During my first year of grad school, one of my classmates bought all of the first year students a copy of The Artist’s Way. He was so excited to share the gift of creative unblocking with our small but mighty group.
Not one of us cracked the binding.
He was devastated.
Fast forward nearly 8 years.
I had been thinking about [FINALLY] embarking on my Artist’s Way journey. The universe was giving me so many signs:
An acquaintance was nearly finished with the 12 week process and called it “life changing.”
For a few months, I had been hearing the book calling my name from the bookshelf.
I went on a cruise through the Panama Canal and had coffee with a Broadway veteran (who was also sailing and giving lectures). I was talking to her about my proclivity for self-sabotage and she immediately responded, “Have you ever done The Artist’s Way?”
Alright, universe. I was getting the message!
Meanwhile, I was still in my Eat Pray Love induced book-hangover. I read the book at such a luxuriously slow pace that it nearly felt like I was living the experience, too. I would read each little nugget, anecdote as if it was a savory morsel and I was scared to over-indulge.
I talked about the book all the time. I blogged about it. I felt like Liz was my friend.
I finished it while in the hottub on that Panamanian cruise. Some fellow cruisers, also enjoying a late night bathe and observing that I was nearing the end of my book, joked “Should we go and grab you some tissues? Are you going to need this hottub to yourself for a few minutes?!” Obviously, they had never read the book, or they would have known that the really rough patches had happened a hundred pages earlier!
So, fresh off the boat, high on Eat Pray Love bliss, and determined to begin The Artist’s Way, I ventured into my local Barnes and Noble. [The funny thing about living in New York City is that my “local” Barnes and Noble happens to be the flagship Barnes and Noble, complete with a few hundred seats for a proper book reading and author talk-back, should the occasion arise.]
I strolled into that bookstore to buy a new journal. I was hesitant to purchase one, as I’m always in some sort of financial crisis (“I’ll just write in one of my old composition notebooks! It’s not a big deal…”), but my friend (the same devastated grad school classmate who gifted me The Artist’s Way) urged me, “A new journal feels like a new start!”
I’m embarrassed to say that I spent nearly an hour selecting the most perfect journal I could find. Once I had committed myself to the new start, it had to be right!
Lo and behold, next to the checkout counter, there was a poster announcing that Liz Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, was giving a talk-back on her new novel that VERY evening in that VERY Barnes and Noble.
It felt like the universe was my very own fairy godmother.
I canceled my plans to take a dance class that evening and arrived at the reading 15 minutes early. (Those who know me understand how impressive that is.) I settled into the back row and told myself that I wasn’t going to purchase the book or stand in line to meet Liz because that just seemed silly. Also, I didn’t have the funds to buy the book as I had just spent nearly $40 on my perfect journal. I would just listen to her read and then go on my merry way.
Oh my goodness. She said so many inspirational, lovely, real things. If her book tour is coming to your city, GO! You must! Do yourself that favor!
In the end, I bought the book because I wanted so desperately to meet her, because I just loved her energy and her presence. As I stood in line awaiting my turn, I rehearsed what I was going to say. [It was like I was 12 years old and meeting Justin Beiber backstage.]
Maybe I should just say “Thank you” and “It’s so wonderful to meet you!”
No. No. No.
Tell her what you want to say! You’ll kick yourself if you don’t! LOTS of people are taking their time with her, and she doesn’t seem put-out one bit!
My inner monologue raged back and forth.
As I approached her, I just blurted it all out:
“It is so wonderful to meet you! I just finished reading Eat Pray Love, like, last week, and it was such a cathartic, inspirational experience for me. I had no idea that you were speaking tonight, but I came into this Barnes and Noble to buy a journal for The Artist’s Way, because I’m starting tomorrow, and I saw your poster, and… well… it was kismet!”
“You’re starting The Artist’s Way?! That’s awesome! I’ve done it at least 10 times! Make sure you do the WHOLE THING!”
It truly WAS kismet.
I’m now on Week 5 of my 12 Week process. Synchronicity is a HUGE theme throughout The Artist’s Way. Fittingly, it’s no surprise that’s how my journey began.