WEEK NINE – RECOVERING A SENSE OF COMPASSION
QUICK NOTE: In respect and honor of Julia Cameron’s work, I will not be providing a full report or deep dive into the text. I’ll be sharing a light summary and one or two of the week’s activity list. To hear my thoughts and insights, listen to the pod!
Blocked artists are not lazy. They are blocked.
Often, as creative beings, we can appreciate the freedom that calling a spade a spade gives us. Knowing what’s real and what’s open to our own sense of interpretation is valuable. Yet, we’re mean to ourselves, and have learned the wrong vocabulary for our behaviors.
When we want to create and have an inability to do so, we cruelly label that as laziness. If there is anything to walk away with, it’s that being lazy and being blocked are two totally different things. Walking into The Artist’s Way, stepping forward on your creative recovery is a clear sign that you are a blocked artist – which are the farthest from lazy artists.
Blocked artists expel a lot of energy, it’s just you usually can’t see that. Because blocked artists are focused on self-loathing, grief, jealousy, doubt, and overall fear.
Procrastination is not laziness. It’s fear.
It feels like a great act to practice your art and rebel against those who said you couldn’t do it. To make it worth while, we feel we must make great strides and become remarkable from the ground running. But this does not allow joy, authenticity, or love of the craft come through and be your guiding light.
If you are afraid of not being good enough, lower the bar for yourself. Simply doing needs to be enough, because if it’s not you won’t be able to practice your passion. You’ll continue to live in fear. Instead, tell yourself you are doing a great job. That showing up is success itself. Let go of expectations and follow the love that arises when you take inspired action.
True, our artist may rise at dawn to greet the typewriter or easel in the morning stillness. But this event has more to do with a child’s love of secret adventure than with ironclad discipline.
Often we look at living life as an artist and assume that it takes a lot of discipline to make that a successful lifestyle. Julia Cameron establishes that this is a very dangerous approach. It is is short lived and a false application.
Her reasoning is based on where the dependency of discipline is derived from – “discipline is rooted in self-admiration.” What happens is we see ourselves as being wonderful for following the discipline instead of allowing our creative outflow to be the point of why we show up to our artistic practice.
That’s why enthusiasm is the sensation to anchor your work to. Enthusiasm allows you to follow your passion and becomes a spiritual commitment. It is not an emotion, but a loving recognition and surrender to your creative process.
Allow your artistic work time to be your creative play time. Art is a process, which is meant to be fun.
We’re more comfortable being a victim of artist’s block than risking having to consistently be productive and healthy.
Being on a creative recovery means that you are also committed to your overall health. “A productive artist is often a happy person.” If you are getting your needs met by being an unhappy person, then you may be taking creative u-turns to keep you unhappy.
We can get a lot of attention by saying that we can’t, we’re unable, we’re fearful, we’re blocked, we’re etc. But that’s not the kind of attention that we need if we want to live a healthy lifestyle. Otherwise, the idea of being successful may make you want to turn and hide.
Creative u-turns are any kind of roadside attractions or bumpy side roads – anything that keeps you from moving forward and being in your alignment. They are consciously made to keep you exactly where you are. They are a fierce form of discouragement.
To counter this impulse, it’s important to carry compassion. U-turns are born from fear of failure. Allow yourself to see the pattern and give yourself kindness for having that fear in the first place. Once we stand up and admit that we need help, that’s when help arrives.
BLASTING THROUGH BLOCKS
In order to work freely on a project, an artist must be at least functionally free of resentment (anger) and resistance (fear).
This is a close quotation from the text.
- List any resentments you have in connection with your current project.
- Ask your inner artist to list your fears about the project.
- Check-in to see if that is all there is.
- Consider what you stand to gain by not working on your art.
- Make a deal with yourself and creative flow: I’ll show up for x and source, you show up for y.
Remember, this is in tandem with daily morning pages and a weekly artist date.
Visualize your goal. Write it down in present tense, just like an affirmation: “I am _______.” Post it where you work and read it aloud daily. Take pictures of yourself doing the activity and post them, too. Seeing is believing and it will make the experience – the goal – very true and real for you.
And with that my friend, is the end of week ten. Thank you so much for joining us and we can’t wait til next week!
Remember, you can buy the book, here. And the podcast episodes are dropped every Friday.
No pressure, friends! After all, we’re trying to be better.