Woman looking up at the sky.

Study of Julia Cameron’s Seeking Wisdom: How prayers of praise and looking for miracles can increase your creative grit

Last Sunday, I thanked the new moon for giving me another opportunity to set an intention. According to the Yoga Journal article “What the New Moon in Pisces Means for You,” this new moon is an opportunity to “be one with our dreams,” which is fitting because right now, being one with and celebrating the next milestone in my publishing dream is my main goal.

It’s also perfectly aligned with this week’s lesson on prayers of praise from Julia Cameron’s book, Seeking Wisdom.

Julia says, “When we look for miracles, we tend to find them. When we become open to co-creating with [Creativity], support appears. The universe is living and breathing, as we are—and it’s responsive to our needs.”

These are the words I’ve most needed to hear.

My agent and I have spent the last two weeks editing the documents needed for my book to go out on submissionFor the uninitiated, going out on submission happens when your agent sends your book’s marketing materials to the publishers that might be the best fit for your work. An agent isn’t always required to go out on submission. Authors can solicit many of the independent presses on their own, which can be a great way to land a traditional publisher.

My memoir’s submission period will begin on Thursday, 2/23/23, the first day the moon’s light reappears. After that, there will be nothing to do but celebrate the fuck out of this milestone and open myself up to what’s next, both in this process, and with my next project.

When it comes to prayers of praise, Julia believes that “our good will comes to us as we marvel at creation.”

But sometimes the way to understand the miraculous—whether it’s in our writing or anything else we might pursue—is to go through a period of deconstruction. Julia’s chapter on prayers of praise contains interviews with artists and spiritual seekers who went through a process of being raised in a certain practice, questioning it, “sometimes breaking away from it,” and then going on to “search for a [Creativity] of their understanding.”

G. Sterling Zinsmeyer, a successful producer of film, stage, and opera, found his path while spending time with dying AIDS patients. Life coach, Pamela Thompson, discovered it on her knees as she knelt nightly in prayer. David Campbell Lozuaway-McComsey found it in the structure of Alcoholics Anonymous. Jacob Nordby’s path was shamanism.

No matter the road taken, they all came to the same conclusions:
We are not alone.
Creativity is love.
Connection is everything.

Whether “their concepts of Creativity varied from ‘energy’ to a ‘best friend’ to a ‘benevolent something,’ they all agreed on two points: [Creativity] is real, and we could contact [Creativity]” through our prayers.

As I’ve participated in Julia’s program, my contact with Creativity has come in the form of morning pages, a daily affirmation practice, selecting cards from my Osho Zen deck to ground me and guide my day, and daily readings from The Pocket Pema Chödrön and One Mindful Day at a Time.

The more I see my creative life as an unfolding of the divine gifts within me, the clearer I become about the way forward. I’m also better able to accept the realities of Creativity’s time.

As Julia says, “We have been told repeatedly that [Creativity] lives in eternity, and eternity is timeless, one long ‘now.’ As a result, Creativity’s sense of ‘soon’ may therefore differ from our own.”

I first experienced this when I was super sick with Lyme disease. After two years of unsuccessfully begging-pleading-demanding my body to heal, I went to my first acupuncture appointment. At the time, it felt like I’d been sick FOREVER, and that I would continue to be sick FOREVER. While covered in needles, and nestled in a deep meditation, I heard the following message from that weird voice inside me:

“This lifetime is but a drop in the eternity of existence. Your life, and what’s happening right now, may feel long, but it’s all happening within the blink of time’s eye. Whatever you accomplish, do, or become within that blink is enough.”

Writing this reconnects me to that memory, and its essential lesson: Focus my prayers of praise not on publishing contracts or finding the right editor, (though those things are certainly nice), but on the act of showing up and allowing myself to become.

My current prayers of praise are for the tenacity of my spirit, which long ago said I would do this, and hasn’t given up.

I’m also celebrating that it took this long, which may seem strange, but is actually very important. For a few years now, I’ve wrestled with the shame about my lack of a book deal. Every time I helped another author sell their project, I was over the moon for them, and slightly sad that I’d yet to reach that milestone.

But the truth is, I had work to do—both on myself and this manuscript. Having shown up to that process has allowed me to tell a story that wouldn’t have been possible had I rushed my memoir out the door.

Not to mention the fact that while writing about trauma is a daunting process, publishing works based on your trauma contains its own challenges. Because of my years of experience, I know what those pitfalls are and how to support myself through them.

But that’s for later. For now, I’ll practice two of Julia’s exercises:
List the miracles that have happened in your life
Complete the following sentence: Creativity’s timing was perfect when…

I hope you’ll complete them too. When you do, send me an email with your answers. I’d love to see what you discovered.

Until next time, pay attention to the miraculous in your life, and celebrate the ways you’re allowing your gifts to unfold through the beautiful, weird, and amazing life you’re both living and creating. As you do this, may this celebration help you now, and always, write on.

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