ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Among Julia Cameron’s over 40 books is her famous 1992 volume on the process of creativity “The Artist’s Way”.
Now Cameron has a new book that gives readers the opportunity to explore a different dimension of creativity with “The Listening Path: The Creative Art of Attention”.
The path is built on a six week program, from “Listening to our surroundings” in the first week to “Listening to the silence” in the sixth week.
“I think a lot of people who used ‘The Artist’s Way’ were looking for what to do next. I think “The Listening Path” gave them something to focus on, ”Cameron said in a phone interview from his Santa Fe home.
Consider the emphasis on listening in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which she says can be seen as a time of “forced soul-searching.”
“The Listening Path” could inspire people to unearth their creativity and also experience personal transformation during – and possibly after – the pandemic, Cameron suggested.
In the introduction to the book, the author explains the three basic tools of “The Listening Path” that she wrote about as separate topics in previous books. But now she sees them more broadly as joint elements to forge the extraordinary power of deep listening to your surroundings, to others and to your inner self.
These tools are called “Morning Pages”, “Artist’s Date” and “March”.
“The ‘morning pages,’ writes Cameron, ‘are a three-page daily practice, stream of consciousness, written upon awakening. … The pages are private and personal, should not be shown to anyone, no matter how close they are. “
Pages should be written by hand, not on a computer. Writing with a pen or pencil produces what she describes as “a life made by hand” as opposed to quick typing on a computer keyboard. “Speed is not what we are looking for. We are looking for depth and specificity. We want to record exactly how we feel and why, ”Cameron explains in the introduction. Plus, she writes, expressing gratitude is fertile ground for the Morning Pages. It relates to emphasizing the positive because it breeds the joy of optimism.
She offers “The Artist Date” as a solo exercise once a week for one or two hours. The point is to do something that enchants or interests you that is also fun, like visiting the zoo.
The concept of fun, she writes, can be difficult for some to understand because our society has a “work” ethic, not a “play” ethic.
“But the game can do a lot,” writes Cameron. “As we become clearer, our ideas flow more freely.”
Walking is the third tool for deep listening. Specifically, she highly recommends easy walking for 20 minutes at least twice a week. She asks walkers to pay attention to their surroundings. Use your ears to hear songbirds in the tree, but also use your eyes to observe the gray-green of a neighbor’s chamisa.
Cameron comments that the premise of his previous book “Walking in this World” is that walking can benefit us both spiritually and physically. … ”In the introduction to“ The Way of Listening ”, she writes:“ As we walk, we are in harmony with the rhythm of our thoughts. We hear the words and the emotion behind the words… ”
Since the publication of “The Artist’s Way,” Cameron has been given credit for starting a movement that brought creativity into the mainstream conversation. This book has sold over five million copies and its sales continue to be strong. Cameron said in the interview that in recent weeks “The Artist’s Way” has moved up to No. 3 on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list.
“I think I owe a thank you to the glimmer of hope in the introspection caused by the pandemic,” she said.
“The Artist’s Way” is also the name of a series of books; “The Listening Path” is the 12th book in this series. Cameron’s writings have also included memoirs, books on spirituality, prayer books, and fiction. She is also a poet, songwriter, filmmaker, playwright and teacher. No wonder she has been nicknamed “the godmother of creativity”.