The Artist's Way, Synchronicity, & Hard Work

Week 3: Recovering a Sense of Power

Disclaimer: I am doing the Artist's Way 12-Week program and sharing my thoughts and experiences each week. If you're new to this blog series, click here to read the first post. 

The Week 3 chapter in the The Artist's Way overflows with wisdom. I couldn't possibly cover it all, so I've decided to focus on synchronicity in this post, which frankly, I consider the greatest benefit from doing this program. 

Synchronicity is a concept first explained by psychoanalyst Carl Jung in the early 1900s. It has been described as the fortuitous intermeshing of events, or more simply "meaningful coincidences." Another older word for it is serendipity. Julia Cameron, in an explicitly spiritual, not-religious-unless-you-want-it-to-be way, added "answered prayers" to the list. I think the word miracle could also be applied.

The way Julia Cameron talks about synchronicity is beautifully inclusive of all faiths and non-faiths. She emphasizes being open to the possibility of an intelligent and responsive God, but is quick to clarify: "Life is what we make of it. Whether we conceive of an inner god force, or an other, outer god, doesn't matter. Relying on that force does."

I feel like this lesson has been coming back to me again and again lately: above all, do the work. Reach out (or in) for guidance and strength and then try something, anything, everything.

To achieve your goals, to transform yourself, to experience synchronicity, to connect with God, to change the world, to reach the stars, YOU HAVE TO WORK HARD. 

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That's what's so scary and sometimes burdensome about synchronicity and answered prayers: they imply responsibility.  Once received and/or acknowledged, the only thing to do next is take action.

  • When you come across a great job opportunity...
  • When you come up with a fabulous book idea...
  • When you find out your favorite author will be in your city...
  • When you feel prompted to call that old friend...
  • When you see a road sign for a productive workspace...
  • When your meet someone and instantly know you'll be friends... 
  • When you stumble upon the best audience for your art...
  • When you run into that former friend 3 times in a row...
  • When that costume shop had the perfect dress for the ball...
  • When you end up attending a university you never thought twice of...
  • When you remember a great old movie and it's on TV the next day...
  • When your professor recommends the Artist's Way...

Big and small, all of the coincidences above, led to something meaningful to me. 

In my Artist's Way MeetUp group, we share stories of synchronicities. From the raven that appeared at the right moment to the encouraging words "You should start writing again" shared at the right time, they've been beautiful to hear.  

My synchronicities these last few weeks have been small. My greatest was when I googled Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Big Magic (otherwise known as "THE BEST BOOK EVER" in my MeetUp group), and discovered that she would be speaking at the International Women's Summit in May in Arizona (a 9-hour drive from me) along with my other idols: Marianne Williamson, Anita Moorjani, Erin Brockevich, and more.

Being a fan of these women is something I share with my mother and sister, and I am excited and hopeful about turning it into a girl's trip.

Beyond that, I feel like synchronicities have been happening, but I fail to recognize them or respond fast enough because I am not clear about what I want and more often than not, I am afraid. Like Sylvia Plath in "The Fig Tree": Figs are raining down all around me, and I still don't know which ones to pick. 

As Julia Cameron says: "Understand that the what must come before the how. First choose what you would do. The how usually falls into place of itself."

As I shared in my post last week, I have fallen into a well of depression and fear, which has obscured my vision of who I am and what I want. The state of the world right now makes it all worse. But this program - the morning pages, artist's dates, and exercises - are helping me crank slime out of the well one bucket at a time.

Life is complicated and messy and there's always a million things to deal with, but when you're clear, everything is easier. When you know who you are and what really matters most to you, it's like all of your decisions have already been made. 

And I believe that one day, with God's help, my well can be emptied of slime. That the water will be crystal clear - a cool, delicious, life-giving elixir. 

Bottom line: To manifest significant synchronicity, you have to be clear and you have to do the work. You can't kick back, relax, and wait for things to happen to you. After all, you are a co-creator of the universe, not a puppet.

To listen to a great interview about getting clear and manifesting what you want in life: click here. 

Remember, the impossible is possible. Get up. Have faith. Try something, anything, everything. 

Thank you for reading, everyone! If you have any synchronicities you'd like to share, please comment below. I would love to hear them.