WEEK THREE – RECOVERING A SENSE OF POWER

 

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!

 

 

SURVIVAL

We must remember that our artist is a child and that what we can handle intellectually far outstrips what we can handle emotionally. We must be alert to flag and mourn our loses.

Artistic survival is one of the most difficult times an artist must face. It’s when we learn to survive loss – “loss of hope, loss of face, loss of money, loss of self-belief.” And those losses become woven into our artistic career, which makes it hard to shift and refocus these losses as a signal for what it is we are truly meant to practice in this time.

If we choose not to share our losses and try to be tough about where we have been and what we have done, they can be absorbed in our body. Not being open can hinder our artistic creativity. And it builds a sensitivity to receiving criticism.

It can be hard to tell the difference from criticism that comes from an authentic place and criticism that lands with no applied truth. When the later enters, hurt is paired because it feels like a deliberate blow. The best way to help our artistic child to stand tall and ride the wave of loss will be by telling the difference between authentic criticism and criticism that holds no bearing.

Listen to the criticism, and if it sparks an ‘aha’ then you know that it’s the criticism that was aligned for you to hear. If it doesn’t, leave it be and don’t engage. It’s not worth it and may encourage wallowing further into your artistic survival.

THE IVORY POWER

Creativity cannot be comfortably quantified in intellectual terms. By its very nature, creativity eschews such containment.

The teachers that we look for guidance can often be artists that are frustrated by their inability to create. They engage too far in the intellectual side of things, and become distant from the craft they endear. This can lead them to become disturbed with others, and may even unintentionally lash out to make themselves feel better from the distance they have created.

In academia, the mindset is introduced to always grow, expand, and become better. So, naturally, a shaping of hostile form occurs, which may lead the student into numbing their artistic creativity. When evaluated, Julia Cameron found that the students’ work would be scrutinized and unappreciated.

When we engage in a learning environment, we are still nurturing our youthful artistry. And introducing that element of intellectualism can overbear the artist within. It’s important to allow ourselves to let our intuition guide us and explore what needs to be explored within us. But when we let the numbing enter ourselves, we will turn away from other opportunities that arise because we believe we are unworthy of being appreciated.

GAIN DISGUISED AS LOSS

Every loss must always be viewed as a potential gain; it’s all in the framing.

We often forget that when something ends something else begins. It’s hard to accept or see when grief is by our side. We focus on what is no longer with us and that the outcomes we desired cannot occur the way that we imagined – or perhaps not at all.

It can be easy to dive even deeper into the idea of “why me?” But really, when it comes to our creative journey, what we need to be asking is “how?” How can I make this work? How can I take action? How can I proceed in my craft?

As soon as loss hits you, find the strength to step back from grief and instead consider what you could do right now in that moment to support your inner artist. What does your inner artist need to step forward and continue their craft?

AGE AND TIME: PRODUCT AND PROCESS

In a sense, no creative act is ever finished. You can’t learn to act because there is always more to learn.

As time goes by, we tend to look back at younger years and wish with a longing that we spent more of that time with our creative self. It takes us to a spiral of thinking that tells us that we are too old to practice and start now. Hogwash! Whatever age you’ll be whenever you’ll complete a training or preparation will be the same age you’ll be if you don’t do it and wish you had.

Artistic avoidance is never the answer. Our ego might tell us that it’s such a long way, but the thing to focus on is not the end destination, but the fulfillment that is received when we take action in following that journey.

It’s not about how close we got to our dream, but how much we were able to learn, evolve, grow and become one with the craft that alights our hearts! Allow yourself to be a beginner and leave status behind. You’re not doing this for others – you are doing this for yourself.

FILLING THE FORM

Filling in the form means that we must work with what we have rather than languish in complaints over what we have not.

This is a mindset shift in how we approach taking action. Instead of looking at the big picture project, break it down into bit sized steps that allow us to get closer and closer to our overall goal. Let your actions be small and full of creative love for your craft.

We don’t want to overwhelm ourselves in what this will be like in the end. You cannot change your life in one final swoop. Yes, have a vision, but don’t get lost in the perfect form of your vision. It will block you from taking inspiration forward and letting inspiration help you create something better than what your original vision had stood to be.

TASKS

Directly quoted from the book.

1. New Childhood: What might you have been if you’d had a perfect nurturing? Write a page of this fantasy childhood. What were you given? Can you reparent yourself in that direction now?

2. Style Search: List twenty things you like to do. Answer these questions for each item.

  • Does it cost money or is it free?
  • Expensive or cheap?
  • Alone or with somebody?
  • Job related?
  • Physical risk?
  • Fast-paced or slow?
  • Mind, body, or spiritual?