*NEW VEIN OF GOLD GROUP STARTING JANUARY 2018*

 

Have you read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way? Did you do morning pages and artist’s dates and experience a burst in creativity? Did you gradually stop doing them and fall back into old stuck patterns?

Do you want to go deeper into this transformational work and begin to create the life and art you want?

Join me and other Artist Way alumni as we explore Julia Cameron’s follow-up book The Vein of Gold.

[If you have not worked through The Artist’s Way see here https://www.susantelford.com/2017/10/30/new-artists-way-…ing-january-2018/ to sign up for the new Artist’s Way group, also starting in January 2018]

The Vein of Gold course is completely free and will last for 30 weeks. We will work in blocks of 4-5 weeks with regular catch-up weeks to review and consolidate the material.  You will gain access to a private Facebook group for support and discussion.

COURSE OVERVIEW

WEEK 1 – PREPARATION

Introducing the tools for the journey

WEEKS 2-8 – THE KINGDOM OF STORY

Writing about our lives to reconnect with what we love.

WEEKS 9-12 – THE KINGDOM OF SIGHT

Slowing down to look at our lives. Discovering the visual cues that spark creativity.

WEEKS 13-14 – THE KINGDOM OF SOUND

An exploration of the “tone” of our lives, looking at sound, silence and safety. Developing our unique voice in the world.

WEEKS 15-19 – THE KINGDOM OF ATTITUDE

We examine how our attitude to self and others affects our ability to create.

WEEKS 20-24 – THE KINGDOM OF RELATIONSHIPS

We look at our relationships. How do we choose companions on the creative path?

WEEKS 25-28 – THE KINGDOM OF SPIRITUALITY

Defining and refining our beliefs

WEEKS 29-30 – THE KINGDOM OF POSSIBILITY

What has become possible as we reach the end of our journey together? How can we fully habit our own vision for a creative life?

Each week is structured as follows (specific suggestions will be posted every day in the FB group)

SUNDAY

Selected reading from The Vein of Gold (you need the book!)

MONDAY – FRIDAY

A variety of tasks – usually one a day that will allow you to play with the material and experience growth, renewal and healing.

SATURDAY

Check-in day. What did you discover this week? A chance to share with other group members.

Interested? Please click here to join https://m.facebook.com/groups/366843187099128

*Please note that there are now only 14 places available.*

To read what others wrote about their experience, please go to my About page here https://www.susantelford.com/

 

 

 

 

NEW ARTIST’S WAY GROUP BEGINNING JANUARY 2018

Another free Artist’s Way group is beginning in January 2018.

The Artist’s Way, a book written by Julia Cameron is a course in “discovering and recovering your creative self”. I have already run a very successful group and together we worked through the book as a way to unblock the creativity inside all of us.  See my about page for testimonials here https://www.susantelford.com/

Julia introduces tools such as morning pages and artist’s dates as a way to free up the creative energy that is often locked away under layers of fear, self-doubt and insecurity.

The course is aimed at everyone who wants to be more creative, whether as writers, painters, actors, musicians or if you just want to live a more creative life. It is an excellent tool for examining and releasing everything that is blocking us from expressing ourselves fully in the world.

The course will run for 15 weeks to allow time for catch-up weeks after every 4 weeks. Previous group members have found this very useful to review and consolidate the material and deepen their experience.

If you are interested , please click here https://m.facebook.com/groups/140717476493970 to be added to our Facebook group for the course. Please note there are only 35 places to ensure that group members can get to know each other (and me!)

Dear Jane

 

This is is a piece I wrote in a recent writing class. The brief was to write an encouraging letter to a young writer.

 

Dear Jane,

I have been wondering how I could reply to your last letter. I have waited so long to receive it, though I knew one day it would come.

Strangely, since I read it, I have been taken up with thoughts of swans.

I agree that, as a child, like the Ugly Duckling, you were different to those around you. Even in your own family, you felt as if you didn’t belong. You struggled so hard to fit in and be accepted. I watched you spend yourself trying to please everyone, trying to fulfil the expectations of others.

The light I saw in your eyes had almost gone out.

Almost.

But now, the dreams you had as a girl, that were set aside amid the frantic pace of your life have come tapping on the window of your soul once more.

I hear in your words the longing for something more, something you can barely name. You speak of lives you might have lived. But you say the alarm is set for 6, there is no time for dreams.

Yet I hear the longing in every word you write.

You say you are writing again, a journal, words full of longing and despair, words you say you will show no one. Words you wish you could share with the world.

Listen to that voice, Jane. The longing inside you is beginning to speak.

This longing will not let you go because the world needs YOUR voice. We need your love, your pain, your loneliness, your belonging, your joy, your sorrow, the light in your eyes, the tears streaming down your face. We need to read about how you became a swan. For swan you are, Jane, ready at last to take your place in the world.

