Are your book shelves lined with dusty self-help books? Mine used to be. I would pick up copy after copy of the newest diet or relationship book. What was I really looking for? Nothing seemed to resonate with me. Oh, yes, there are great books out there and ones from which I have gleaned bits and pieces of information, but one I came across only a few years back has really spoken to me. It is called “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. Although new to me, it was a concept created by the author and playwright Julia Cameron nearly 20 years ago. She calls it “A spiritual path to higher creativity” and “A course in discovering and recovering your creative self.”

Having exhausted many other self-help routes, I thought I would give this a read. It sounded intriguing and since I have a creative soul I thought, why not? Through Julia’s personal experience and through conversations with fellow artists she discovered several common issues and barriers that were faced. She outlines in a structured format what these barriers are, some solutions and guidelines for practicing new techniques.

So what if you don’t see yourself as an artist, what can “The Artist’s Way” guide do for you? At our core we are all creative beings. How your creativity is expressed may be very different, but creativity is an innate part of being human. Some are creative cooks, gardeners, problem solvers, builders, and others enjoy creating with clay and paint; it is all creativity in the end. But what happens if we stifle our creative energy, and continue to judge the results of our creativity with negative eyes? How unhappy and unfulfilled will we become? Sometimes this leads to depression and anxiety but can also cause physical illness such as headaches or digestive issues. Ignoring an integral part of what makes us unique and who we are never has a good outcome.

For me, using “The Artist’s Way” has been an excellent adjunct to other spiritual and self-help practices. It helps me to tap into my creative spirit and the childlike innocence of my authentic self. Use of this concept is a way to maintain the energy of this authentic self at whatever level of creativity you have. Julia Cameron talks about barriers and how to break through them. In my opinion, this is the keystone to any positive breakthrough. Julia helps structure some steps to assist with the transformation, not only to identify barriers but to deal with them positively. Through my experience, recognizing and working through barriers is a life-long evolution.  Get through one layer and there is another buried deeper. So, learning a process that works will assist at discovery at any layer.

The contents of the book “The Artist’s Way” deals with recovering a sense of safety, identity, power, integrity, possibility, abundance, connection, strength, compassion, self-protection, autonomy, and faith. As you can see, these are common issues many of us may have as we break through negative barriers into something new and more positive in our lives. I believe in this process and will becombining these strong concepts with the collective energy of group dynamics in a six week course to assist members to move through barriers faster and to use the group energy as a support through change. To find out more read the information go to

Teresa Van Lanen is a Creativity Guide who conducts presentations, seminars, workshops, teleclasses and other events that help people reconnect with their creative spirit and to move into more joy in their life.  Visit Teresa @ for a free quiz to gauge where your creative energy lies and for more information on her upcoming free teleclasses: February 3rd entitled:  “Rediscovering your authentic creative spirit”. Beginning in March for six weeks I will be hosting a group course over the phone called “Creative Minds”. Join us as we explore chapters of “The Artist’s Way”. To register for any of these events, visit her web-site @

One Response to “Discovering and recovering your authentic self”

  1. Even though it was written twenty years ago, I still don’t think any book on creativity has yet topped The Artist’s Way. I’ve read it and the follow-up books, and also had the pleasure of attending 2 Creativity Camps with Julia in Taos. Life changing. Wouldn’t be where I am today without the book.

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