It’s a rainy day on the bay.
Time to review my week’s wanderings in The Artist’s Way.
This week was all about…exploring the Perils along the Creative Path – or the road to Creative Recovery for those of us… working the program. (she winks)
One of my favourite quotes showed up this week….
When we are really honest with ourselves we must admit our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines the kind of men we are. – Cesar Chavez
That’s what this is all about…
Creativity is God energy flowing through us, shaped by us, like light flowing through a crystal prism. When we are clear about who we are are and what we are doing, the energy flows freely and we experience no strain.
This… I love this idea…
I do not often feel it in my day to day practice as an Artist. I suppose this means that I am not, yet, often CLEAR.
This makes me laugh a bit. This idea that I am still not clear about who I am and what I am doing.
I started re-watching Season One of True Detective last night. And … oh there is something about the writing of that show (YAY Nic Pizzolatto!)… especially the character of Rust (played by Matthew McConaughey) that I LOVE LOVE LOVE.
There’s a scene in the interview room where he says…. “I know who I am. And after all these years, there’s a victory in that.”
It guts me. Every time.
Because… right then… at that point… Rust is saying that he’s a guy who works four nights a week at a bar and when he isn’t at work, he drinks … and there is no one to stop him.
It’s heartbreaking and yet… and yet… what is it that keeps bringing that scene back to me? The… laying back… and just letting it all BE. Just letting himself BE?
I do know that the idea of just… being who I am and doing what I do is… outstandingly appealing to me.
To… be… OK.
To know that being is enough.
Being kind. Yes. To others and to myself.
Doing my work. Yes. As well as I can.
Laying off … just a BIT, maybe, on the constant…struggle to be “better” and do “more.”
Moving on….Julia talks about how some of us use WORK to block our own creativity.
I assume a lot of people reading the book might think about … job-jobs… the rent paying gigs that keep us from doing our Artistic Work. That’s clear to see.
But I think we can also block ourselves WITH our Artistic Work – or aspects of it. We can get so… BUSY… with the work that we lose the true trail.
For many, work is the block of choice. Busy busy busy, they grab for tasks to numb themselves with. They can’t take a half hour’s walk, “What a waste of time!” Must-dos and multiple projects are drawn to them like flies to a soda can in the sun. They go, “Buzz, buzz, buzz. swat!” as they brush aside the stray thought that was the break through insight.
More more more…. Do MORE!
Yup… that’s my poison. Do more, work harder, put in more HOURS on the book. Or try another …. class/program/whatever…… to “make myself better” on the LIFE front. Get BUSY, Missy!
When asked to name our poison, most of us can
The need for perfection… the desire for commercial success… the need for…. APPROVAL from some outside source. These are my poisons.
And the way that I think I will GET to… the perfect draft that will win me accolades from Critics and the Public alike is… to work work work HARDER. To keep the nose to grindstone, to leap on that treadmill and pump it out pump it out pump it out…..
And… Sister J is so right when she says…
The choice to block always works in the short run and fails in the long run.
YES – I can make myself feel better (short term,) just by sitting down and FORCING my hand to work. But… if I’m not… also … LISTENING… then the stuff that oozes out of my pen is… well… dead.
It is dead. And in the long run, I know it is not…. the good stuff.
And THAT leads me to… run away from the project all together and stop working all together.
And then…sure enough…
The self-honesty lurking in us all always knows when we choose against our greater good. It marks a little hot on our spiritual blackboard: “Did it again.”
So… why on earth would I follow this pattern of behavior that I can SEE isn’t really working for me in the long run?
Blocked, we know who and what we are: Unhappy people. Unblocked, we may be something much more threatening— happy.
Imagine that, eh?
Imagine if it were true.
If we could just… let it flow … let our creativity flow… and in letting it flow, we would be there, right in the middle of the flow and … thereby… we would be in “the NOW” and … all would be well… and so… we would be happy.
And why would this “being happy” be dangerous or threatening?
