Uncovering a sense of safety
Contrary to our mythology, creativity is not a dangerous pursuit. The creative flow is both normal and healthy. We have the safety net of both our friends and our creator to fall back on. Our trepidation fade as we focus on the many positive resources available to us. As we “Count Coup” enumerating for ourselves our creative accomplishments, we see that more accomplishment is possible. Focused on small actions on our own behalf, we experience a sense of ourselves as our own friend and comrade.
In order to grow as artists, we must be willing to risk. We must try to do something more and larger than what we have done before. We cannot continue indefinitely to replicate the success of our past. Great Careers are characterized by great risks. It takes courage to jettison the mantle of what we have done well for the chance to grab at the cape of what we might do even better. How do we know when a risk is right for us? We must learn to listen to the heart and not the head. The head is always full of second thoughts and second-guessing. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You fail. Wouldn’t you like yourself better for failing at trying than you would like yourself for playing it safe?
Quote- It you don’t risk anything, you risk even more. ~Erica Jong
Pen in hand, write 1-10, List ten tiny creative actions that you could take that have no bearing on getting ahead in the world. Think of your tiny risks as a form of self-training. You are learning to say, “Yes, I can” instead of “No, I can’t.”
It takes courage to be an artist. It is an artist’s job to survive reviews and live to work another day.
“If you’re going to believe you good reviews,” Julianna warns Julia about, “then you have to also believe you bad reviews.” It’s better not to believe any reviews and to try to work for the sake of work. Making the work better is the true goal of most artists. We have, at heart, a purity of intention that gets lost in the reviewing process. We are out to make something that can stand on its own as worthy and this often gets lost in the shuffle of the marketplace.
At bottom, reviews often focus on what is lacking and not on what has been accomplished.
*** As artists it is our difficult job to do the work for the work’s sake and to retain a healthy level of detachment from sales. It is easier said than done.
Work is the best antidote for savaged work. If we are engaged in making something new, we are less invested in the reception of something old. If we remember to keep our own counsel-“How did I like the work?” –then we are less likely to be blown apart by the judgement of others.
We are stronger then we think.
Taking positive inventory-We ourselves need to cheer our progress.
Number 1-5 List 5 creative accomplishments.
Remember it is the making of the art, not the reception of you art that makes you an artist.
Talk is Cheap-Actions Speak Louder than Words
In God’s world, the sun rises and the sun sets. The seasons appear each in their turn. Trees bud and bear leaves and flowers. Fruit grows heavy on the bough. There is a time of Harvest.
Quote- A critic is a man who knows the way but can’t drive the car. ~Kennth Tynan
Our destiny unfolds within a larger plan. When we set our hand to our work, something larger than us works through us. We sense that something. Some of us call it God.
“There is a truth that I am intended to express.”
“I have a very intense, very meaningful relationship with God that comes and goes,” one man jokes, kidding on the square. It is his experience that faith does not stay comfortable, that he is asked, again and again, to expand his faith beyond his comfort zone.
At times God feels like a fact of life to me and at other times God feels like a theory.
We strive to make what wants to be made. We open ourselves to inspiration and as we do so, we are led. We do not always feel that we are being led. We must affirm it in the face of our own doubt. We must go forward acting “as if.” When we are willing to do that, we get a sense of our place in the greater scheme of things.
When I am procrastinating about my art, it always feels risky to me,” says one writer. “I always think I will be dropping on my ear. I think, “I cannot believe I am really going to spend another day doing that.” And then I start working and suddenly the world all around me begins to make sense again. It is as though by working at my art I am given faith in the proper unfolding of things.
You’re to sit in a quiet place or spot…note book and pen. But don’t write as soon as you sit down. Look around and receive. You’re looking for guidance. Allow the everyday world slip away, once your thoughts have slowed, deeper insight can swim to the fore. You might receive marching orders. Try this phrase, I wish….. or I could try… and see what comes. You are seeking to “tag base” with a source of wisdom greater than your own.
I Love being up to something. It gives me back a part of my artist identity. If I am too much the drone for hire, I stop respecting myself. It all start feeling a little too corporate for me, I guess…Julia Cameron shares. Julia’s Sister Libby, works on a few portraits at a time. It may be eccentric way to work, but for her it is productive. I am never bored and I am seldom stymied. Julia shares, although she doesn’t phrase it this way, I see that my sister has arranged her work life to keep her work fun for her. Working to keep her ego out of it, Libby finds that she is able to paint more freely. She is able to “listen” to each painting as it unfolds. Some of her best works as what she describes as “happy accidents.” She asks to be of service and asks for inspiration and her paintings are really my answered prayers.
12 Step Lingo, God is sometimes spoken of as “Good Orderly Direction” There is something about creating order that does put us in touch with a sense of the Divine. The task I ask you to do now is a humble one. Set aside one half hour and a stack of your mending. Something about needlework, needlepoint, crocheting or knitting helps. See what you can stitch up.
In our modern world, prayer is seldom discussed as a viable part of living. As artists, we can pray to be of service. Working at our art is really an act of communion. When an artist is fully engaged in working, there is a self-forgetting that happens. The artist becomes absorbed in the service of the work that he/she is creating. The ego dissolves and the soul steps forward. “
At times I am frightened. I feel that what I am writing/painting is uncomfortable, and yet I feel guided that it is what I am intended to say. I do my best simply to cooperate. I am not saying I am without fear, but rather that I try to set fear to one side.”
“Wonder” seems to be at the heart of inspiration. We receive a small, inner prompt and although we wonder where it could be taking us, we obediently follow. In that sense, the writing seems to move one step ahead of a writer. Or the paint seems to move one step ahead of the painter, etc. We write, paint, act, not to display what we think but to discover what we think. More is always being revealed to us as we open to higher input.
Prayer is always an exercise in open-mindedness. If I pray (action) what will happen (response)?
Take pen in hand and list 1-20 topics, people, place and things about which you could pray. Your prayers may range from the tiny, “help me to find some good looking stamps,” to the large, “Help me to know how to help my sister through her husband’s death. Be alert for areas that you do not pray about. The time you pray matters less than that you do find the time to pray.