Julia Cameron
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Learning to Love Your Life

Affirmation:  I savor life.  I glory in life.  I love my life!
I love my life. 

I haven’t always felt that way but I wanted to feel that way and isn’t that what affirmations are for, to empower us to create our own reality?  
I can remember very clearly the first time I heard someone say, “I love my job.”  I was a teacher in a rural middle school.  I’d been teaching for several years.  The gentleman who spoke those words was the English Chair of this very small school, three people in his department.  How much money could he have been making?  I knew that wasn’t the reason for his happiness.  I didn’t ask him why but over the years, I listened for others to say the same thing and I very rarely heard it.  How often have you heard such a declaration?  
Then, one day many years later, I heard a woman say to me, “I love my life.”  She had shared with me in the past how unhappy she was, so this time I asked why.  She had made some very conscious choices and some very drastic changes.  She had moved to Italy, took up painting and dancing and fell in love with life.  Was it necessary to make such drastic changes in order to love life?  Were there other tools she could have used to find happiness without moving to another continent?  

Our dear friend Oie Osterkamp is the director of the Ronald MacDonald House here in Durham, NC.  Most of his life has been dedicated to helping other people.  His writing is all about making the lives of others better, richer. 

His first book is called Sharefish  (the opposite of selfish.)  He then went on to create Sharefish Int’l (http://www.sharefish.org) an organization dedicated to “bringing  hope to the hopeless” in Honduras.  I don’t know the exact number of people who interviewed for the directorship of the Ronald MacDonald House but I remember it was a very large number.  My husband and I were with him right after he received the news of his appointment.  Of course, he was ecstatic.  He told us “I was born to do this.”  What a gift, to be employed doing something you love.

At the time of this writing, Earline Middleton, Vice-President of Agency Services & Programs for the North Carolina Food Bank (http://www.foodbankcenc.org) has worked there for many years.  I came to know her through the Young Women’s Christian Association.  She and I sat on the board together many years ago.  Then, my mom, Margaret Grolimund, became one of their dedicated volunteers when she moved here.  One day, Earline shared that she had when she first took the job at the Food Bank she had no idea she’d be with them for so long.  She said she was “lucky” she had taken a job and found a passion.  

We’ve read about them, we’ve met them, perhaps we are them, one of those people who knew from an early age what they were destined for, what they were created to do.  Patricia Sprinkle, prolific writer and teacher shared with our class that she picked up a career brochure one day when she was fourteen which defined “writer”. She finished reading it and thought, “Oh, that’s me.  I’m a writer.”  And, so she is. Her passion for writing is palpable.  It truly is a gift, don’t you think?  When someone is born with a talent that presents itself to them at any point in their lives, but especially at an early age. 

I have always been fascinated by Dale Chihully, the famous glass blower.  His works are stunning, massive and he has exhibits all over the world.  He once created The Tower of David exhibit in a section of Jerusalem.  It was one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever viewed although I had to imagine the full effect by relating it to the exhibit I actually viewed at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.  I can’t imagine how he discovered that he was to be one of the best of such an unusual talent.  I think if most people had been born with such a rare gift, it would go unfulfilled.

Have you ever heard an adult say “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up?”   It seems to me, that’s most of the population but it’s never too late.  When I facilitate Artist Way workshops, we use Julia Cameron’s process to discover what it is that brings us fulfillment and joy.  What nurtured our creative spirit when we were children; what nurtures it now?  What is it that we get lost in doing?  I have watched many people come through the program with a sense of awe when they discover what they have set aside and almost lost in the name of surviving only to see their passion for their gifts is still there.  It’s just been lying dormant waiting for a little sunshine to bring it forward.  

Sure, if I moved to Italy or even went to visit for an extended period maybe, maybe I would feel like my friend.  But, maybe I can create, here and now, a life that I can claim to love.  I am the author of my own life.  I am the sculptress of what I want my life to look like.  With some soul searching, prayer and a supportive community, I can shape a life I love.  One of the most powerful tools to us is to come up with an affirmation affirming how one feels about their life.  Can one change the way they feet about life by simply stating “I love my life?”  I decided to try.  So, I created the affirmation,  “I savor life.  I glory in life.  I love my life!”  And, I claimed it, I wrote it, I read it every morning.  Then, it happened.  I realized, I did love my life.  I have surrounded myself with love, love of God, family, friends.  My life is really cool and I feel wonderful about it.  This is what I believed happened.  By the power of my affirmation, I slowly began to change.  I became more conscious about my decisions, about what I chose to do and not to do, about who I chose to be with and who I did not want in my life.  The affirmation worked just like affirmations do.  It slowly permeated every fiber of my life and without struggle I was off “living in Italy” painting, dancing and loving my life.