Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thinking About Abundance

From Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: “It is pretty clear that the creator itself did not know when to stop. There is not one pink flower, or even fifty pink flowers, but hundreds…this creator looks suspiciously like someone who just might send support for your creative ventures.”

This week my Unlocking Your Creativity Class is meditating on Abundance. It’s a good thing to think about if you’re trying to unblock or stay unblocked.

Anyone can get caught in the trap of seeing things in terms of scarcity and competition; if my friend has something, that must mean that I can’t have it. I think I’ve held myself back in life by this kind of thinking. Instead of asking my more successful friends for help, I’ve tended to avoid them and resent their success. It has cost me years with some very wonderful and wildly talented women.

It can be hard to retrain your mind to think there’s enough to go around, that you are going to be given what you need as an artist and a person. It would be wonderful to think of our fellow creatives as co-conspirators rather than competition. Towards that end, I had each poet in my class make a list of what reminds them of abundance, then post the list someplace prominent.

Things That Remind Me of Abundance (Besides Pink Flowers)

1. Going to the gourmet store and marveling at how many varieties of salt there are.
2. Buying notebooks 10 for a dollar.
3. Collecting seashells and pretty rocks.
4. Expanded horizons, literally and figuratively.
5. Children’s artwork—they’re so generous with it!
6. Poetry students rich with images.
7. Writing a detailed prose account of any given thing/day/experience- material is kind of infinite.
8. Libraries.
9. Blueberries: when I was little we had a family tradition of going to this huge abandoned blueberry farm, picking for hours and hours, acres and acres. It still seems like there was no end to those blueberries.
10. Morning glories vining the place up.
11. One of my first poems was about being a starving artist and wishing I could have some cake. Now whenever I make cupcakes I feel rich.
12. Shutting off the TV to read.
13. Making pancakes for visiting poets.
14. Swimming in the ocean.
15. We used to drive a Mazda Protégé and we loved it so much. Now whenever I see one, I think it’s my guardian angel.
16. The cheap art store.
17. The infinite amount of weird stuff you can learn from Radiolab podcasts. (and others)
18. Staying in bed all day with Amy. (mostly reading…)
19. My family.
20. Making pancakes for visiting poets. Thrift stores, vintage stores, flea markets, anyplace with random stuff.


  1. Hey Jane,
    I don't think scarcity thinking is related to being creative, I think its mostly the family we grew up in, but in any event a lot of people think that way and its awesome to focus on abundance. I love the Artist's Way quote. This is the first blog I've ever followed and I'm really enjoying it!!

  2. Hey thanks! You're probably right, I should reword this a little.