More than anything else, attention is the act of connection.
The reward for attention is always healing. It may begin as the healing of a particular pain – the lost lover, the sickly child, the shattered dream. But what is healed, finally, is the pain that underlies all pain: the pain that we are all, as Rilke phases it, “unutterably alone.”
More than anything else, attention is the act of connection. I learned this the way I have learned most things – quite by accident.
When my first marriage blew apart, I took a lonely house in the Hollywood Hills.
My plan was simple. I would weather my loss my loss alone. I would see no one, and no one would see me, until the worst of the pain was over.
I would take long, solitary walks, and I would suffer. As it happened, I did take those walks, but they did not go as planned.
Two curves up the road behind my house, I met a gray striped cat.
This cat lived in a vivid blue house with a large sheepdog she clearly disliked. I learned all this despite myself in a week’s walking.
We began to have little visits, that cat and I, and then long talks of all we had in common, lonely women.
Both of us admired an extravagant salmon rose that had wandered across a neighboring fence. Both of us like watching the lavender float of jacaranda blossoms as they shook loose from their moorings.
Alice (I heard her called inside one after afternoon) would bat at them with her paw.
By the time the jacarandas were done, an unattractive slatted fence had been added to contain the rose garden. By then, I had extended my walks a mile farther up and added to my fellowship other cats, dogs, and children.
By the time the salmon rose disappeared behind its fence, I had found a house higher up with a walled Moorish garden and a vitriolic parrot I grew fond of. Colorful, opinionated, highly dramatic, he reminded me of my ex-husband.
Pain had become something more valuable: experience.
Quoted with permission, from The Artist’s Way ©1992, 2002 by Julia Cameron, published by Tarcher/Penguin
By Julia Cameron
Award-winning writer Julia Cameron is the author of seventeen books, fiction and non-fiction, including The Artist’s Way , The Vein of Gold, and The Right to Write, her bestselling works on the creative process. A novelist, playwright, songwriter and poet, she has distinctive credits in theatre, film and television.”
This workbook is great. You will not regret buying it. Julia Cameron has put together a great addition to her book “The Artist’s Way” Which I would highly recommend as well.”
“In this book, Julia gives the reader a complete system that includes daily and weekly readings and tasks that are designed to awaken, or re-awaken, the creative artistic voice that may have been hidden or ignored for years or decades because of the necessity to meet the challenges and difficulties of daily life. Well, guess what? Her system works! It not only works, it works extremely well! And, not only does it work extremely well, it’s an inspiring, fun, and thoroughly rewarding process that can feel like a daily meeting with a favorite mentor or trusted friend who is a source of continual inspiration. Well, this is what it has come to feel like for me anyway.”
“Based on my own experience, I would say that any frustrated artist, musician, or other creative type who engages the process of this book completely will not only NOT be disappointed, they’ll awaken to something vital that may have been lost for a long time.”
“The Artist’s Way is the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life. Still as vital today – or perhaps even more so – than it was when it was first published one decade ago, it is a powerfully provocative and inspiring work…”
“With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron and Mark Bryan lead you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity. This book links creativity to spirituality by showing how to connect with the creative energies of the universe…” Amazon Books – Customer Reviews
A Sample Chapter can be downloaded here where Julia Cameron introduces two Basic Tools: “There are two pivotal tools in creative recovery: the Morning Pages and the Artist Date. A lasting creative awakening requires the consistent use of both. I like to introduce them immediately and at sufficient length. This chapter explains these tools carefully and in depth…”