Welcome to Week 6 of my Artist’s Way Adventure. If you are unfamiliar with this new series, take a look at The Artist’s Way Adventure – Prologue and then come back here later.
This week was titled “Recovering a Sense of Abundance”, but as you can see from the title of this post, I have boiled it down to Religion and Finances. It was a rough week, as the saying goes, you don’t ever talk about three things: Religion, Politics, and Money and this week covered two out of those three topics.
While I do have a job, I am absolutely awful at budgeting and finances. While I am a Catholic, I do not regularly go to church and keep my religious beliefs tightly to myself. Yet this week I was supposed to constantly think about both topics and this put me through an emotional rollercoaster.
Am I glad I did it?
Was it easy?
No way, Jose!
Like seriously, this week came around at the right time. I was starting to feel that the Artist Way was becoming bland and I could feel myself losing interest as I usually do with long-term projects. However, this week woke me up and made sure I had its attention.
Money Money Money
I work a full-time job that luckily provides me with enough funds that I’m able to go on adventures and enjoy the lifestyle that I live. However if one were to ask me, how much do I spend on entertainment, gas, bills, etc… I’d just shrug my shoulders and be like, “I spend money, bills are automatic and I toss my receipts carelessly into the trash.”
As an adult, I should budget better, but in reality, I don’t. My boyfriend has started to mention this to me about three weeks ago and thanks to The Artist Way I was pretty much forced to face the dreaded moment of sitting down and really looking into my finances.
It luckily wasn’t hard. I do not have a million bank accounts and thanks to Virtual Wallet by PNC it was pretty easy breaking down how much I spend on average per month. I used a page from my Bullet Journal to write down a column for my monthly expenses such as insurance, Netflix, Adobe, and other bills that I handle while I had a second column for expenses I made throughout the week.
To make the week significantly more challenging, I decided that I would be as frugal as possible. No spending recklessly during my lunch breaks or eating out. I made sure to pack lunch and loads of peanut butter sandwiches to save some money while working in the city. This also made tracking my spending habits during Week 6 a breeze since I barely wrote anything down till the second half of the week.
What I learned? I’m not doing as badly as I imagined with my money habits. I obviously have to learn to eat out less and do less impulse buys but at least I have acknowledged this by actually seeing my habits instead of just making myself feel guilty about spending.
Take Me to Church
As a child growing up, I went to Catholic school. I had been in Catholic school from middle school all the way through high school. It isn’t as if the concept of God is foreign to me. However ever since I graduated from high school, I had stopped going to church. I would honestly only go whenever a relative or family friend invited me for a big occasion such as a wedding or a communion, but besides that, I never went.
Synchronicity is interesting.
My boyfriend’s cousin invited my boyfriend and me to go with her to church. This was not because she was getting married, nor was it because she was going through one of the other seven sacraments, it was because it was Sunday and she genuinely wanted to go. The timing of the invitation could have not been better and I figured, why not? It fits in the theme of the Week 6 and I had no other better ideas for my Artist Date.
While yes, technically I did not go to my Artist Date alone, spirituality is a very personal experience for me. On Sunday morning I was anxious. This was the first time in a very very long time, perhaps the first time ever that I was going to church just because I wanted to go. No special event, it was not a mandatory experience by a school, it was just because I wanted to reconnect with the Great Creator.
I got dressed as if I was getting dressed for an actual date. I fussed over my outfit and wondered if I looked ‘presentable’ for Sunday service. Eventually, I settled for a simple outfit after my boyfriend reassured me that the church was not judgemental and that God would not care about how I looked. He loved me regardless.
Which by the way, The Artist Way has been mentioning how the Great Creator loves us for who we are and is always there to support us for whatever artistic venture we pursue.
The experience was phenomenal, all my senses were in overdrive as I stepped inside of the building. I actually cried twice during the service and felt so blessed and supported that it is difficult to express in words. While I was not alone during this Artist Date, I was touched deeply by the whole ordeal and perhaps that’ll make the Basic Principals a bit easier to swallow as I continue to read them.
My biggest obstacle has been my spirituality and now I have rediscovered it. At least partially.
Besides tracking my finances and getting in touch with my spiritual side, I did do all of the tasks this week and they were fun. The postcards I bought were actually the first purchases I made that week and it was difficult finding rocks while working in the city. One of the tasks I struggled with was giving away five possessions, not because I could not let them go, but because I could not find the ideal person to give them to.
One of the tasks I struggled with was giving away five possessions, not because I could not let them go, but because I could not find the ideal person to give them to. On my commute to work, I encounter a lot of people in need, so when I saw that particular task I knew one person who I wanted to give a ‘care package’ of sorts too.
Now that I had assembled the five knick-knacks along with food items into a bag, that one person wasn’t there. Ideally since the items I had in the package were meant for women, I wanted to give it to a woman in need, however, all I saw were men. I am not sure whether or not that obstacle was placed in my way so that I could continuously carry this bag with me as a reminder of Week 6 or because my luck had turned sour. On Friday, I finally found a woman to give it to and I hope the care package will help her.
Week 6 was apparently about recovering a sense of abundance, however, I believe it failed in that aspect. The nature collecting, the freebies, and checking my account did not help me believe in abundance. This week was indeed ‘what the doctor ordered’ since it helped rejuvenate my love for Artist Way and my eagerness to follow its teachings.
Week 6 made me face a lot of things that made me feel uncomfortable and uneasy. It was not easy and I appreciate having a reason to tackle these aspects of my life since I kept putting them on the backburner to handle on another day when I am not so busy.
Are you going through Artist’s Way? Are there any aspects to your life that you struggle with? Feel free to share your stories, I’m all ears.