Thursday, February 22, 2007

Reading list for would-be new age freaks

I finally finished The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, a 12-week program for recovering your creativity. I started it 16 weeks ago when a friend got tired of me claiming to have no creative ability whatsoever. If I'm going to be honest, I was actually whining about having nothing to offer the world other than to take my place as a soulless cog in someone else's great machine.

I was feeling well past my self-help book phase, but this one seemed compelling. I've always hoped there was more for me out there somewhere. I didn't love the book. It seemed geared toward severely battered and bruised artists with a lot of personal issues. Sure, I've got my baggage, but I didn't need quite so much help. Still, the book prompted some very monumental and long-term changes in my life; I quit my job, learned to draw, created all kinds of cool cards and gifts for friends, and lost a lot of the money guilt I'm prone to feel over not working. Most importantly, art no longer seems like something that other people are able to do.

Delving back into the world of personal development books got me thinking back on how I got to where I am. How did a godless, rational, high-paid software developer become the godless, unemployed, new-age freak that I am today? Here is my reading list, in chronological order:
  • The Mastery of Love by Miguel Ruiz: This is the first new-agey self-help type book I ever seriously read, sent to me by my Aunt Kathie in 2001ish. The realization that my unhappiness had to do with me and was not caused by others was earth-shattering.

  • Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray: Understanding for the first time that my miserable relationship at the time was my own damn fault, I decided I had to learn more. What I learned was that I had been a complete bitch throughout all my relationships. Oopsie, sorry about that boys!

  • The Rules by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider: Laugh if you want, but this book is awesome. I wish more people would read it - men and women - so they might stop humiliating themselves when they interact with the sex of their choosing.

  • When I Say No I Feel Guilty by Manuel J. Smith: I didn't even know I needed this one until I read it. Go ahead, tell me to do something I don't want to do. Pull out all the stops, beg, cry, yell, manipulate me as best as you can. I will demonstrate how good I am at sweetly telling you to go fuck yourself. I don't need a reason.

  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle: I knew Tolle was onto something when he started talking about that incessant repetative voice in our heads - the constant inane dialogue. After reading this and other of his books, I have very little interest in dwelling on the past or looking forward to some uncertain future. His recorded lectures continue to remind me to make the most of right now.

  • Office Politics by R. Don Steele: Maybe this didn't turn me into a new age freak, maybe it turned the dial in the opposite direction, but it definitely changed me. Ladies, please don't wear hoochie outfits, walk around in loud clicky shoes, or talk about your way-too-personal problems in the office. It embarrasses us all.

  • The Yeast Connection by William G. Crook: I always knew that I had no use for doctors, but this book really brought home the idea that I can take control of my own health and that diet has nearly everything to do with the fact that we are all very very sick, both physically and mentally. Long story short, this eventually led me down the path of raw food which has fundamentally changed who I am.

  • The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron: See above.

  • Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards: Holy crap, you mean, I can draw??? That's so freakin' cool!!!
So if you don't want to run the risk of giving up your lucrative career and watching thousands of dollars pour out of your bank account while you indulge in the beauty and bliss of life, DO NOT read these books! They might have an impact.

Drawing Exercise - Human profile

This is my niece, drawn from a photo of her playing on a rocking horse. A lot of people ask why her lip looks so weird - she's sucking it in.

Raw food dish of the week - Easy Lasagna

This dish was decent. Nothing to write home about.

Marinara sauce: Tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, red bell pepper, olive oil, Celtic sea salt, garlic, cayenne.

Layers: marinara sauce, sliced thin zucchini, mashed avocado, and spinach

1 comment:

ab said... random blog in a long time. I REALLY enjoyed reading about you. I like your attitude and outlook. You're probably fun to hang out with too. I think I just might stop back.....I'm curious where you're going.