A writing exercise from The Right to Write by Julia Cameron, p 148.
I fantasize about my dream home, my dream days, my dream life often. Sometimes it’s in hope of manifesting it into reality, sometimes it’s in hope of lulling me to sleep at night. I’ve never before tried writing about it though, other than the bits of our wishes we’ve talked about on this blog. So even though this is about vulnerability – okay, perhaps especially so – this seemed like one that I should post here!
Your writing has by now stirred some of the deeper waters of your soul. Your deeper dreams and desires are more clear to you. The lacks and limitations of your current life stand out in bas relief. This tool asks you to imagine “the unimaginable life.” The life that might truly make you happy. It takes courage and vulnerability to admit and imagine our deeper dreams. The irony is that as we are able to envision and clarify for ourselves our deeper dreams, we seem to activate such dreams toward manifestation
Set aside an hour’s private writing time. Set a sacred atmosphere by lighting a candle, perhaps cuing up some expansive music (for me Tim Wheater’s flute is an excellent Pied Piper). Set your pen to the page and describe one day in your Ideal Life.
What time do you get up? Where do you live? Whom do you live with? Whom are you working with? What are your hobbies, your pets, your passions?
Allow yourself to dream on the page. Allow yourself to be surprised. Your Ideal Life may be radically different, telling you that the time is coming for you to make changes.
“Morning.” His kiss on her forehead.
She whimpers, shifting between the sheets and peering at him through squinted eyes. Pale, early morning light peeks around the edges of the long, creamy curtains and lights up his curly hair like a halo as he bends over her. She can’t help but grin. He starts to pull away, but she’s able to grab his hand, pulling herself into a sitting position and throwing her arms around his middle, murmuring a quiet “Good morning” into his shirt before he pulls away. He’s off to work, but woke her as he always does, on his way. She watches him exit the room and hears him retrieving his breakfast and heading out before stretching and blinking herself awake.
She wriggles her way out of the wide, king-sized bed, dislodging a fat, orange, sleepy cat from her feet and waking a small dog that bounds around excitedly as she tries to make her side of the bed before making her way into the bathroom. After a leisurely shower and a quick rummage through the closet to dress, she heads to the kitchen herself to pour a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal, settling in at the kitchen table with her phone and iPad to check on social media and email while the demanding little black cat squeaks and twines through her legs.
Once she and the animals are fed, the dog let out into the back yard for her morning romp, the kitchen straightened up and the dishwasher unloaded, she tosses in a load of laundry before pouring another cup of coffee for herself and making her way into her home office. The walls are a rosy pink, and the bright sunlight spilling into the room glints off the white wainscoting and bookshelves that surround the space. Here, everything is about her, from the stuffed pandas and pug dogs peeking at her from around the boxes of crafting supplies, to the half-finished Victorian dollhouse waiting for her in one corner, to the desk under the window where her computer sits, and where she now sets her coffee, settling into the cocoon-like chair where she spends much of her day.
She pulls open the laptop and, while it comes to life, flips on her phone, turning to a playlist she loves before plugging it into the speakers on the corner of the desk. Ella Fitzgerald spills across the room, and she begins re-reading her work from yesterday, figuring out just where to jump in again, drawing out the story of her latest novel.
When the playlist peters out two hours later, she is sitting back in the chair, re-reading a paragraph she isn’t crazy about. It’ll do, she thinks, at least for today, saving her work before pushing the lid of the laptop closed, collecting her empty coffee cup and heading back to the kitchen. She has a few things to do to prep lunch before her husband comes home.
They eat in the sunny kitchen alcove, talking about his morning and her plans for the afternoon. They have tickets to a play for the weekend, and spend a little time pushing her iPad back and forth between them, looking at restaurants they might try and reading their reviews on Yelp. They wonder about inviting some friends over for a game night on Sunday, and she shoots off an email there, while she is thinking about it, to invite them.
She gathers the dog and they walk him back out to the car together, where she kisses him at the curb before he heads back to work, the dog snuffling about the lawn to do her business. She wiggles her bare toes in the grass and studies the flower beds. It’s time to get some new annuals in for the summer, and she considers what to buy as she sets up the front sprinklers to run before heading back inside. She moves the laundry to the dryer and starts it, then runs the vacuum around the house and dusts while the TV plays a DVR’ed episode of Grey’s Anatomy. She finds herself on the couch a few times, mesmerized during particularly haunting parts, but manages to shake it off and finish straightening up.
Grabbing her purse, she heads out to the garage to grab her car, and heads for Starbucks with the windows down and the music blasting. Just in time for that mid-afternoon caffeine hit, she finds her friend already at a table and joins her, ready for an hour of gossip and chat about life, writing, and books. Once the coffee has been drained and their energy replenished, they head to their cars again. She turns toward the north side of town, steering her way to the gravel road that marks the entrance of the farmer’s market.
It isn’t her week to sit at the table that her writer’s group mans, but she stops by to say hello and check on book sales before picking up piles of cherries and peaches from one favourite vendor, buttered walnut buns from another, and some honey and preserves she hasn’t tried before. At the last minute, she grabs a pie, thinking of the friends that will be over for game night that week. By the time she’s ready to go, her market bag is digging into her shoulder and she’s out of cash, but happy and her cheeks are pinked from the sunny day.
At home, she unloads her treasures onto the kitchen counters and stashes the bag, grabs the laundry and quickly folds it before hauling the basket to the bedroom, stacking items on the bed for her husband and getting her own tucked away as she hears him coming in the door, the little dog dancing excitedly at his arrival and yipping her approval. She gets there in time to tackle him with a hug before he makes his way too far into the house. She chatters on about her farmer’s market finds and spends a little time listening to him talk about his day before heading into the kitchen to start dinner. He sprawls in his recliner, popping open his own laptop and chats with her while she works, the upbeat music of a game trickling into the kitchen.
After another feeding of the animals and stepping out onto the back deck to let the dog explore the backyard again, they sit down to a table she’s set in the dining room, the lights soft, candles glowing between them, glinting off the glasses of white wine and the vase of early flowering branches. Their conversation, like the mood, is quiet and gentle, different from their time together at lunch. There is laughter and relaxation, the winding down of the day. They clear the table together, loading the dishwasher and cleaning up the kitchen, their work peppered with soft kisses and light touches, promises of the night to come.
When the work is done, she curls into a corner of the sofa, digging her latest handicraft project from a basket on the side table. He on his laptop and she with her needlework, they watch a show or two together, then as the evening light begins to fade, they make their way to the front of the house, turning off the sprinklers, leashing the dog, and heading down the block together for a walk. Outside, they wave hello to a neighbor or two, but mostly walk quietly, the dog leading them along a familiar route to the park nearby, where they take a turn with her around the grass before turning and heading back for home.
She makes her way to the master bath, once home again, and sends her clothes down the laundry chute, brushing her teeth while waiting for the large bathtub to fill. When it’s about halfway there, she rummages through a basket, pulling out various items to sniff and consider before selecting one of her favourite Lush bombs. Sitting on the edge of the tub, she tosses it in, watching it twist and swirl, filling the water with sparkling colours, before she eases herself into the tub and settles in with the latest book she is reading.
She is drowsy, sweet-smelling from the Lush bath, hair slightly damp at her neck when she curls into bed beside him. She wraps her arm around his middle and nuzzles the back of his neck, distracting him from his phone…