Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Needless to say, the one week of home quarantine that my family and I voluntarily submitted to in mid-May was a blessing in disguise (see June 16 entry for more details). It forced me into some deep reflection and self-evaluation. And I thought that I was already a pretty self-aware and emotionally self-aware person who actively works on self-evaluation and self-reflection.

Faced with the prospect of a homebound week of relaxation- no schedules, appointments deadlines, assignments to grade- I wondered what kinds of productive things I could do in addition to reading. It was then I decided to revisit this book that a friend had given me called “The Artist’s Way”. It was a book, which contained guidelines or activities for a course that would supposedly help people unblock their creativity. In the past I had read “How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci”, a book also written in this style. The author discusses Leonardo Da Vinci’s life accomplishments interspersed with mention of humankind’s historical developments and inventions. These are the inspiration for exercises to stimulate the reader’s curiosity and tap into their own hidden genius. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to awaken the “curious child” within or to find inspiration and appreciation for the wonders of this world.

But I was a little more skeptical about “The Artist’s Way” and its claims to unblock creativity. There is certainly no magic pill for any of our problems in the world and I have most certainly read my share of self-help and psychology related books. Each person is different with respect to what approach is best for them tackle their obstacles.

For me, reading and working on the exercises of “The Artist’s Way” was the beginning of an incredible journey. The weekly assignments, readings and activities engaged me and brought me many unexpected gifts- beyond just dealing with my writing and creative block. I began to discover how I had been “blocked” in my life and in so many other ways. I experienced a range of emotional states: confusion, frustration, anger, loss, curiosity, clarity, disorganization, optimism, an overwhelming sense of anxiety and urgency, impatience, selfishness, humility, embarassment, the joy and hope of new possibility and abandonment. The discoveries that I made throughout this process, I credit equally to myself (my patience and self understanding, staying committed to the daily and weekly activities, beyond the initial week in which I started) and to the book, which served as a valuable tool and guide on this journey.

Without getting into too much more detail, I came to a point in which I questioned what it is I really need to be happy or to have a balanced life (i.e. psychological health, physical health, spiritual health, social networks, professional fulfillment, personal goals). And I had to question what place (Taiwan or Canada/U.S.) would be best for me to satisfy the majority of these needs.

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