healing the creative within

In 1992, Julia Cameron wrote the book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. This site is a call and an offering to my fellow Helenians to engage in this journey together – reading the book (one chapter per week), doing the Morning Pages (every day), and gathering together for a couple of hours (once a week) to discuss, explore, and share our experiences in a safe and supportive environment.

You don’t have to be an artist or a writer – nor do you have to be religious or spiritual – to do The Artist’s Way. This is a personal journey of self-exploration which will likely lead to things far greater than labels or beliefs.

The Artist’s Way is not exclusively about writing—it is about discovering and developing the artist within, whether a painter, poet, screenwriter, or musician—but it is a lot about writing. If you have always wanted to pursue a creative dream, have always wanted to play and create with words or paints, this book will gently get you started and help you learn all kinds of paying-attention techniques; and that, after all, is what being an artist is all about. It’s about learning to pay attention.

-Anne Lamott

“Twenty-five years ago, I published The Artist’s Way, a book that I think of as a support kit for artists. Its popularity caught me by surprise. I thought I was writing a book for myself and a handful of friends. Instead, I wrote a book that spoke to millions. It had a central premise—we are all creative— and with the use of a few simple tools, we can all become more creative.  

Creativity, I believed, was a spiritual practice. We had only to open ourselves up to the Great Creator working through us. We became channels for spiritual energy to enter the world. Writing, painting, dancing, acting—no matter what form our creativity took, the Great Creator caused us to flourish. And so, encounters like mine in the cafe became commonplace.  

The sentence is always the same:
‘Your book changed my life.’ 

 ‘No,’ I often reply. ‘You changed your life.
You used the tools I laid out for you.'”

-Julia Cameron

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about

It was my father who introduced me to The Artist’s Way. “That’s cool,” I said with the indifference of a woman who, in her early 30s, was working full time, carrying a full course load at university, raising two young kids alone – also buried under a mortgage, car payment, and more credit card debt than should be legal.

Years later, and more or less in the same boat – except by then, I was pushing 40 and finishing up grad school; little else had changed in my life. I was stagnating and feeling suffocated by a job I absolutely hated while caught up in all of the entanglements that come with a path not so much chosen as one haphazardly stumbled upon. Needless to say, I fell into a deep, scary, didn’t-care-if-I-lived-or-died depression as I took inventory of my life and who I was in it.

Exactly six months before I turned 40, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, I made myself go to the bookstore to find some salvation because I’d convinced myself that the answer to my problems was sitting on a bookshelf somewhere – all I needed to do was find it.

I crept around the Self-Help section looking for a remedy to soothe the ominous swamp monster who’d taken possession of my mind, body, and soul. Fortunately, that remedy appeared swiftly as I spied a single copy of The Artist’s Way tucked among the brightly-colored spines of other books vying for the attention of similarly injured souls. I could barely make out the title of the book against its dark, earthy cover artwork, yet I recognized it immediately, of course, having seen my dad’s well-worn and dogeared copy laying around over the years.

I picked it up, read the introduction, thumbed through a few of the chapters, and decided that it was time. That was February 25, 2007 – I know this because I wrote the date I purchased it on the inside cover.

So began the 12-week practice; the Morning Pages, the Artist’s Date, the various exercises offered in the book. Did my life change in sudden and unexpected ways? “Yes” seems too simplistic a response, but it’s going to have to suffice for the purpose of this writing. Engaging in this practice allowed me to blossom, evolve, and change my life in ways I’d never even imagined possible. My impulse here is to share with you how, specifically (enthusiastically, even), but the wisdom of my higher-self recommends that this is a conversation better shared in person.

The Artist’s Way is not a challenge, nor is it a competition; it is the gift of permission to the creative being inside of you – permission to fall into alignment with your higher-self and discover the infinite possibilities available to you.

My name is Shannon and, like you, I’m a creative. My husband and I moved to Helena in April, 2019 and, for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m home. I’ve met so many wonderful, talented, intelligent, incredible, successful, amazing women since landing in Helena and, in a very full-circle kind of way, I’ve been led to start a gathering in this new and wonderful place – the first of many, I hope.

My intention is to create a space for this 12-week recovery/discovery process to take place in a very organic way – not to guide, direct, or teach you, but to help you create the space for you to do it yourself.

Whether it’s your first time doing The Artist’s Way or your tenth – there are always new places to explore and awaken within our creative selves and countless, miraculous discoveries to be made. Huzzah!

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12-weeks | 12 gatherings

Each week, you will endeavor this journey on your own – taking one chapter at a time. Write your Morning Pages, take yourself out on an Artist Date, and complete any or all of the exercises offered that week.

Once a week, we’ll get together for a couple of hours to discuss and share our experiences specific to the previous week’s work. The getting-together is an integral part of the journey; it helps create a sense of accountability – not to others, but to ourselves – it also plays a big part in helping to manifest those things which you’re beginning to explore and bring into your life – into your being. The getting-together is also a wonderful opportunity to be a part of the creative spark; the energy ignited in you as a result of this work is a powerful force – and it’s contagious in all the right ways.


Week One:
Recovering a Sense of Safety
Week Two:
Recovering a Sense of Identity
Week Three:
Recovering a Sense of Power

Week Four:
Recovering a Sense of Integrity
Week Five:
Recovering a Sense of Possibility
Week Six:
Recovering a Sense of Abundance

Week Seven:
Recovering a Sense of Connection
Week Eight:
Recovering a Sense of Strength
Week Nine:
Recovering a Sense of Compassion

Week Ten:
Recovering a Sense of Protection
Week Eleven:
Recovering a Sense of Autonomy
Week Twelve:
Recovering a Sense of Faith

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get the book

The only things you’ll need to work your way through the 12-week journey are the book, The Artist’s Way (by Julia Cameron), a notebook or journal, a pen, and the willingness to give yourself permission to move through your practice one day at a time.

As the former owner of a small, indie bookshop (one of the side-effects of doing The Artist’s Way), I’d encourage you to patronize a local, brick and mortar, independently-owned bookshop to acquire your copy of The Artist’s Way. The Montana Book Co. in Helena would love to help you with that, I’m certain!

Aside from the book, and maybe a notebook, there is no cost to participate in this 12-week journey and, of course, all are welcome!

Panel 4

connect

If you’re interested in participating in the next 12-Week Artist’s Way journey, please send me a note and I’ll reach out to you with details!