A Little Cheering Ceremony

I worked part of this gorgeous Sunday, so it was late afternoon before I turned my attention back to the question I asked this morning.

How shall we play today? 

This morning I had received a quick flash, a mental image of me sitting in candlelight. By afternoon, curious about lighting candles and with no clear idea yet of what I was supposed to do, I asked the question again.

How shall we play today?

A Little Cheering Ceremony

This time, a clear image of Julia Cameron’s book, Walking in This World, came to mind. I am almost finished with this creativity book, and working through a chapter strongly appealed to me.

I didn’t know how reading a chapter in the book connected to candlelight, but I didn’t need to know. Trusting the guidance given is an important part of my journey. I grabbed the book and a pencil, and began reading.

It was on page 229 that a paragraph caught my attention, causing my heart rate to increase. Julia writes about taking the heart seriously and listening to it. She says, “A heart does not need to be told, ‘Oh, toughen up’. It needs you to plan a tiny cheering ceremony and execute it.” 

I was captivated. I love little rituals and ceremonies, reminders of my spiritual walk and the symbolism and messages that I discover along the way. I knew just what to do!

A Little Cheering Ceremony
A Little Cheering Ceremony
I lit candles throughout my bedroom, realizing this was the mental picture I was given early in the day. The string of Edison bulbs added additional soft white light to the room. I prepared hot herbal tea in a dainty vintage tea cup, for all my favorite rituals involve hot tea, and sectioned a blood orange.

I arranged a pretty tray to hold my tea and orange slices, and included a silver heart tea light holder from Scotland and a stone burner with a circle of charcoal smoldering within. When the briquette was ashen, I sprinkled dried herbs from my garden on top of it. They released an earthy scent as they burned, the fragrant smoke curling into the room.

A Little Cheering Ceremony
In the next section of the book, Julia suggested making a list of 50 things my heart loves. This seemed to me to be the perfect inclusion for my little cheering ritual. In my candle lit bedroom, surrounded by things that I love, I had no problem coming up with 50 things that make my heart sing and bring me great joy.

I could have listed hundreds of things that my heart loves. I stoppped writing at 61. I had achieved the desired conclusion, which was to recognize that I live in a “rich, savory and enjoyable world where, if I will just take heart, things are bound to work out well.”

A Little Cheering Ceremony
Before I began my little cheering ceremony, I looked up the word “cheer”. For this ritual, I adopted the meaning  – “to give support to, to encourage, exhilerate, gladden, hearten.” The word originated from the Greek word kara, meaning head, and morphed through Latin and Old French to chiere, meaning face. The sense was that cheer was an outward expression of an inward condition. Beautiful.

My little cheering ceremony brought me great joy. I loved taking the time to prepare a ritual with the intention of supporting and gladdening my heart. How very precious. How very meaningful. Cheer did indeed expand my heart, becoming an expression of quiet joy on my face.

This may become a cherished weekly ceremony.

A Little Cheering Ceremony
Check out Julia Cameron’s book, Walking in This World:

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Launching Arrows of Desire

I’m excited to be exploring my creative side more deeply, as I begin Walking in this World, a 12 week course by Julia Cameron. The Morning Pages flowed. I carried quiet joy with me as my time naturally divided today between real estate work and creative endeavors. And I felt anticipation as I delved into chapter one. 

I know without doubt that I have been invited into this journey, as elements in the first chapter lined up with recent surrenders, thoughts and symbols. Some of my unspoken questions, even, were printed right there in black and white. 

As I was reading, I came to a section that compared launching a creative project to firing arrows of desire. Julia asks the reader to imagine eyeing a target as the arrow of desire, representing the project, is slowly pulled back. Overthinking about letting that arrow fly, by worrying about it, questioning its validity, or wondering if your aim is accurate, corrodes the confidence and ability with which that arrow could have sailed. She says, “We forget that intention is what creates direction. If we aim with the eye of our heart, then we aim truly and well.” 

Julia suggests we ask ourselves, “Do I want to make this?” If the answer is yes, fire that arrow. 

This was significant to me because the arrow is my secondary symbol for 2016. I’ve taken aim with a creative arrow before, and held onto it for so long that I became weary and shaky and lost the ability to let it fly. In fact, I wrote about that very topic in my Morning Pages hours before I read the chapter. My awareness was raised. And my intention. Let fly those arrows of desire. And follow them. 

Julia goes on to promise that when we fire the arrows of desire, when we actually start and work on projects, we trigger support for our dreams. I know that energy attracts like energy. I’ve seen that in my own life. I move toward a dream, and it moves toward me at the same time. Even small steps are rewarded with a response. 

With those thoughts in mind, I took an exercise from chapter one and expanded on it. The task was to write down 20 small creative actions that could be taken…baby steps, forward momentum, to get creativity flowing freely toward me. 

I created 30 actions, one for each day in the month of June. I wrote them out on pretty strips of paper and dropped them into a vintage glass pitcher. Starting tomorrow, I’ll draw out one slip every day, surrendering completely to the creative flow to see what task I select. 

I included creative actions such as Read about Italy, Write a Poem, Play in the Rain, Plant a Flower that I’ve Never Heard Of and Add a New Song to my iPhone Playlist. These are fun and creative actions that I can accomplish in a short amount of time. They are 30 arrows of desire that I will fire joyfully, playfully, taking steps toward the creative life that I wish to live. 

I’m taking aim. I don’t intend to hesitate. 

Walking in this World

I’m very excited today to have started another 12 week course written by Julia Cameron. Titled Walking in this World, this book continues the journey toward unbridled creativity that was begun in her first book, The Artist’s Way

Read my review of The Artist’s Way

Subtitled The Practical Art of Creativity, this sequel presents the next step in discovering and recovering the creative self. The book includes:

* A new tool for creativity – The Weekly Walk

* Strategies and techniques for breaking through difficult creative ground

* Guidance on developing the ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, and use this new awareness to fuel the creative process.

The two foundational tools from The Artist’s Way will be continued. 

The Morning Pages are three pages of free flowing writing, first thing every morning. The purpose of the daily Morning Pages is to clear energy from the mind, by transferring thoughts to paper, creating space for new ideas and inspiration to enter. 

The Artist’s Date is a once a week, hour long solo adventure, used to explore something festive or interesting to the creative consciousness, often referred to as the inner artist or the creative child. The Morning Pages are assigned work. The Artist’s Dates are assigned play! 

Although I have taken a break from doing both, I benefitted greatly from these two exercises as I worked through the last 12 week course. I’m ready to embrace and use both of these tools again. 

Picture taken on one of my walks through Wildcat Park near Shoal Creek. 

I am thrilled to add this third tool to my repertoire. The Weekly Walk is a weekly 20 minute walk, anywhere I choose. The purpose is to focus my thoughts, as I walk, and allow creative breakthroughs and inspirations to come. Walking puts my body in motion, while freeing up my mind. I know from experience that a body in motion attracts life, and an abundance of ideas. Some of my greatest “aha” moments have arisen as I walked, deep in thought. 

I have recently felt a tug to return to walking more frequently, especially in nature. In spite of the title of this new Julia Cameron book, I had no idea that a weekly walk was going to be an ongoing assignment. 

I’m not surprised. As I worked through The Artist’s Way, I encounter synchronicities and a Divine leading that was very in tune with each upcoming week of assignments. It would appear that the guidance and synchronicities have already begun. Those are my strong signals that it’s time for this next journey. 

I’m ready.