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Hey, everyone! Rebecca here.

You know, I thought I had a handle on the things we’re covering in this chapter. I’d dealt with the poisonous playmates, the crazymakers and the skepticism. I don’t have a problem paying attention to the “small things.” I love the small things. I was in line to get an A++ in Week 2.

Then I got to the exercises.

Have you done any of the exercises yet?

Question 2 was an eye-opener: Where does your time go?

I thought I knew. I mean, I’m a freelance writer with a food blog. My top five activities would have to be writing, cooking, shooting photos, promoting my site, and planning future projects, right?

Well, I DO do all of those things, but not every day.

Nope, on a daily basis, one of my top five activities is wasting time on the Internet. Letting myself get sucked into checking e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. Reading articles and blog posts for HOURS.

I can’t be the only one who does this.

Then I got to question 8: List 10 changes you’d like to make for yourself, from the significant to the small.

No problem, right? But as I was writing my list, I started feeling really anxious. And as I started feeling really anxious, I really, really wanted to check my e-mail.

So, yes, I learned something about myself. I learned that I use my time online to numb myself to anxiety. I have anxiety, because I’m not making changes. I’m not making changes, because I’m online too much. It’s a vicious cycle.

Thanks, Julia.

Do I want to waste my time on mindless crap? NO! I have too many things I want to do! So now that I’m aware of what’s going on, I’m determined to break the cycle. I have my list of 10 tiny changes on a notecard, and I’m challenging myself to finish them before the end of the year. (I’ve already got the hallway taped up and ready to be painted!)

*** What about you? Have you learned anything from the exercises? Were you freaked out by seeing how you REALLY spend your time? Confess! ***

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Week 2: Crazymakers!

“Poisonous playmates” can be hard to recognize, but crazymakers … we know EXACTLY who they are:

•The brother who announces that he’s not traveling for the holidays, so everyone has to come to his house.

•The co-worker who greets you by saying she thinks the boss is mad at you.

•The friend who invites you to an expensive restaurant and sticks you with the bill.

•The overbearing grandmother who plans your child’s birthday party – at your house – without asking you.

•The significant other who blames you for his or her lack of success.

WHY do you put up with your crazymaker’s behavior? Because she’s your sister? Because you’ve been friends since high school? Because “he’s an artist”?

In TAW, Julia argues that we put up with crazymakers, because they help us stay blocked. The energy we spend on dealing with them is energy we don’t have to put into our creative lives.

*** Have you identified any crazymakers in your life? How are you planning to handle them? ***

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The first time I read the section on poisonous playmates, I thought, “Oh, I don’t have any of those.”

Who would be trying to sabotage me?

That’s just crazy.

But think about whether any of the following scenarios sound a little too familiar:

1. You sit down to do something creative, and your significant other says, “You’re going to work on that? I thought we were going to watch ‘Sons of Anarchy’ together.”

2. You tell your mom that you’ve started to paint, and she says, “Do you remember how good Kim was in high school? She could paint anything, and now she works at the dentist’s office. Just goes to show …”

3. You’ve been listening to your best friend complain about her life for 30 minutes. When you suggest that she should find a creative outlet or try writing Morning Pages, she tells you that you’re “different.” And she doesn’t mean it as a compliment.

When we’re blocked, it’s easy to set our creative needs aside and be what other people “need” us to be. Who wants to deal with the guilt-tripping and the judgment? We don’t want to be accused of being selfish or not having time for other people. Selfish people are bad people, right?

So, we choose to nurture other people instead of ourselves.

But, let’s play “What If…”

WHAT IF claiming some creative time for yourself helps bring some of the spark and mystery back into your marriage?

WHAT IF your creative risk-taking inspires your mom to start playing the piano again – even if she’s “not as good” as the woman at church?

WHAT IF your best friend starts to realize that if you can be “different” and find happiness, she can, too?

Far from being selfish, nurturing ourselves could be the greatest thing we do for the other people in our lives.

***In TAW, Julia suggests that we “draw a sacred circle” around our recovery and not let other people derail us. Do you have a “poisonous playmate” or two in your life? What are you doing to protect your creative recovery from being derailed by them?***

 

 

 

 

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