Poetry Dowsing Week Five: Uncovering a Sense of Autonomy

Poetry Dowsing Week Five: Uncovering a Sense of Autonomy



This is a weekly exercise for a 12 week program for creative exploration and self care. A new exercise will be posted each week for the duration of the program. All post titles are matched up to the chapter names in Julia Cameron’s book “Finding Water”, which is our source text. Please read Poetry Dowsing: A Path to Your Creative Well for more information.

Week Five Intentions

This week we are focusing on the concept of autonomy. Really, that’s just a fancy word for making decisions independent of other people, that are rooted in information we have gathered that is pertinent to our selves. A crucial part of this week is gathering information about our feelings, understanding what we fear and what we love. Once we can begin to understand these things, we can illuminate those that help lift us up and work to discard things that do not serve us well.

A personal note about autonomy

I grew up in a small city in the Midwestern United States called “Independence”. It is no wonder that having autonomy and the ability to make my own decisions has been a critical part of my life. There have been plenty of times in my life where I gave up that autonomy and regretted it. While I recognize there may be times when submitting to an authority is wise, I believe strongly in the independent spirit that resides within each person that connects with our core ‘self’.

Sometimes, I give up autonomy without meaning to do it. For example, I can magnify my fears or negative talk from my inner censor and treat them as facts. This has certainly held me back from expressing myself creatively and from discovering interests that may have enriched my life. Throughout therapy, one of the topics I circled back to many times was ‘fear’. I wanted to banish all fear, until I realized that wasn’t possible. Fear is something that in its most basic form can keep me alive. It is fear that keeps me from crossing the street without looking for traffic. It is fear that encourages me to lock the doors to my house at night for security.

But, when does fear start to become unhelpful? For me, it’s when it brings me down to a point of misery. It’s when I believe that all of the possible negative outcomes are somehow highly probable. This usually isn’t helpful. It helps to remember that although I will feel fears, I do not have to let them rule me. As someone with PTSD, this can be a big struggle. I’m still learning to cope with some fears more than others. As I learn coping skills, I’m starting to view fear differently. If I don’t demonize it, it loses some power.

So go on fear, do your thing. I’ve got some positive plans this week!

This week’s dowsing exercise

This dowsing exercise seems almost trite on the surface, but I promise it’s not. It really can work. One of the things I love about the art that other people create is that it has the ability to take me out of my own reality and put me somewhere else. It’s nice to have that bit of a breather and to laugh at the ridiculous or silly. Taking a moment away from serious personal issues and world issues can be just the refresher we need during difficult times. Julia Cameron calls this the “magic of a little self-forgetting”. I know I could use the break and I’m guessing you could, too.

This week we are going to have our own mini-film fest. Complete with popcorn and whatever movie snacks you like. You can do this in your pajamas. You can do it late at night or in the middle of the day. It’s all up to you. The only requirement is that you must choose comedy films. If films really aren’t your thing, stage a mini-binge watch of one of your favourite funny series. Whatever it is, it should make you smile and laugh a bit. Schedule a double feature or an all day laugh-a-thon, whatever suits your situation and desires.

And, enjoy the break, you deserve it!

This week’s quote:

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”

-Mark Twain


Important reminders

  • This process centers on recovery and self care in regard to your creative self. Be gentle!
  • Make adjustments as needed, you know yourself best and your positive mental health is paramount.
  • Commit to using your basic tools of Morning Pages, Artist Dates and Walks.
  • Sharing is not mandatory, but we’d love to share the journey with you! Tag all posts regarding these exercises as #PoetryDowsing so we can support you within the Twitter community.