What do Mahatma Gandhi and Ray Kinsella, the character played by Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, have in common? One man is real, of great historical significance, and influenced people around the world. The other is a fictional character who hears “a voice,” builds a baseball field in the middle of his farm in a film which is described as fantasy-drama.
When my landlord and friend gave me the book Walking in This World, The Practical art of Creativity (Julia Cameron) for my fiftieth birthday I was thrilled and I couldn’t wait to begin it so I could learn more about how to be a better writer. I had no idea who Julia Cameron was or what to expect but I knew Jeanne-Marie viewed me as an artist and gave me the book to help me pursue my dream.
Before the end of the first page, I knew I had to write about my experience with the book and share what I learned and its powerful impact on my life. I originally intended to write one essay after each week and one final essay to summarize what I learned and how I felt about each chapter. I naively thought that my final essay would be the conclusion of the journey, and that I would be able to cleverly communicate the recurring ideas and my interpretations of them in 1200 words or so.
I boiled it down to a list of five themes and read through my journals and the book to capture the concepts.
• Savor life – live with humor, joy, and passion. Use feelings as fuel for creativity and creation.
• Make something of yourself – do something, be something, make something. Be who you are and continue to strive to become who you were meant to be. Don’t be afraid to try, don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t be afraid to succeed.
• Accept yourself – be yourself, trust yourself, be childlike, own and understand your relationships, be aware and follow your instincts, be accountable, and last but not least, be kind to yourself.
• Have faith – ask for and accept help, be teachable, life is spiritual, art is spiritual and it is healing. Follow your dreams and treat them as real.
• We commune through art – when we create from the heart and not from the ego we experience a clarity of purpose and feelings of joy.
Three weeks and fifty pages of notes and thoughts later I realized that I am far from done writing about this experience and it will continue to be a part of my life for the rest of my life. I think that’s something that would make Julia smile.
Although I don’t recall her using the word conviction specifically, the author communicated the importance of treating your dreams as real and that when you do so they will come true. Gandhi stood firm in his conviction that the British would leave India, Ray Kinsella followed his instincts and did something that seemed crazy. We all know people who have achieved great things that have nothing to do with being famous or wealthy.
From everyday heroes to world leaders the thing they have in common is that they were not only brave enough to have a dream, they believed in it, they followed it, they inspired people, and they made it happen. I’m sure that even Gandhi had a restless night or two and felt doubt creep in between his head and the pillow but when morning arrived he was true to his beliefs and didn’t waiver in his pursuits.
When I started Walking in This World, I had a dream and my dream was to write. What I didn’t realize is while I had defined it and I had tentatively said it out loud, I was missing conviction and purpose, the most important ingredients to making it a reality.
I concluded that the most fitting way for me to summarize my experience with Walking in This World would be to take a deep breath, share, and continue to write.
In its unedited and original form:
I have a dream, and my dream is to become a published author with books in multiple genres. I have three books in mind right now, the first and most important one to me is entitled A Leap of Faith, an Artist’s Journey into the Light. It is a story of discovery, it is my story of self-discovery and coming into my own. It will be inspiring to people who think it is too late for them and for people who have similar feelings about themselves as I do, but don’t have the words with which to express their thoughts. I am driven to write because I want to be of service to others, I want to help young people make good choices and I want to help people at any stage of life realize that they can change, they can recover and soar. I particularly want to help women understand that they can be care-givers without giving up their identity, the importance of being in positive relationships, and we are all stronger than we know. I want to teach and inspire, I want to help, I want to change the world and make it a better place. My dream is to do so through my writing, I will make people laugh, make them cry, help them feel, and make them think. I have experienced and survived things that should be shared in a way that will be helpful to others. I have the talent, I have the drive, and I now have the conviction to pursue my dreams and write my first book and many more.