Several years ago in one of my Artist’s Way classes I confessed to my students that all of my teaching could be distilled to three things, but, I added, if I told them those three things straight off, I wouldn’t be able to make a living. Nonetheless, I went on to tell them the three core tenets of my teaching, and I am going to share them with you now.
But before I do, three quick disclaimers:
Disclaimer 1: I actually do teach a whole heck of a lot of priceless and insanely valuable tools, practices and perspectives that have changed many people’s lives. I don’t say this lightly. Life-changing is the word my Artist’s Way students most frequently use to describe their experiences with me.
Disclaimer 2: In my creative writing and poetry writing classes, these three core mantras are in the background. They are cornerstones of my own life, so they are with me everywhere, but they aren’t out front in these classes. What is in the foreground is a panoply of approaches and methods for sparking inspiration, making writing a joyful experience that flows, and actually seeing your dreams for your writing life come to reality. In addition, I share with my students a wealth of knowledge about how to write beautifully, powerfully, compellingly, i.e. the tools of the trade, delivered to you in a form that makes them exciting and empowering to learn. Again, I know this is true from what my own students say. If you want to see for yourself, have a look at the testimonials on my website.
Disclaimer 3: If I thought long and hard, I might no doubt come up with one or two more mantras to live by, but these three have held sway for many years, and they will get you a long way toward a good life.
Disclaimers happily out of the way, let’s move on to those three mantras to live by, the essence of my teaching and how I guide my own life.
You may have heard it in various forms, but that doesn’t make it any less true or wise. If you would like to live a rich, joyful, deeply fulfilling life, your heart must be your guide.
I don’t mean your emotions that change like the weather. When I say your heart, I mean that incredibly wise, deep, knowing part of you that knows the way. It doesn’t need to weigh the pros and cons; it just knows what feels right.
One key to your heart path is what lights you up, what brings you joy, what thrills you, what Joseph Campbell called “your bliss,” when he instructed his students to “Follow your bliss.” Those things that fascinate you, that you are passionate about, can’t get enough of, are inexplicably drawn to, that you deeply enjoy—those are big signposts to your path of heart. Follow them. Make time for them. Honor them.
Start practicing tuning in and listening to your own amazing, wise heart. Trust what it says and follow it. You will be grateful and glad you did.
Stay tuned for Mantra #2 in my next issue.