It’s Never Too Late – Weeks 11/12 – Vhairi

Week Eleven – Reigniting a Sense of Adventure  –  Week Twelve- Reigniting a Sense of Faith

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You are never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream – Aristotle.

I can’t believe it’s Christmas Eve and here I am trying to catch up on the final two chapters of Julia Cameron’s book It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again.  I actually finished the book a few weeks ago, but it’s taken until now to pull my thoughts together.

I’m not going into the details of the final two chapters, but instead will give an overview of how I found making my way through the book worked for me over the past few months.

1) It takes time.  Ideally, the programme is completed in twelve weeks – but sometimes I found ‘life’ got in the way.  Despite those interruptions,  I am very glad I finished the book and exercises.  It has given me the chance to really look at my life; to examine my past and how I got here, figure out where I am now, where I want to go in the future, and allowed me to plan a course of action as to how to get there.

2) It takes time. I said, that before, right?  Sometimes when things take a long time – and life gets in the way – it can be easy to give up.  I was very fortunate in that half-way through the programme I met up with a group of women who were also working their way through Julia’s book, and that was great.  Their company not only kept my momentum and motivation going, but hearing their experiences and learning from them only added to Julia’s book.

3) I loved doing the memoir.  I became interested in my family’s history and origins about 10 years ago.  How I wish I’d asked my parents and grandparents questions about their lives when I had the opportunity. Now, working on the memoir part of Julia’s book allowed me to write down my own memories.  Perhaps 100 years from now, some geekish member of my future family might find some interesting stories in there about where they come from and what it was like to live in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

But, more importantly, working on the memoir in 5 year increments, and following Julia’s questions, allowed me to realise how rich my life – and everybody else’s life – is and has been.  Sometimes, especially as women, we downplay what we do in our lives, but when you look back, there’s not a single person out there who hasn’t been adventurous at some time or lived through interesting times.  Our lives are worth recording. And it also allowed me to understand the choices I made and why I made them.

I plan on working more on my memoir next year.  For now, I feel I have the basics written down.  In 2019, I am going to go through my boxes and boxes (and boxes) of old photos and add some to the writing I’ve already done.  And I’m sure seeing those photos will bring to mind new memories.

4) The Artist’s Date.  These weekly dates were one of the hardest things for me to follow through on.  If I ran out of time in a week, the artist’s date would be the first thing I let go.  And yet… in many ways, they were the most useful. Spending time by myself doing things that I really wanted to, was a great luxury and freedom.  I also had to learn to think outside the box and explore what was going on in my city, which allowed me to learn some great things about the place I call home.

5) Morning Pages.  I found these the easiest and am continuing to do them.  Having that half-hour on my own first thing in the morning, when the house was quiet was a sheer luxury.  I just loved feeling the ink from my pen flowing across the blank pages.

There can be the temptation to do the morning pages in the evening, but that’s a mistake.  As Julia says, if you do them in the evening, then they are a ‘reflection’ of the day that has passed.  By doing them first thing in the morning, you are still in that half-wakeful state, and you can gain some powerful insights into yourself and your life at that time.

So… that’s a very – very – brief recap of my experience of Julia’s book. On a very practical level she inspired me to write my first short story in over 10 years, to clean out my closet (!) and join Toastmasters – all things I’ve been thinking about doing for months if not years, and all activities which have brought me a lot of pleasure over the past few months.

I am very glad I read and completed Julia’s book and would heartily recommend it to anyone out there.

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