Personal story, quotations to write by

An awakening

I have over the last two months been going through the program of creative recovery set out in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: a course in discovering and recovering your creative self. It is a program that I have begun before but not persisted with in the way that I am this time. And it is making a difference. Now I am sharing my creativity more openly, and this blog is the result. Now my creativity is appreciated – thank you, dear readers and likers of the internet.

And now I treat myself and my creativity more gently – small steps, beautiful moments, not big paralysing overhauls. It is like the poem I wrote, “simple steps.”, and it is satisfying to know that the life you want is within reach if you take simple, small steps.

I am in week 8 of the program, which focuses on recovering a sense of strength. Cameron urges the recovering artist to do the simple things each day because there is always one action you can take each day to support your creativity. Along the way she quotes a line from the American poet, influenced by Zen buddhism, Theodore Roethke. The line “you learn by going where you have to go.”

I thought I would look up the whole poem from which this line is taken, as a tribute to this awakening sense of strength.

I discovered a beautiful and meditative villanelle, quoted here from the poetry foundation website that does all the right things about acknowledging copyright and all that.

The Waking


I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   

I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.   

I learn by going where I have to go. 
We think by feeling. What is there to know?   

I hear my being dance from ear to ear.   

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. 
Of those so close beside me, which are you?   

God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,   

And learn by going where I have to go. 
Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?   

The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;   

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. 
Great Nature has another thing to do   

To you and me; so take the lively air,   

And, lovely, learn by going where to go. 
This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.   

What falls away is always. And is near.   

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.   

I learn by going where I have to go.

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