Week 9 – Recovering a Sense of Compassion
This week finds us facing the internal blocks to creativity it may be tempting to abandon ship at this point. Don’t’ we will explore and acknowledge the emotional difficulties that beset us in the past as we made creative efforts. We will undertake healing the shame of past failures. We will gain in compassion as we reparent the frighten artist child who yearns for creative accomplishment. We will learn tools to dismantle emotional blocks and support renewed risk.
Learn to call it by its name. Accuracy and compassion serve us far better. Being blocked and being lazy are two different things. Blocked artist spend more energy on, regrets, on grief, on jealousy and on self-doubt.
· Blocked artists don’t know how to take baby steps, they want to jump right pass all that into the great big impossible tasks; a novel, a feature film, a one person show.
· Fear is a true name for what ails the blocked artist. It may be fear of failure or fear of success.
· READ page 152 and discuss Fear, Guilt and Calling it by its name of Just FEAR.
· Fear is what blocks an artist. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of not finishing. The fear of failure and of success. The fear of beginning at all. There is only one cure for fear. That cure is love.
One might think being an artist is about greeting each day at the crack of dawn like a good discipline solider.
Over any extended period of time, being and artist requires enthusiasm more than discipline. Enthusiasm is not an emotional state. It is a spiritual commitment, a loving surrender to our creative process, a loving recognition of all the creativity around us.
· Enthusiam-Greek, “filled with God” Enthusiasm is grounded in play, not work.
· True, artists 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 then with ironclad discipline.
· Could it be looked at as a Play date? Different perspective.
· Remember that art is a process. The process is supposed to be fun. At the heart of this play is the mystery of joy.
Creative U Turns
Recovery from an artist’s block, like recovering from any major illness or injury, requires a commitment to health.
A productive artist is quiet often a happy person. This can be very threatening as a self-concept to those who are used to getting their needs met by being unhappy.
· Question-“How’s that all be working for you? Is it something you’re getting a lot of attention for? The unhappy thing that is.
· Those of us addicted to sympathy in the place of creativity can become increasingly threatened as we become increasingly functional.
· Many recovering artists become so threatened that they make U-turns and sabotage themselves.
· We’re more comfortable being a victim of artist’s block than risking having to consistently be productive and healthy.
· An artistic U-turn arrives on a sudden wave of indifference. (Lack of importance)
· Making the process, to unblock at any time we could have this Creative U-turn happen.
Julia shares, “The point is we have traveled light-years from where we were when we were blocked. We are now on the road, and the road is scary. We begin to be distracted by roadside attractions or detoured by bumps. “
Read, samples page 155.
Creativity is scary, and in all careers there are U-turns. Sometimes these U-turns are best viewed as recycling times. (Again a change of perspective.)
· A successful creative career is always built on successful creative failures. The trick is to survive them.
· Creativity, not time, would best heal creative wounds. Stick to that philosophy.
· Creative U-turns are always born from fear-fear of success or fear of failure. It doesn't really matter which. The net result is the same.
· First admit it exists. Name it…and yes I do need help.
· Once you admit the need for help, the help arrives.
· The ego always wants to claim self-sufficiency; it would rather pose as a creative loner than ask for help.
· Ask for help anyways.
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). What do we mean by that? We mean that any buried barriers must be aired before the work can proceed.
Personally I've heard we are only as sick as our secrets…as an artist’s child we may be harboring irrational fears, grudges, bogeyman and any adventure that isn't safely scary.
Beginning a new project, it’s a good idea to ask your artist a few simple questions.
· List resentments
· List your fears
· Ask yourself if that is all?
· What do you stand to gain by not doing this project, piece of work, etc.
Time now…Make your deal. The deal is “Okay, Creative force, you take care of the quality, I’ll take care of the quantity.”
· Sign you deal and post it.
A word of warning: this is a very powerful exercise; it can do fatal damage to a creative block…
On to Tasks, continue morning pages and try to treat yourself to an artist date.