I dove head first into the social online communities that sprung up on the internet beginning in March of 2020 (we all know what happened in March 2020), and I remain, 18 months later, in awe of my good fortune. Already more than a year into an online program for my soul, I met a woman who would introduce me to 4 other women and a lifelong bond was formed. The plan was to temporarily take our minds off the realities of the pandemic by spending an hour together every Saturday exploring The Artists Way, a book written by Julia Cameron that expounds on the fact that creativity exists in all of us. The class was to be 12 weeks long but it remains in full swing 18 months later taking on other topics now that we’ve worked through The Artists Way twice as well as other books. Before taking the class, I had always said out loud, to anyone who would listen, I don’t have a creative bone in my body. But I learned I do, in fact, have unrecognized and untapped creativity in my bones and my entire body.
Six of us altogether and I was odd man out, right from the start. Four are California-based writers, actresses, singers, and gifted accomplished creatives. One located in the North East USA is a dancer, writer, interior designer, with a brilliant gift for observation. I, on the other hand, had a coloring book. And somewhere, in a box in the basement, an autograph from Al Pacino from when he was in town filming And Justice for All. But I also had a silent desire to write so I joined the group and went along for the ride to explore my creative capabilities.
To say I needed to buckle up my seat belt is a gross understatement. These strong, talented, giving women are unlike any women I have ever met in my life. No offense to those who have been in my circle all these years but I wasn’t aware of my creativity before and you weren’t either so it would have been impossible for you to nudge me forward. These five women had their hands full with me as I stepped out onto the stage of the life of a creative. They lifted me up and carried me over tar pits and burning lava, delivering me to the safety of stable footing. Before, my self-confidence was waning and my desire for living life to the fullest was flat. These women immediately recognized my creativity and encouraged me to shine. And shine I did.
With their support, I came to believe in my creative strengths. I wrote more, developed a blog, started three books, joined a writer’s group online, and signed up for coaching from the woman who recruited me into the group from the start (she’s a brilliant writing coach. Email me if you want her contact info). I’ve also signed up for smaller creative writing groups to sharpen my skills even further. But I haven’t told member of my in-person circle yet that I am a writer. I keep this blog closed, mostly, or rather I don’t promote it widely. Still a little nervous about this leap into another dimension called, well, for the sake of expression it’s called “not the me anyone in my in-person life knows,” so I think only 6 people have read my blog.
Despite the creative advancements, there have been set backs this year. The recent death of two friends, one young and sudden; another older but unexpected are among the losses. Colleagues who were both friends of mine, and their death knocked me backwards for a time. So much so, I was ready to underscore my former belief that I lacked creativity and unconsciously toss away all that I had learned from these strong “artists way” women who came into my life on Saturdays via zoom.
How I love each of these women dearly and appreciate them for what they bring to my life. Their unique, caring, souls are very important to me. I won’t tell you their stories because they are gifted enough in their own right to share their successes. But I will say that watching them grow even stronger than they were at the start, helped me to grow. And now here I am sitting in this east coast town having changed my direction while in quarantine, telling no one who has known me a lifetime, and looking for a break out opportunity to shine brighter as a creative.
So, on Saturday when we all came together and one of the California E’s (they will get that reference) said she had to leave early to drive to Malibu for an appointment, I couldn’t resist unmuting to jump on and tease her a little about having to go to what I consider an exotic place. Malibu! I remember when hubby and I traveled to Arizona on business then rented a car and drove to California via the Grand Canyon. Malibu was one of the first places we wanted to visit. We stayed at a hotel on the beach in Santa Monica, walked on the sand, hubby put his toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time ever, and we planned for our second day to be in Malibu. We ate lunch at a darling restaurant, drove by all the homes overlooking the ocean, and pretended we lived there or could one day. I had been to LA to visit Disneyland once and to San Francisco a few times but Malibu was different. It was the place that really said “California” for those of us who have only read about it or seen it in movies and TV shows. It was a dream to be able to drive to Malibu in the afternoon if only I didn’t live on the East Coast! In other words, it is a dream location.
As a story teller I often imagine meeting the ladies of the Saturday The Artists Way group in-person one day. I’ve never mentioned this to them. But, in my imagination, we meet in Malibu, have lunch in a trendy location, and sit on a blanket in the sand sharing stories. So, you can see why the mere mention of driving to Malibu that day made me sit up and take notice. Synchronicity? I think my Artists Way sisters would say, yes.