The Artist’s Way Basic Principles, Redux

One of the most valuable practices I’ve ever taken up was following the 12-week course of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I would recommend it to literally anyone, regardless of whether they consider themselves artists or not.

One of the few criticisms I might have about it is the reliance on an anthropomorphized “creator” in much of the writing, which resembles, for me, the Judaeo-Christian God. While there’s nothing wrong with that – some of my best friends are Judaeo-Christian! – it doesn’t resonate well with me.

Luckily, she invites people to re-write the principles and the “Artist’s Prayer” to suit your own beliefs. As mine are more in line with Soto Zen/Taoist practices, this is the version I created and use as a touchstone.

  1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.
  2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life – including ourselves.
  3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the universe’s creativity within us and our lives.
  4. We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, exist to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
  5. Creativity is a power the universe provides us. Using our creativity is our way of powering the universe in return.
  6. The refusal to be creative is self-delusion and is counter to our true nature.
  7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to the universe: our natural intended behavior.
  8. As we open our creative channel to the creativity in the universe, many gentle but powerful changes are there to be noticed.
  9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.
  10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a universal source. As we move toward our dreams, we move towards aligning ourselves with the universe.

Addendum: as mentioned, Julia Cameron also recommends you re-write the “Artist’s Prayer.” While I have done that, I found that the best example of this done by the writer Ellen A. Wilkin, and I highly recommend reading it

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