I am currently in the mist of Julia Cameron’s book/program/journey, The Artist’s Way. Every week there are tasks to complete based on the chapter’s theme in the book.
At the end of January I undertook the week of reading deprivation.
No reading for a whole week.
Not at all!
Here are a few things I wrote that week about the experience…
“I learned that a week without reading the written word sent my universe into a world of chaos.
No NYT to enjoy my morning coffee with
No emails to read to punctuate my day
No continuous nonverbal correspondence to make me feel connected and less lonely
No to-dos to read and re-read until I complete the tasks
No written word to structure my disorganized mind
And perhaps the worst was the recognition that I could not do the things that I relied on getting done to make me feel like I was and am making progress in my life
I can write but I cannot read
So I’ll write. I will write a lot. I will write a lot to not be read until this week of no reading ends.
And when I can read again, I’ll publish. I’ll publish a lot. A lot of content. “
“Reading is such a wonderfully comforting and easy thing to slip into doing. This morning before I even really realized it I was reading for the mire pursuit of reading. That is a rule I have created for myself for this week – no reading just to read and be comforted. If I read it needs to have a purpose, such as, emails for work.”
Theodore Roosevelt reading
“So this week has been insanely, insanely tough!! No reading, wow! That is really, really hard. Didn’t realize until now just how much comfort reading gives me. I find such peace and reassurance in the written word! It is where safety is. Where home is. I love words. I love writing, luckily I am still able to do that!!
I have almost survived this whole week. Will start reading again officially on Friday morning/Thursday evening. I know that will be an insanely enjoyful time, really looking forward to it. To read the NYT what you need to know in NYC today, read and publish my blog post. I think I am going to start publishing more blog posts. Writing more and then sharing more. Will create great amounts of content that will either serve to give credibility to my fame or turn into a book. Lots of fun possibilities. I really enjoy writing though so I’ll do more of it. ……
Rather feel like if I can get through this week, I can do anything.”
That week was profoundly challenging for me and as mellow-dramatic as it sounds, I definitely thought on many occasions that I would not survive the week…..
So on the mist of a mental breakdown and tantrum on the subway platform, I got creative.
I planned my week out completely (but didn’t write anything down I might need to read later in the week)
-I got together with all the friends I always seem too busy “doing stuff” to get together with
-I listened to my music on my long subway rides and really listened, as the music was no longer just background noise — Do you know what?! Music is profoundly amazing!!
-I took a lot of dance classes
-I went ice skating at Bryant Park
-I took myself on a long-over-due shopping date, to use my Bloomingdales gift card, window shop at Tiffany’s (just because, why not?!) and visit the Apple store to help me figure out if I needed a new computer
-I wandered the city exploring, an activity I love
-I found by the end of the week, I had much more clarity and ability to focus the vastly disorganized and scattered mind I started the week with
-I got a fabulous bodywork session from Anne-Marie Duchêne and she offered me the opportunity of a lifetime.
-I made the commitment to publish a new blog post every week (every Friday) instead of just biweekly!
My vacation from reading
Basically I did all the things I had been putting off… for forever.
In many ways, that week I took a vacation from reality and found my true reality.
I discovered and learned so many things about myself and my life – mind, body and spirit.