Because it would also mean that we are letting the TRUTH flow out. If what Julia keeps harping on about is true and if our creativity is actually … THE CREATOR’s voice coming through us…. well…. some shite could hit the fan, no?
Not the struggle to do more be more more more more… but to actually CHANGE. Once and for all and to maybe be… DECENT to each other and to know that we are all actually OK just as we are.
No need for all the … stuff… the world tries to sell us.
Just be here, now, and tell each other the truth of what is like to be here now.
And to see, clearly, that it isn’t our “doings” that make us… worthy to live.
There is a difference between zestful work toward a cherished goal and workaholism. That difference lies less in the hours than it does in the emotional quality of the hours spent. There is a treadmill quality to workaholism. We depend our our addiction and we resent it. For a workaholic, work is synonymous with worth and so we are hesitant to jettison any part of it.
Work is synonymous with worth…. RESONATES for this one.
And if the WORK isn’t…flowing… then I damned well need to MAKE IT FLOW. I need to work harder and harder on that treadmill.
How else can I … PROVE my worth?
I wonder why that is my question.
Should the question perhaps be…. “Why do I feel this need to PROVE my worth?”
Ahh… the things that happen to children. The things that happen to humans to load them up with hurt, and need, and oh the lack of true nourishment along the way.
We begin to win approval from others by… doing good in school, by cleaning up the house, by taking care of others. You are worthy if you do these things.
If you DON’T… Well…. what good ARE you?
What if instead, someone just says…. “I like hanging around with you.” Not because of what you DO for them. I mean…oh maybe you do things like… make them laugh, or listen to them, but that’s different than what I mean by “taking care” of someone.
What if someone just says… “I’m glad you are here.”
And what if, instead of that feeling of FORCING myself to work, I came to the page each morning and simply… waited and listened and allowed.
I do manage that… sometimes.
I’m working on it right now, with these reVisions of Sanctuary. It is scary, because it seems to me that BY NOW I should already HAVE this story and these revisions should just be… tidying things up. But the truth is, by working the way I was working last year – under the LASH of produce produce produce…. a lot of what is on the page is… dead. And I need to LISTEN some more. It is scary, but it is also fascinating.
The listening is nourishing – for me.
And the showing up to the page each day is nourishing too.
All I am trying to remove is … the LASH.
So… what if we could all find a way, outside of a “specific project” to… show up to the page every day and by showing up, to be there for our own selves? And to LISTEN?
For all creative beings, the morning pages are the lifeline—the trail we explore and the trail home to ourselves
And what if … we believed that … even in times of drought… when the WORK on that “specific project” isn’t flowing, that we were still… worthwhile. That this time of drought would pass and that the ideas, the creativity, the feeling of being well and truly ALIVE would return?
What if we could survive the down times and learn from them. Learn to be kinder to ourselves and others?
What if we, in fact, kept a map of our time in the desert-land wilderness?
In a creative life, droughts are a a necessity. The time in the desert brings us clarity and charity. When you are in a drought, know that it is to a purpose and keep writing morning pages.
To write is RIGHT things.
Morning pages are both our wilderness and our trail.
Yeah… what if we kept mapping it all out… and what if simply drawing these maps gave us solace the next time we hit a drought? Wouldn’t that be… “worth it?”
There were some more things I marked in the book this week.
But I’m going to leave it there. Because…. yes. This is the most important thing for me this week.
That we are, each of us, finding our own way.
That we are, each of us, OK just as we are and yet… still moving forward.
That there are times of movement and times of rest.
Each of us is our own country, an interesting place to visit. It is the accurate mapping out of our own creative interests that invites the term original. We are the origin of our art, it’s homeland. Viewed this way, originality is the process of remaining true to ourselves.
Let us be true.
Let us know who we are and what we are doing.
Thanks for stopping by.
For the coming week…. a little RUMI…
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment ~ Jalal Ud-Din Rumi.
Go easy ~p
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explorations in creativity