In my experience with it, The Artist’s Way is like a twelve step program for creative recovery, which, to me, is the same thing as soul recovery. In other words, as I connect with my innate capacity to be creative in my life, I simultaneously connect with my soul. To say it another way, being creative connects me with my authentic, spiritual identity.
For its part, The Artist’s Way is a pathway that leads to the recovery of the fragmented aspects of our own individual soul. Through the activity of our conscious, creative expression, we recover the soul. The Artist’s Way offers a set of practical strategies that, if you implement them in your life, will inevitably lead you to the discovery of your own authentic creative self. To this end, Chapter 2 of The Artist’s Way focuses on “recovering a sense of identity,” which is the same as saying recovering a sense of your authentic creative self.
Who Do You Think You Are?
Julia Cameron emphasizes that a strong sense of “self definition” is a major component of creative recovery. Who do you think you are? Unity’s Second Principle tells you that you are created in the image and likeness of God, the ultimate Creator. If God is creative by nature, then so are you. You are a natural born creator, infused with unlimited creative potential. This is your natural spiritual identity.
But, let me ask in all sincerity, do you really believe that about yourself? Do you routinely affirm for yourself that you are a Child of God, created in the image and likeness of the Master Creator, and that you are, in truth, a co-creator of this experience? Or, have you fallen into the all too common habit of believing that some other smaller, more limited self is the authentic you? Answering these kinds of questions for yourself will begin to give you a sense of your own self-identity. Who do you think you are?
You Are What You Think You Are…Sort Of
Unity’s Third Principle emphasizes the spiritual truth that we are creating our reality by the thoughts and feelings we allow to dominate in our consciousness. This “principle” is true for each one of us, whether we are conscious of it or not. Who and what we believe we are is determined by who and what we think we are.
James Allen explored this same idea some 100 years ago in his pithy, spiritually-rich, best seller, As A Man Thinketh. In that tiny, but powerful, book, Allen expanded on the ideas embodied in Unity’s Third Principle, and also reflects the same truth Julia Cameron is playing with in The Artist’s Way. James Allen, Charles Fillmore and Julia Cameron would all agree that the activity of our thinking is critical to the quality of our experience. Allen’s book reflected the same truths embodied in Unity principles, as do the practical strategies of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. They are all cut from the same spiritual cloth as it were.
You are what you think you are. Well, sort of. Or, at the very least, not necessarily. It should be obvious to us all by now that our thinking can be wrong. It is virtually certain that each one of us has been wrong at some time or other, about some thing or other. It is likely we have even been wrong in our thinking as recently as today. So, if we can be wrong in our thinking about something, then we could also be wrong in our thinking about who and what we are. You are not always what you think you are, especially when what you think you are is wrong.
What Are You Thinking? No, Really…What Are You Thinking?
You and I, each one of us, is the master and architect of our own thoughts and feelings. At this point in our lives, we have thought countless things about who and what we are. We probably have multiple “identities” or personality selves with which we identify. We have social identities, political identities, socio-economic identities, or favorite sports team identities. We might also get our identity confused with our personal history. The list is virtually endless for things with which we could identify, and if you are like me, you have chosen your fair share of them to experience, possibly even someone else’s share, too.
In all of that “identity” activity, how often do you pause to reflect on what you might be thinking and feeling about your own authentic spiritual identity? Our authentic spiritual identity transcends every single societal identification we could conjure. This is because our authentic spiritual identity is grounded in unity and oneness.
It is our most foundational identification, the place on the spectrum of creative possibility where we are all the same. Are you allowing the truth of that “identity” to dominate in the activity of your thoughts and feelings? Or, has it been crowded out by more worldly identities? What are you really thinking about who and what you are?
Created In The Image And Likeness…
As stated above in Unity’s Second Principle, we are, each one of us, created in the image and likeness of God, the Master Creator of All. Being created in the “image and likeness” of Creation itself, we are created as creators. This is our birthright, our most fundamental spiritual identity. We are all creative beings; and we all have this in common. This is our foundational identity. This is true of us before we were ever named, or incarnated, before we ever joined a club, a group, a team, a party or a rock band.
We are created to be creators. We are, and have always been, creating our experience. We are co-creators of the universal experience, creating right along with the Master Creator of All. It has been this way forever, and will be this way for the time to come. Our part is to play our part, to be conscious co-creators of this experience, and to assume responsibility for the parts we are playing and the events we are creating.
You Are A Natural Born Creator
If you and I are created in the image and likeness of God, and God is the Ultimate Creator, then we are naturally born creators. Beyond breathing and feeding ourselves, creativity is our most fundamental activity. If we are not being creatively active in our lives, we are, in effect, acting in opposition to our own true and authentic nature as creators.
If we are acting in opposition to our true nature, life is a struggle. It doesn’t have to be this way, but that’s what happens when we work against the tide, so to speak, instead of going with the natural, creative flow of the universe. Trying to be something you were not born to be is ultimately frustrating for anyone. It can and will wear down your soul, and sap your creative power.
However, the good news is you were born a Child of God, created in the image and likeness of the Master Creator. You have been divinely infused with unlimited creative potential. You are a natural born creator; that’s who you are. That is your authentic, divine identity, the you that you were born to be. The you that you may have lost sight of from time to time. The you that you may be trying to recover. You are a natural born creator; that’s who you are.
Create something. Write a song. Paint a sunset. Shoot some photos. Draw a picture. Bake a pineapple upside down cake with your favorite nuts and a cream cheese drizzle. Create something! Today! Right now! What are you waiting for? You are only going out to meet your own authentic self, your true creative soul. Piece of cake.