pages written first thing each morning; the Artist Date is a session of approximately two-hours set aside each week and "committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist."

Cameron's program, which is designed to help us recover from blocked creativity, is divided into twelve weekly units. For each week, the author provides motivational material, quotes, and activities  suitable to that week's theme.

I have faithfully done my Morning Pages for 58 days. This works best for me when I rise early and write in solitude. I am on Week 6, Day 4. I have been a willing participant in the Morning Pages as this activity seems to keep me moving in the right direction. Often my writing is prayerful.

Not quite an Artist's Date as I am not alone
The Artist Date is something you plan and carry out on your own, which has been more challenging to me that Morning Pages. Sometimes I sit out on the front porch or the back deck and read or write, but I don't go off by myself as the author suggests. Does this mean I'm resisting this assignment? If so, I need strength and determination to overcome this reluctance.

Two weeks ago the assignment was to go on an extended date, one that lasts longer than the two hours. "Julia" suggested a more adventuresome outing. Yeah, right, I thought. If I can't do a two-hour date by myself, how am I going to pull this off? 

Wisdom and Synchronicity Making the Date

I hadn't been to Edmonton by myself since October 2015, when my sister Joan passed. Because of my husband's health, I didn't feel comfortable leaving him home alone. As we get older, Hank has become more protective of me also. I was gearing up for the Wednesday luncheon with my teaching girlfriends from my Fort McMurray years. Hank was going to drive me to the restaurant and wait for me in the hot van, which seemed ridiculous!

On Tuesday evening, Hank wrote down the time for Wednesday's Blue Jay's game. I reminded him we wouldn't be home on time, because, as I'd told him, I wanted to meet my niece and my sister for a dinner. His face fell. Was this an impasse? Would I have to give in and come home after the McMurray Girls Luncheon without seeing my people?

I reminded the Norwegian that I used to drive a lot and I'd be fine. I would pray for safety for both of us. He could pray instead of worry about me.

I would be going by myself. It was too late to make arrangements with my niece, Billie, or my sister Shirley. I'd  call them from Edmonton. Driving on my own was an unexpected pleasure. Comfortable and confident, I felt focussed. I shopped before the late luncheon. Billie-Jo met me for dinner in the evening. I stayed overnight with my daughter and family in Leduc. My sister from Calmar met me in Leduc for brunch on Thursday morning. I was home by 3:00 p.m.

I had a wonderful time and I suspect Hank did too. Julia Cameron would consider this episode synchronicity. When I set out to do what I set out to do, God was there helping with the details and keeping me safe. Everything lined up and I was grateful to all parties, especially my Father in heaven. I also whispered a thank you to "Julia" for giving me the gumption to venture out on my own.

Wisdom from Others

Lacey just trying to be herself
Recently I asked our seven-year-old grandchild, Lacey, "So, how are things going for you, Lacey?" "What have you been up to?"

"I'm just busy trying to be Lacey."

Interesting! I'm thinking, I'm just trying to be Sharon, to be who I believe God wants me to be.

A couple weeks ago, Connie Inglis, our InScribe spiritual advisor, shared her thoughts on Romans 5: 1-5. Because of my following The Artist's Way, the words of verse 2 especially touched me.

"For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be."

 Maintaining Balance in the Ups and Downs of Life

Yesterday was a topsy-turvy day and I struggled to accomplish what I needed to do, i.e. write my blog, and take care of what my loved ones needed from me. For this, I took another look at the New Commandment Christ gave us.
What the good book says!

Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind," and then, "Love your neighbour as yourself." Sometimes we cannot, nor should we, meet all our neighbours needs. They must look after some of their own needs. Many of their needs are met by God, which leaves some needs for which we are responsible.

Help me to love my neighbour, Lord, as I love myself, and give me the wisdom to know which duties are mine. Amen.


  1. Such a wonderfully inspiring post Sharon. I found that book very inspiring as well. I had forgotten about the 'Artist date' part of it, though, although I have had lots of tome to do this this summer.

  2. I hope and pray that your time off will help the healing process for you. Take care of yourself, Tracy. I am enjoying The Artist's Way and find it motivational too.

  3. "I'm just busy trying to be Lacey." I love it! Such wisdom from one so young. I have heard of The Artist's Way, may even have read part of it (the Artist's date sounds familiar), but I have never read it. Sounds like it's worth picking up - those Morning Pages sound very helpful.

  4. The Artist's Way is working for me. Perhaps now is the time I'm meant to pursue this line of thinking, which, by the way, seems a godly thing for me to do. If you delve into this, Susan, I pray this will be helpful for you too. I do highly recommend the program Cameron offers.

  5. The Artist's Way sounds very interesting!It also seems to be serving you well. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  6. Yes, I am enjoying the reading and activities that goes with The Artist's Way. For me it is a spiritual and creative journey

  7. So glad to hear that the Artist's Way is helping you get back into writing again, and that you enjoyed your special time away with your girlfriends. I have the Artist's Way but I've never read it. I might have to do that!
    Pam Mytroen

  8. You mean I'm not the only one who had this excellent book sitting idly on the shelf? I think you would enjoy this book too, Pam, and get a boost from it as I did. Sometimes a book just reaches out and grabs me.

  9. When I was a stay-at-home lady of "leisure" (between chauffeuring kids, trying to remember to feed everyone, and volunteer work) I used this method. I'm not sure where I got the book, but found it somehow. Why was it easier to make time for it back then than it is now? Thanks for the reminder of this, though.

  10. I am doing Week 9 of Julia Cameron's 12-week program, and I find it beneficial for me, Marnie. Yes, it is odd to look back on our super busy years with family and wonder how we managed to do what we did. Of course, we had more energy years back, but I think I'm better now at setting priorities over perfectionism. If I still have some of that perfectionist streak left in me, I pray about it, and ask God to show me what matters most.


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