Julia Cameron has a way about her. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s lovely. An author of countless books on recovering one’s creativity, mental health, dignity, and how to adjust one’s approach to living creatively, Cameron’s bibliography is lengthy. Walking in this World is part of a trilogy that started with The Artist’s Way. For those of you who are unfamiliar with The Artist’s Way, it is a 12-week program meant to help “blocked” creatives excavate their hearts and expectations. Walking in this World and Finding Water is formatted the same way.
The pleasure of reading a Julia Cameron book is two-fold. First, the language is quite beautiful. Perhaps a touch too religious, but I’m willing to overlook words that do not resonate with me. The content alone is immensely valuable, regardless of the packaging. Second, the literal process of moving through the book is meditative. I’d often read an essay, contemplate, and continue two days later. The reader is encouraged to rethink his or her perception of self-care, and slow down.
Every chapter, which usually encompasses an inspiring theme, supportively guides the reader to a place of calm, and explains how to recreate that calm in multiple situations. Whenever I find myself in a tense or unsettling mood, unable to focus on fiction, I will often retreat to Cameron’s work, as it is accessible and satisfying.
Most notably, Walking in this World is meant to build up its readers, to repair and rejuvenate us. When life weighs us down with doubt, this book teaches us how to peel away the doubt and restore our confidence and imagination. And I think we all know what happens when our imaginations have been buried for too long. It hurts, emotionally and physically, and it takes time to bounce back from that grey, zombie-like state. We see the world as an unforgiving place, full of responsibility, with no room for play. However, the moment we begin to revive our creative voice, we begin to see opportunities where there were none.
Everyone, whether or not you call yourself ‘creative,’ will benefit from these exercises. Cameron is always quick to correct someone who says, “Oh, I’m not an artist. I don’t paint.” Her response is: “Our life is our art.” We have the chance to make art with every decision we make, with every idea we pursue, with every book we read, with every hobby we try, and with every pie we bake.
As always, highly recommended.