Julia Cameron describes a two step process in the Artist’s Way to recovering your creativity, which she also claims to be the foundational process of getting anything you want. She says step #1 is to do the footwork. We shake the tree, we become internally clear and focused on our dreams. We clear away our internal barriers to acting on it (such as our limiting beliefs, our low self-worth, our guilt for getting things we want when others are not getting it etc). Step #1, in my opinion, is the hardest part.
Step #2 is simpler: taking a few concrete steps in the direction of the dream to trigger the synchronous good, and having faith. Here we must be alert, because if not alert, we may not notice the synchronicity, and we must be open, because even if we shook the apple tree, the universe might give us oranges and we must be able to accept this generosity. We must allow the universe to meet our needs and fulfil our dreams in the way it will, and not in the way we will it to be. In short, she says recovering our creativity (and getting things we want) is the process of finding the river and saying yes to its flows, rapids and all.
I believe in the process she describes on most days than not (some days I am simply too cynical). I believe in it because this process worked for me in exactly this way twice so far:
Three years ago, I was wanting to move to Europe. In truth, I had been wanting to move to Europe for longer than that - since I had graduated from college eight years ago. I had gone to college in the US, had come back to Turkey sooner than expected mostly due to the sudden death of my father, and since my return, I had been dreaming that I would one day live in Europe. Europe seemed more human, more dense, more full of colours, texture, history, character, and closer to home than the US. But I was feeling extremely guilty about leaving my mom alone in Turkey after the loss of my father, and I had a narrative of “I cannot find a job in Europe - no company will sponsor my visa”. I did a lot of work to clear away my internal barriers (step #1), and I worked with a life coach on this topic (step #2).
Then out of nowhere a high school friend I hadn’t spoken to in years messaged me about the recruiting dinner of his company in London. I didn’t get that job and was very disappointed, but this interview process clarified my goal of moving to Europe and introduced me to a key person who helped my tremendously in the following months by connecting me to many companies in Europe. As fate had it, one or two months later, on a cold February morning, I suddenly lost my job. Following our founder’s announcement that he was closing down the operations of our 400 people startup, I plunged into searching for other product management jobs in Istanbul, and didn’t find anything to my liking. That was it. Things had finally precipitated. The water had reached the boiling temperature. Firmly, very firmly, I decided: I was moving to Europe.
I started an intense two month period of job search and networking with a focus on London and Berlin, but ended up with a job in Paris. I had shook the apple tree, and I had gotten oranges. I loved Paris but it seemed like a crazy adventure to pack my things and move there at 27, not knowing anyone in Paris, not speaking French fluently. I went with it anyway. As my former boss says it beautifully, "I expanded my heart to welcome another city into it". Interestingly, Paris gave me all the things I didn’t know I needed: more art than I had ever been able to access in my life, tons of room for self-love, ample alone time, emotional, spiritual and physical healing, a chance to practice my broken French… and most unexpectedly, a love far better than I could have ever imagined.
I’ve been astonished by this process since I moved to Paris two years ago, at how things fell into place, following my genuine intention, clarification and few steps forward. It seemed magical because it seemed like it was happening out of my body, beyond me, even though on a daily basis I was of course exerting a lot of effort. Then, soon enough, this process happened for the second time.
A year ago, I was very unhappy at work, slowly and surely moving towards a horrible burn out. As my way out, I was dreaming of starting my own business. In truth, this was a dream I had been talking about since 22. I felt prompted now to do the internal work on it. I spent many long hours writing my life vision, core values, core purpose, strategizing about how to get there in the long term, as well as becoming aware and accepting all my fears around “can I do it”, “how would I stay in Europe if I create a company”, “what would happen to my visa” etc. This cleared away my internal barriers and helped me focus on the target (step #1).
Around this time, I also happened to start dating my boyfriend, who not only helped me research all the French admin stuff on visas (step #2), but also, to my great surprise, told me that I wouldn’t lose my visa to stay in France AND I would be eligible for unemployment compensation if I end my contract with the company in a certain way! I felt like I was given a gift beyond my imagination. Following this, things moved extremely fast, happening (again) almost out of my body, and despite my struggles and doubts. I have left my job and started being supported financially by the French government. I have gotten some much needed rest to recover from my burn out, and have been taking concrete steps towards starting my business.
Do you agree with this process Julia Cameron describes? Did it ever happen to you that you got what you wanted when you 1- cleared away your internal barriers, focused on your dreams 2- took some steps forward, and then magically, much more easily than you expected, you were able to get your needs met?
Leave a comment! I would love to know :)