Poetry Dowsing Week Nine: Uncovering A Sense of Perspective

Poetry Dowsing Week Nine: Uncovering A Sense of Perspective




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 Nine Intentions

This week we will be working on flexibility in regards to perspective. Whenever you find yourself making a declarative statement about what you can’t do or what’s ‘not’ for you, take a moment to reconsider. Adjust your perspective accordingly.

Depths, acrylic on canvas, 48″x60″ (art by Juliette van der Molen)

A personal note about perspective

I wanted to paint big. But, it might take up too much room in the classroom at art school. I wouldn’t be able to get my big painting home through the subways of New York City and there was no way I could drive in the city. Also, what if it was a horrible painting? It is one thing to paint something small and terrible, but the possible amplification of that scared me. Additionally, I wasn’t a ‘real artist’, not like the people with gallery shows.

No, it would be better to stick with my small canvas and be inconspicuous. Nothing to see here.

Lucky for me, I had an art teacher that took the wind out of all of my negative sails. Nicki Orbach was having none of it. She told me that none of those things on my list mattered. All that mattered was the painting. Though she’s passed away now, the lesson she taught me by pressing me to embark on my first big painting will stay with me forever.

Art is about perspective, but for me it became about self-perspective. People made room. I painted big. Some days I turned my painting upside down and painted it a different way. I had space and room to move, my whole body became part of the painting. People made room. People stopped to watch and offer comments. It wasn’t horrible. It energised me.

Painting ‘big’ taught me how to take a chance, it taught me how to take up a space and own it.

I try to remember that now as a poet. I haven’t been publishing for decades, I don’t have a University degree. But that doesn’t mean I don’t belong where I choose to be. When I start to think of all things things I can’t do or shouldn’t do, I remember Nicki’s words.

“None of that matters. All that matters is painting.” (or drawing or writing or baking or whatever it is you love to do)


This week’s dowsing exercise

As we search for water and fill our creative well, it’s important not to cut ourselves off from opportunities. We can try things. We can be ‘beginners’. If we can do that, the results just might be surprising.

For this week’s exercise think about things you tell yourself you want to do but could never do creatively. Make a list of five of those things that you’d be willing to try if you were less scared.

Extra credit: choose one item off your list and take a small step toward it. You can do it!

This week’s quote:

“The possible’s slow fuse is lit by the imagination.”

-Emily Dickinson


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.