Five Imaginary Lives
If you haven't yet seen the movie Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, Rotten Tomatoes, the Academy Awards and I all highly recommend it. Without giving too much away, I'll just say that the concept of a multiverse is key to the plot. Several different Spidermen in their respective, parallel dimensions are all fighting crime, each with their unique flair and personality traits. There is Peter Parker, who we're familiar with, but then there is also Peni Parker, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham, Spider Man Noir and, the new main character, Miles Morales.
What if, for the sake of imagination, there really was a multiverse, and you could decide what your alter egos were all like and what they were up to? Who would you be with five extra lives? My own answers to this question, in no particular order, are:
~ a fashion designer
~ a spoken word poet
~ an HGTV show host
~ a flower farmer
~ a mural and installation artist
This exercise, meant to be done pretty quickly and off the cuff, is actually one of the tasks you'll find in The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. She prompts you to repeat it a few times over the course of the 12 weeks of 'spiritual chiropractic' that the book delivers to anyone seeking a more creative way of life. By imagining alternative lives that are fun and fulfilling, you uncover what lights you up and can then choose to begin doing more of that right now in *this* life. One of Julia's extra lives is 'cowgirl', so the simple action she took to move in that direction was to pet a horse. The idea isn't necessarily to radically change your current circumstances so much as intentionally incorporate more delight and wonder into your daily life. (But be warned: Radical changes quite often ensue when we prioritize our creative well-being.)
Perhaps to scratch my fashion designer itch, I'll try my hand at sewing my first top. I did just plant my dahlia tubers in our community garden plot, so on a modest scale I suppose I'm living my flower farming dream. And I'm hoping the mural fantasy comes to life this year either inside or outside the studio. (On that long side of the building where the parking lot is... Anyone want to help me?!)
I'll be facilitating another group through The Artist's Way this summer on Saturday mornings, starting June 15th. The experience we had in the group of 11 that completed the course in April was phenomenal.
Throughout the three months moving together through the book, we had epiphanies and breakthroughs and tantrums and setbacks. But in the end, powerful shifts were had by all - someone courageously left a job that was safe but unsatisfying, someone recognized a codependent relationship pattern that needed changing, I opened up about my brother to people for the first time in years and another person simply realized that regular creative expression is a subtle but profound act of self care.
There was a real bond that formed from showing up to do the work, however imperfectly, and being truthful and vulnerable along the way. When you apply the tools and principles in The Artist's Way in earnest, especially in a context of mutual support and encouragement, it is like stepping into a multiverse of new possibilities.
If your spidey senses are telling you to consider joining the summer cohort, I sincerely hope you will! And if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me by replying to this email.
PS. The June workshops are now live on the new and improved www.allhandsworkshops.com!