Poetry Dowsing Week Ten: Uncovering a Sense of Safety

Poetry Dowsing Week Ten: Uncovering a Sense of Safety




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 Ten Intentions

This week is about creating safety. Safe spaces are important. When the risk of creating or putting yourself out there feels overwhelming this week, turn to your safe spaces (these may be people that you can count on) and spend some time with them.

A personal note about safety

Safety is one of the basic building blocks of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Without basic human needs met, it’s difficult to focus on higher needs. I know this first hand.

I took a ten year break from writing. During those ten years, I was living in an abusive marriage. My most basic needs, according to Maslow, were threatened on a daily basis. I spent those years just trying to survive. Each day brought uncertainty. I sought for ways to deal with the loss of safety and to meet my physiological needs. There was simply no room in my mind or heart for anything creative.

Once I finally left that relationship, I started working on healing. As I began to slowly recover a sense of safety, I felt more encouraged to express myself and take risks. I began drawing in art therapy and moved far away from my abuser to start a new life. I still had set backs. In moments when my post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been at its worst, I find it difficult to create. Once I regain a sense of safety and equilibrium, I come back to creative expression.

Creating a safe space for me has involved controlling who I communicate and associate with whenever I can. It is often not about a physical space, though it can be. I also need to be my own safe space. This means protecting myself from that inner censor and putting negativity in perspective. This week’s exercise is one I do often, because I need to be reminded of the things I’ve accomplished in order to provide myself with safe, loving encouragement to continue on my creative path.

This week’s dowsing exercise

This week give yourself a moment to shine. There are many things I want to achieve that haven’t happened yet. But, when I take this personal inventory I allow myself to take credit for what I have accomplished. These accomplishments are not about ‘producing’, they are about the process. They can be big or little things. For example, one of the things I accomplished recently was to write a haibun, which was far outside my comfort zone.

It doesn’t matter if it was any good. It doesn’t matter if it will ever be published.

What matters is that I did it.

Make a list of five things that you have accomplished. Any five things. Give yourself credit for these things. That poem you wrote that is still looking for the right publisher, you get credit for having written it. It’s that simple.

For extra credit post one of your five things on Twitter with these hashtags: #PoetryDowsing & #IDIDATHING so we can celebrate and retweet each other. I’ll be your safe space and you can be mine!


This week’s quote:

“Remember it is the making of art, not the reception of your art that makes you an artist.”

-Julia Cameron


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.