The Artist’s Way, Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity

secret garden
Attempting to relax with Johanna Basford’s ‘Secret Garden’ colouring book

It was another challenging week this week – less for chronic fatigue reasons, and more for general life reasons – but for the second week in a row I did manage 7/7 morning pages! Morning pages are, for me, the easiest part of the Artist’s Way. Occasionally I don’t feel like I have anything to write about, but somehow the pages get filled, and more often than not it’s helpful (especially when I’m in a bad mood, which seems to be happening a lot lately – stress levels are high).

My artist date was a little bit of a cheat this week – they are meant to be done alone, but B was with me. We had an appointment in the city on Friday, and I was intending to meander a little afterwards as my artist date, expecting that B would have to go to work straight afterwards, but he’d actually organised to have the day off. So it turned into a bit more of a real date than an artist date, but I still had part of a morning meandering, and B spotted a couple of places that I wouldn’t have seen without him there. I think my inner artist was happy, and it was a lovely way to spend some time. I even found a new journal for my morning pages – my second for the year already!

I really struggled with getting any of the suggested tasks done this week. Between house selling/buying stress, wedding planning stress, and general other stress, I put the Artist’s Way on the back-burner (other than the morning pages, which I still prioritised). I did end up doing 5 of the 10 tasks, which is a record, but they were quite rushed – I did 3 of them very quickly in the evening of the last day of the week.

An additional challenge for this week was reading deprivation. This week called for an entire week of no reading, and as the original book was written in 1992, before the advent of smart phones and tablets, I expanded this to include no social media. While there were books I wanted to pick up and read during the week, the real challenge was  not picking up my phone or tablet to read an article, check facebook or instagram, or do anything else that would count as ‘reading’ in all those little moments that I usually fill with someone else’s words. I did accidentally break reading deprivation a couple of times before I remembered that I wasn’t meant to be reading, and I did make some exceptions for reading things like emails and important legal documents that needed to be signed and returned immediately. Part of the idea of reading deprivation is this:

…sooner or later, if you are not reading, you will run out of work and be forced to play.

While I appreciate the sentiment, this was unfortunately not the case for me. There are still mountains of work to be done, and at the moment I feel like every time I turn around another 5 things have been added to the list! I did carve out a tiny bit of time for ‘play’ in some of the moments that I would otherwise have been reading (I did some colouring, and played some more of a DS game I’ve wanted to finish but had been relegated to the ‘later’ pile for months), but on the whole, I found reading deprivation to be a tool that I understand, but might personally find more useful when we’ve moved house and life is feeling (hopefully) a little more stable.



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