It won’t be easy, Jane. There is that old fear of rejection, the sense that others have done it better, written words more eloquent than yours could ever be. But I have learned in my 70 years on earth, that the Grace that placed the longing in your heart will fulfil that longing if you let it. You need only consent to come out of hiding, to allow your light to shine to remind us of our own.

Without your voice, the song is incomplete, the poem unfinished, the longing in so many of us unexpressed and unresolved. Your longing, expressed as you, will heal us all.

My dearest Jane, give yourself to the Grace that waits to hold you. You will find yourself, as Rilke said, like the swan, at home at last in the water, “unmoving and marvellously calm, pleased to be carried”.

 

With love

Aunt Sue.

 

Swan reflections

 

Among it all

GOD LIVES HERE

Sticky orange scented fingers
A cloudless sky
Two shafts of light
God lives here

A dimly lit kitchen
A raging hurt boy-husband
Ugly tears, mind stopped in grief
God lives here

Sitting in meditation
Amid Tibetan Buddhist artefacts
Sunlight patch on wooden floor
God lives here

Lying in bed
Exhaustion and tears
The sunlight in the trees
God lives here

Raging against injustice
The mind wants to be right
The piercing light of nothing wrong
God lives here

The flea infested house
The mad scratch of itchy puppy
The jolt of plans gone wrong
God lives here

No journey to take
No plans to make
God lives here
Among it all.

A vessel of the Divine?

I prayed

“Make me a vessel of the Divine.”

God laughed.

“That is like the rose asking me to make it a flower.”
Does the rose need my assistance to become a flower?
Which good works must it do to attain flowerhood?

All the rose can do is bloom, at its appointed hour
Unashamed to be a rose
unafraid to show her beauty.
Being only what she is.

You want to be a vessel of my love?
You are already that.

Now, bloom where you are planted
Be the variety of rose
Only you can be
In your garden, among the other flowers.

Some will show their thorns
They are as beloved
As those who perfume the world.

Stop looking outside yourself
Stop striving
The end of suffering is here
Closer than your breath
Will you give up all worlds
But this, appearing now?

Give up the search
Give up your longing
Be a rose.”

 

The River of Joy

Step into the river
Of love-soaked joy
It will carry you home

Silence monkey-mind objections
Loosen tight fingers of control
I gave you Eden
Accept my gift

Stop, now
Watch the trees
Leaves and branches moved by Love
Watch the rise and fall of your chest
Breathed by Love
Watch the actions of your body
Moved by Joy

Listen, now
The birdsong
Purring cat, rustling paper
Everything, here, now
For your pleasure

Taste, now
The bounty of nature
Sweet fruit, Divine nectar
For you, my love, for you.

Open all your windows
Smell salt sea air
Incense of the gods
Let me blow through you.

Let me touch you, now
Feel the light-filled bursts of joy
Erupting in your cells

I left my breadcrumbs
In the last place you thought to look
See them, now
Where they always were?
Here, now
Inside, outside
No difference.

Step into the river
Of love-soaked joy
It will carry you home.

I am here

Last year, I lost my career to the much misunderstood illness, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was unable to get out of bed for 3 months. It took another 6 months to leave the house. While there was no shortage of well-meaning advice, I still felt alone and misunderstood, longing for someone to say something truly helpful. Finally, during Martha Beck’s writing course, Write into Light, I wrote the words I wish I had heard. Maybe, in the end, all we really need is for someone to be with us exactly as we are.

I AM HERE

I know you cannot believe what has happened. You didn’t deserve this.
Some people will tell you bad things happen to good people, that no-one escapes the suffering. Others will tell you it is all an illusion, some Cosmic game designed to wake you up and enlighten you. Right now, you feel that both perspectives are a crock of shit. Neither helps you in this moment, when the pain is so bad it affects your breathing, when you feel that you can’t go on.

I’ll be honest, I wanted to tell you that there is nothing wrong, that at some soul level, everything is unfolding as it must, that some part of you chose this. That is what I was going to say to you today, but the words stuck in my throat.

So, instead, I will hold your hand. I will make you tea. I will stroke your hair as you cry. I will listen to you as you tell me how life is for you right now. I will not make you wrong for feeling as you feel. I will not try to impose my view of reality onto what I cannot know to be true for you.

I will not leave you alone in your pain. I will not present myself to you as someone who knows anything better than you. You are the authority on your own life. I am done with platitudes and promises of future bliss.

This is where life is happening, here amid the pain, the snot and the disappointments. The broken heart is real, the pain in the body hurts, the grief of losing what you love tears you in two. I will not minimise this in my stories of Fierce Grace and nothing wrong.

