Vein of Gold is a book by Julia Cameron which follows on from The Artist’s Way.
I worked through the Artist’s Way in early 2017. I feel I learnt so much from The Artist’s Way that I wanted to continue with the work I’d started.
The tagline for Vein of Gold is “a journey to your creative heart” and Cameron likens it to a pilgrimage. I’m part of an online cluster group working through the book and it’s activities. It’s a 30 week process and fairly involved. We started on the 7th January.
The first week – which was familiarising ourselves with the main tools of our Vein of Gold pilgrimage was a breeze. I kept up with the group discussions, did my morning pages every day, started walking daily and took my artist’s date. It all felt so right and I was looking forward to the rest of the pilgrimage.
“As you begin to pay attention to your own stories and what they say about you, you will enter into the exciting process of becoming, as you should be, the author of your own life, the creator of your own possibilities.” – Mandy Aftel
Enter week 2 when we started to read about Narrative Time Lines and writing our own. This involves splitting your life up into 5 year segments and spending time writing down your memories for each section.
Now as a previous scrapbooker and someone that is attempting to write a memoir you’d think this would be right up my alley wouldn’t you? I certainly did. So when I hit the stumbling block of procrastination I hit it hard. All good work in all areas of my life were thrown up in the air and allowed to fall carelessly at my feet. I got sick…stopped going to bed at a sensible time…stopped wanting to be an adult. When I resist something I can be as stubborn as a 2 year old!
It’s been tough. I’ve had to be gentle with myself. How interesting that just before this part of the book Julia Cameron asks you to make a creativity commitment to yourself. Part of which states:
“I, Katie, acknowledging a responsibility for spiritual balance, as the tools of this book raise and resolve issues and emotions, commit myself to adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, solitude, and personal compassion.”
She knows. The woman knows.
Following the Commitment Contract she lists some Guidelines. Number 1 being:
“Be self-loving. Eat and sleep. Watch for overuse of caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and drugs. Any of these can block and impede your progress.”
That’s wisdom for life in general right there. You might argue that it’s common sense but it’s amazing how it’s so easy to forget in amongst all the procrastination.
I slowed down over January. Tried to stop overcommitting myself. Allowed myself some breathing room. Some of which involved laying on the couch under a blanket, watching the grey clouds blow by and day dreaming. I don’t often allow myself that privilege. But I welcomed it.
Raking up the past – is it good or bad?
It’s hard. Hard to come up against the things I’m not so proud of, remember the times when I was sad and angry and out of my depth. But it’s also uplifting.
I’m starting to see common threads – tenacity (not something I’d necessarily use to describe myself), grace (it still feels a little bit of a misnomer) and a mass of contradictions. It feels a little like I’m sat outside the snow-globe of my life peering in – waiting for the snow to settle to properly see what’s there.
I’ve slowly worked through my Time Line. Every couple of days I set a timer for 30 minutes and wrote all I could remember about a specific 5 year period of my life. Memories are such strange things. My mind has unusual links. I don’t remember things chronologically. It’s strange remembering things in these weird out-of-time orders and trying to work out what connects them all.
It’s been enlightening and I think it will continue to be so. I’m not finished. I need to go back and re-read, add anything else that comes up. And I think the next part of this journey is digging a little deeper in some areas.
One Month Into My Vein of Gold Pilgrimage
I think that this Narrative Time Line work is going to be so beneficial for my memoir and moving it onwards. It’s encouraging me to look at my life from different angles. I think looking back through my whole life will help me find insight to the time frame I am writing about.
Where to from here?
I shall carry on. It’s a long journey. I’ll take breaks when they are needed and I will try to constantly remind myself to take care of myself. I feel like it’s leading me somewhere. Helping me grow spiritually and holistically.
I hope to provide some other updates of my Vein of Gold pilgrimage as I work through it.
Have you read the Vein of Gold? Have you worked through it? I’d love to hear your insights.