The Artist's Way - Week 4

Discloser: I completed the Artist’s Way, week 4 for the first time in February 2017. If you are new to this blog series, click here to read the first post.

Recovering a Sense of Integrity

This week's main focus was reading deprivation. That meant no social media, Netflix, TV, movies, books, newspaper, magazines, etc. The experiment was to see what you can produce if you are not constantly absorbing and clogging up your spiritual and mental pathways. The idea is that when you stop taking in, you start to give. It leaves you to yourself and your authentic spirit, your inner creator, your direct line to God. What would Heavenly Father have you create?

"It is a paradox that by emptying our lives of distractions we are actually filling the well." (Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way, pg. 87)

So I spent a week without media with a few exceptions. I allowed emails, homework, and I did see a movie. But my biggest problem was Netflix. I have always wanted a reason to watch less. I have unfortunately made it a habit to watch right before bed. But the real kicker is, if I wasn't going to watch Netflix before bed, I would read. And I always considered that a fun, healthy way to wind-down for the night. But that wasn't an option. I had to find other ways to "wind-down". Sometimes, that meant laying in my bed in the dark, and letting my thoughts run free until they dissapated.

But my experience this week wasn't bad. It reminded me of the weeks I have spent at my cabin up in the Sierra Nevada mountains. I look forward to time spent there where you will not find cell phone service, internet, TV, movies, etc. Instead we fill our time with reading, games, cooking, jokes, painting, thoughtful discussion, not so thoughtful discussion, and family time. This week wasn't much different. But instead of starring at the stars as I lulled myself to sleep, I stared at my ceiling in quiet meditation.

I think my sister, Tessa said it best in her own blog post about this week: "Being addicted to media feeds the repression of our true selves." I think media has a way of clogging up our minds, no matter the form it comes it. It takes up unnecessary space and creates barriers between us and our authentic selves. A lot of the time, it is simply a distraction and a mind-numbing tool.

I found that as I went without media, I had to be more creative with my time. I found I was far more productive and used my time more wisely. But most importantly I found a new sense of clarity and liberation. No longer was I tied down by the distractions of modern life, but freed by the unlimited possibilities and capabilities of my own mind and spirit.

What does my authentic self have to offer?

Grace Ryser