Can I just sit with you? Can I just love you exactly as you are?
That is all I have to offer you today.

I cannot fix anything for you, it is not mine to fix. All my words are meaningless now. Perhaps, in your own time, you will find your own words, your own path. Perhaps, not. How could I know?

Today, this is my path: to be with you as you face this unexpected horror that has left you bereft. The only thing I know for sure is that I will no longer reject this moment, no matter what is arising. I will not reject your experience or mine. I will not overlay this present reality with words of encouragement, no matter how well intentioned. I will not tell you how to feel, how to live, how to heal.

I looked into my heart today, for the wisest words I could give to you.

All I found was “I am here”.

 

 

 

 

 

Are there two of me?

 

Yesterday, it occurred to me that if my soul is a spark of the Divine and has come into this life for a specific purpose and if, also, along the way I have developed an egoic personality that has been conditioned by my childhood influences, upbringing, education and what was expected of me, then this explains the feeling I have increasingly had of there being 2 voices in my head (which I have called wss ( wee scared self) and WSS (Witness Susan self)).

I rationalised that it is because I am a Gemini. Others describe it as an angel and a devil. In a Scottish cartoon, Oor Wullie, that I read as a child, Wullie was often depicted with an angel on one shoulder and devil holding a pitchfork on the other, both whispering in his ears, trying to persuade him to be good or bad.

But, according to Eckhart Tolle and other enlightened masters , there are not two in reality. Eckhart realised this when he was very depressed and thinking of suicide. In the Power of Now, Eckhart writes that one night he said “I can’t live with myself any longer” which led him to question who is the “I” who can’t live with “myself” How could there be two of him? This led to a complete collapse of his egoic personality and what remained was his soul, Consciousness with a capital C, now free to live unopposed through him.

Byron Katie describes a similar experience in her book Loving what is. She, also, was in such a deep depression that she felt too unworthy to even sleep in a bed. Lying on the bathroom floor feeling unable to go on, a cockroach crawled over her foot and when she opened her eyes, the old, depressed Katie was gone, replaced by Consciousness.

These experiences are radical awakenings and the egoic mind can use them to divert us from our own more subtle awakenings.
When we begin to become aware of our souls, often, it seems, in the midst of great suffering, we may also still be aware of our egoic selves. This can be discouraging and lead to us question our experience and dismiss what is awakening in us as imagination or delusion.

The egoic self is full of fear, its prime motivation is to be loved and accepted and it tries many strategies to achieve this. It wants to be comfortable and in control at all times.

Seeing this in myself has awakened self-compassion. The fearful egoic part of me does not need to be resisted, squashed, berated or killed. She only needs my love. Soothing myself in this way quiets her voice inside me. I think this is what the Buddha meant when he said “Love yourself as if you were your own beloved child”.

Most of us, when faced with a sobbing, frightened child would reach out and comfort it. So it is with the frightened child that lies within me. It is the soul that comforts the ego until it can let go completely. The more we are able to allow all our emotions, receive them and comfort them as the frightened children they are, the more space the soul has and the more we can listen to and follow its still, small voice.

Living in this way, for a while, we come to to the realisation that in every moment we have a choice about which voice we listen to: the soul’s voice that leads us with love or the ego’s that leads from fear.

I have decided to follow the soul’s voice, trusting she knows what is best for me, that she has information that I need only listen to and follow. This is not difficult to discern, it is always what is happening right now.

Until I have my own cockroach experience (which is likely not my path) I will continue to soothe my wee scared self.
My attitude to her is you are welcome here, just as you are, with all your fears and painful emotions. I see you, I love you, I will comfort you but you are no longer running the show.

Perhaps by doing this, her voice will subside and one day disappear altogether. Or perhaps not, it doesn’t really matter. This life of surrender to what is and compassion for the part of me that still freaks out is enough.

Artist’s Way Discussion Group

 

A few years ago I bought The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. It is a “12 week course in discovering and recovering your creative self”. I worked through it as a way to unblock the creativity inside me. Julia introduces tools such as morning pages and artist’s dates as a way to free up the creative energy that is often locked away under layers of fear, self-doubt and insecurity.

The course is aimed at everyone who wants to be more creative, whether as writers, painters, actors, musicians or even if you just want to live a more creative life. It is an excellent tool for examining and releasing everything that is blocking us from expressing ourselves fully in the world.

I have been through the course a couple of times and have started it and abandoned it more times than I care to admit. So I had the idea to set up a private Facebook Group to work through the course with others.

If you are interested in joining me for support and accountability please go to

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1094451034019974/ 

and click Join Group.

I will leave enrolments open for a week, then change the group settings to Secret and we can get started.