Backsliding – The TSP Book Club

It has been a very strange week.
Last week felt so full,
so productive,
so rewarding on lots of different levels.
And I began to see some connections between
those feelings and the work that we are doing
over at TweetSpeak Poetry as we plow our way through
“The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity,”
by Julia Cameron.
I began to think that the Rebellious Resistor
had left the building.
No such luck.
Apparently, it doesn’t take much to discourage me.
I did manage to catch up with the reading,
skimming through the two chapters for this week.

It was the end of last week’s assignment,
the chapter on, “Recovering a Sense of Possibility,”
 that cut hard this time – 
and in many ways, I do believe,
inhibited my ability (willingness?) to move forward
through the muck with alacrity.
She said that working through the dang pages,
(otherwise known as The Morning Pages)
should lead us ‘to treat ourselves more gently.’

She said that we are ‘learning to give up idolatry.’ 

She said that, “many of us have made a virtue
out of deprivation.”

And the thread she drew through those three phrases
followed the needle right into my psyche.
“The Virtue Trap,” she labeled it. 
And I wrote an all-caps, bright blue,”OUCH,” next to that one. 

Because I know all about making nice.
I know all about martyrdom.
I know all about this one right here:
“Afraid to appear selfish, we lose our self.”
And I have done a whole lot of inner work around these issues. 
I’ve studied the Enneagram and realized that I am a #2 – The Helper.
I once said through tears that I never would have answered
God’s call on my life to be a pastor if my husband hadn’t made enough money so that my schooling would not be a sacrifice for anyone in my family.
I know this crap.
Yet, I resist the dang pages.
(So I won’t be more gentle with myself?)
I still have to fight the urge to put my closest human relationships before my relationship with God.
(So I won’t have to learn more about trusting the only True God?)
 I fall too easily into the trap of the false self, the one that
‘is always patient, always willing to defer its needs 
to meet the needs or demands of another.’
(So I won’t have to risk being who I truly am?)
I’m not sure I know the answers to these queries.
I’m not even sure I like the queries, to tell you the truth.
Finding my way to truth with a capital “T” is an ongoing process, 
one that requires me to be ruthlessly honest with myself, 
to be ruthlessly honest with God,
to be willing to say,
“I need some time alone – maybe a lot of it,”
even if it makes the people I love unhappy –
this is no small thing.
No. It is not.
At this end of a very ‘dry’ week creatively,
I am wrestling with what’s going on inside me.
I am wondering how to cut through the noise and hear the Voice. 
I am feeling the need to cultivate a sense of possibility. 
Joining this strange set of musings with TSP and Lyla and the gang who are reading along. I think tomorrow is the last family graduation for a while (Gracie passed kindergarden!) and there are no scheduled drives south for about a week,
so maybe I can carve out the time I need to breathe, think, pray and create.
Anything is possible, right?
Do you see this ‘ts’ right here? That is all that shows itself on my blog when I paste in a copy of the TSPoetry Book Club button. Here in the draft version, I can see the full HTML tag. On the blog itself? Only the ‘ts.’ Weird, right?

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  1. Dear Diana – Sometimes, probably always, I think we are on the path of creativity even when we aren’t “producing”. So, maybe this week you are  doing the very important work of clearing away roadblocks… It brings to mind a quote from Pema Chodron (and maybe a thousand other wise ones): “The path is the goal”.   It isn’t always pretty, is it? Maybe it is always important though. Sometimes the path is really cluttered with debris and even the debris has a purpose.  No praise or blame, as Belleruth Naparstek says.   Like dirty diapers – it’s just something we need to take care of, period. We do it without question for our babies, yes?  But not so readily for ourselves.  Carving time for yourself sounds important – vital – and possible.  Go for it!   P.S. I like it when you whine.

  2. pastordt says

    Thanks for your encouragement, Donna. And no, it is most definitely NOT always pretty. :>)

  3. I think you need some Laity time. That’s a great photo.

  4. We had such beautiful weather last year – hot and dry, but the sky! Oh, my. I’m signed up for September and looking at airfares this week.

  5. Oh, Diana. I so appreciate your honesty. Can I be the one this time to encourage you? 🙂 Give yourself some space on this, grace even, to work it at a sensible pace. I know we’re galloping through over at TS, because most of us don’t have a 12-week attention span. 😉 But take the time you need on the parts you need. Seems like this one hit that tender spot that so many of us have, permission to pursue these things. I hear you. I do.  And I’m so, so glad to have you along with me. 

  6. pastordt says

    Thanks, Lyla. I’m struggling along here. A little bit more breathing space in this end of the week and hopefully, next week, too. So…we’ll see…

  7. I had to come back to this one, Diana. On this second reading I hear again my own whisperings. Julia says a lot of things that resonate with me, but she also says things that cause me to step away… to avoid facing what she intends me to see. At least, when I’m being honest, that’s what I suspect.

    We may not always want to follow her suggestions, or even agree with them, but when they make us think about something we would otherwise choose to avoid, there has been value in the reading. Thank you for sharing your feelings so openly. I’m doing some deeper thinking of my own as a result. 

  8. pastordt says

    I am embarrassed to admit that I haven’t picked up Julia since the book club ended. And I still have 2 chapters to do. And I’m not doing my pages very often, either. So… I’m guessing I’m still not looking at what it is I need to see. Thanks for this reminder, friend. And thanks for your honesty here.