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Excerpted from The Vein of Gold: A Journey to Your Creative Heart by Julia Cameron. Copyright 1996 by Julia Cameron. Excerpted by permission of Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"A pilgrimage is a physical process, a process that engages our heart and soul, not merely our well-honed intellect."

Julia Cameron, Vein of Gold, Part 3

To restore our artist-child to health, we must be willing to go to any lengths -- just as we would for a child of flesh and blood. This means that like parents of an ailing child who make a journey to Mecca -- or the Mayo Clinic, for that matter -- we must be willing to undertake a pilgrimage, with all the challenges that implies.

If this sounds daunting, like an awful lot of work, let me assure you that what we are going to undertake is something radically different from what you might conceive. Because our aim is to strengthen and heal a creative child, we will be undertaking instead a whole lot of play. On our autobiographical pilgrimage to the self, we will explore our lives through tools that may seem like child's play: movement, writing, sight, sound and silence. We will create, recreate, and recreate. We will work, yes, but we will really learn to play.

Many of the tools of this book may appear frivolous to your adult self. They are far from frivolous. This is a book of deep, thorough creative healing -- and the tools are creative ones. It is the use of creativity which heals the creative wound. Nothing else works. Creative recovery is not an intellectual process. Our adult self merely "understands" a wound. Our creative artist, that inner creative child, must actually heal it. The job of your adult self, for the course of this book, will be to walk your creative child back into health. You will notice that I have used the word "walk." I have done so deliberately.

A pilgrimage is a physical process, a process that engages our heart and soul, not merely our well-honed intellect. What this means is that the tools of Vein of Gold will be more deeply felt, and therefore more deeply resisted, than the tools of The Artist's Way. The dark horseman of intellectual skepticism (also known as doubt) will be your constant traveling companion.

As you explore the Kingdoms of Story, Sight, Sound, Attitude, Relationship, Spirituality, and Possibility, you will be learning simply to "do" and you will be learning by simply doing. Ironically, by allowing yourself to make what you conceive of as "bad art" or even "crafts," you will heal yourself and give yourself the necessary strength and humility required to make good art. In other words, by working with these childlike beginner's tools, you will be reawakening in yourself your artist's right to a child's wonder and sense of play. It is from that freedom that your mature creativity must be born. In other words, in order to go forward, you must first go back.

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