Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends.(The Beatles and Asta)

In the last few weeks my husband came off his racing bike and broke a rib, our son was in and out of hospital with unexplained pain, our dog died and then we accidentally ran over our young neighbour's dog. During this time I stumbled upon creative artists -a singer, visual artists, a photographer, writers - who were starting an online support group, an 'Artist's Way' circle. (For those who don't know of 'The Artist's Way'- the author is Julia Cameron and it is a creative recovery workbook. It has helped many, many blocked creatives. I am one of them. It was definitely the springboard that led to my first published magazine articles.)

It is at least 10 years since I last worked through this book and so I am enjoying exploring its pages again. What has given me the most joy, this time, is the support of fellow creatives. Who else understands the agony of being blocked. I know poet Maya Angelou gets it. This quote of her's says it all - 'There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.' Who else can get the sheer thrill of breakthroughs than a fellow artist?

So what is the connection between my husband's broken ribs or my son's illness, the arts and the online support group? It is this: the healing power of art and the comfort of artistic friends -in particular Christian friends who are artists.

While my son was on morphine for excruciating pain I doodled in my journal - I drew him on his bed with the drip in his arm and a peg on his finger and I wrote my fears across the page. In the early morning before I went to see him in hospital I wrote about it in my 3 morning pages (an Artist's Way practice. I see it as talking to God on paper.).Then I wrote another 500 words of the novel I am playing with, which I started purely for fun while working through 'The Artist's Way' again. I thought of that phrase - 'writing to save your life', and for the first time I could apply that to me. The morning pages were cathartic, healing, they soothed me - here I sat with God. The novel was sheer pleasure - a joy. God used my love of writing to keep me afloat. And my AW (Artist's Way) 'friends' cheered me on as I filled them in on my progress, at our weekly check ins. The lovely thing about The Artist's Way is the spiritual side of this book, while not Christian, it does allow for a creator and therefore talk of God is allowed (perhaps a rare thing today).

And then there is another group - a writers' online prayer group. I know some of these precious individuals in person, others I haven't met but I feel I know them well, nonetheless. They are all Australian Christian Writers and I love them to bits. Their love and prayerful consideration of my emails has moved me to tears recently. They are always there with a kind word and I know they are praying for me and that knowledge helps me to breathe easier. This group cares for the whole of me - for my writing, my art, my hopes and dreams and for my everyday, walking around life. They care for my children, my husband and even my pets. They listen to my fears. They have prayed for a dying friend and for my emotional pain. They share my successes, and excitement at life. These friends are prayer partners who write, and somehow this makes all the difference.

So I am writing this to say if you are a writer and you don't have a support group around you to champion you on, through the good and bad times of writing and everyday life, then please consider finding yourself one or start one. And never, ever stop being the creative person that God has wired you to be. It will heal you. It will comfort you. God may even use it to speak to others.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks Asta for sharing with us. It does seem things dump on us all at one time, doesn't it? How would we cope if we didn't have the dear Lord and our friends to uphold us at times like these? It's interesting that these experiences have been used to take you deeper into your creative side also. There's a lot of truth in the old adage, No pain, no gain!

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  2. Thanks Asta for sharing part of your journey with us. It made a great read. I do agree that friends and family who understand and pray for us makes life pretty good and pretty livable through the hard times. And yes, I also agree that creating something new is great therapy. I am writing my latest book out of a very painful period in my life and it has brought me so much strength and healing. Thanks for sharing. Good job! :)

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  3. I hope your son's health is improving, and so are your husband's ribs! Thanks, Asta, for sharing how God brought blessing out of a painful situation - an encouraging reminder.

    You also mentioned the importance of prayer support. I wander what that might spawn among your readers? Watchman Nee once said that God's train won't roll where we haven't laid the tracks through prayer. Hmmm...

    Do any of you feel the need for your own caring prayer support group of fellow writers? If you would like to participate in starting such a group, email me at margaret.lepke@gmail.com

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  4. Hey Asta, I love "The Artist's Way." Having a group is an excellent idea. Julia Cameron knows the sort of encouragement creative people need. I'm glad to hear you used your creativity to help you through your recent hard times.

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  5. Thanks all for your lovely words. Very encouraging indeed. Asta x

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  6. The writers' prayer group has blessed me beyond measure too Asta, they are wonderful group of people. Love you guys.

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  7. My goodness! that was a challenging series of events. Even though your group couldn’t all be there to give you a physical hug, they certainly sound as though they were there to give you an emotional and spiritual one. What a blessing.

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  8. Thanks Asta - great post - I knew this was something I was lacking so I put requests out on facebook and twitter and have found a group - though not Christian - there are a couple of Christians in the group.

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  9. Sorry to hear you'd had such a rough time, Asta. I'm in the process of organising a prayer loop and general email loop for those belonging to Christian Writers Downunder. Pretty soon we'll all be able to support each other that way too.

    Hugs

    Lee

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  10. Hi Asta, I'm praying your life is becoming manageable again. I have been a member of a writing and prayer group for many years, and I have found the support invaluable. Also, 'The Artists' Way' is one of my reference books, too.

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  11. Lee that is marvelous. Michelle - great to hear about your group. Laura and Paula - always lovely to know that others have enjoyed Julia Cameron's book. Wouldn't it be wonderful to write a book like that that has influenced and encouraged so many?! I'm up to week 8 this time around and had another wonderful artist's date at the coffee shop with my journal and trusty pens!Asta x

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  12. Asta, thanks for sharing with us and I'm glad you have a supportive prayer group. Lee, I'm looking forward to hearing about your new initiatives for our group :)

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