Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Losing Interest

The Frustrated Artist – © 2007 Bill Shain

He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.
— Abraham Lincoln

We’ve been exploring the wounds of shaming that may have shut down or hampered our inner artist for many years. This is hard to look at sometimes, and if anger, grief, and fear flicker up in you, please know that this is a healthy reaction. It shows your inner artist is still alive, and longing to be set free.

But this first airing of our dark sorrows can be painful, so I applaud the work you’ve been doing. It takes courage to move through this step. But by finding that courage, you are finding the key to your power, which is precisely what this work is all about.

However, intellectually understanding the people and incidents that have been toxic to our fledgling creative explorations does not automatically resolve our dilemma. Julia notes, “For the artist who endured childhood shaming – over any form of neediness, any type of exploration, any expectation – shame may kick in even without the aid of a shame-provoking review. If a child has ever been made to feel foolish for believing himself or herself talented, the act of actually finishing a piece of art will be fraught with internal shaming.”

This is one of the most perilous steps on the journey for me personally; one that I am still trying to heal and move beyond. As Julia describes it, “Many artists begin a piece of work, get well along in it, and then find, as they near completion, that the work seems mysteriously drained of merit. It’s no longer worth the trouble. To therapists, this surge of sudden disinterest (‘it doesn’t matter’) is a routine coping device employed to deny pain and ward off vulnerability.

“Adults who grew up in dysfunctional homes learn to use this coping device very well. They call it detachment, but it is actually a numbing out.”

Isn’t it fascinating how for two weeks, our Tarot card was The Fool – the joyful abandonment of criticism and doubt; the leap of faith; the pure-hearted act of following our bliss. But now, this week, the King of Swords appears, offering his detachment and the cold eye of criticism.

The two working together can be an empowering dynamic –combining pure creative inspiration with the intelligent eye of skill and craft. But for the wounded child artist within us, we must be careful that the gift of detachment is not a form of secret, pre-emptive despair.

More tomorrow.

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  • April 21, 2009, 8:35 am Lainie

    Thank you Beth – this is a powerful insight. I have a long history of abandoning my art immediately after any sort of breakthrough – I make a wonderful piece and then stop doing anything for a very long time. I never quite understood the dynamic, but this rings very true. Thank you!
    I hope you’ll write more about how to transcend this dynamic.

  • April 21, 2009, 12:18 pm Sarah

    Wow, this hits home for me. Rings a lot of bells…gives me food for thought. Thanks for the great post!

  • April 21, 2009, 12:55 pm Marion

    superb is all i say… thank’s again.

  • April 21, 2009, 3:07 pm Thalia

    Well, I have been known to finish the occasional piece of art. I’m not really joking–I have a big pile of unfinished stuff that nags at me. I don’t know if it’s that I have suddenly lost interest and am preemptively despairing, or have reached a point in them where I’m not sure quite what to do next, and that that is a big enough hurdle that I freeze. Or that if those aren’t actually just forms of the same thing.

    I had been mulling this idea of shame without quite getting it since you mentioned it on Friday? I think? but last night I had two dreams in which I was made to feel ashamed, deeply horribly ashamed, for things that I had not done (I don’t mean being accused of something when I was innocent, rather things I had not thought to do while acting in good faith). In both cases it was the sort of thing where I was completely bewildered; they were both sort of cheap shots out of the blue meant to hurt me and rattle my foundations, that kind of thing. Horrible. After writing about it a bunch (in my ‘morning’ pages, actually!) I think they are both about bucking convention, and the critics of the world (external and internal) not liking that I am learning to hold true to myself (in other things beside art and creativity; though for me I’m finding it’s all one thing).

    This quote of Julia’s really hit home:

    “For the artist who endured childhood shaming – over any form of neediness, any type of exploration, any expectation – shame may kick in even without the aid of a shame-provoking review. If a child has ever been made to feel foolish for believing himself or herself talented, the act of actually finishing a piece of art will be fraught with internal shaming.”

    You should see me try to draw a beautiful man, one I find really attractive. Oh my God, it is so horrible. I end up frustrated to the point of tears and deeply, deeply ashamed. There’s a lot to it, and it’s something I’ve been consciously trying to work out (by which I mean I am consciously aware of some of the issues feeding into it) but damn I am not there yet at all.

    But I can feel that quote helping, a lot, though I’m not sure I can articulate why just yet.

  • April 21, 2009, 4:36 pm Beth Owl's Daughter

    This IS powerful stuff.. Believe me.. I know.. Thalia, I underlined that very passage in my book ten years ago. and it still gets to me. I can’t honestly say I’m all healed and fixed forever. But I’m lots better.

    And doing these steps again, with you all, (both those who have spoken up, and also knowing there are others who have not, yet)..is making a HUGE difference, at least for me.

    So much of this work is really very hard. Thank you all SO much for showing up and sharing your own parts of it (in words AND in energy). It isn’t nearly as lonely with your beautiful, brave companionship.
    – Beth

  • April 21, 2009, 9:09 pm Thalia

    That I can state it publicly and out loud means I have come some way; shame always would have us keep secrets. Also, if it is a known psychological/spiritual phenomenon then there must be known strategies for healing. I think that is what is resonating with me in that quote.

    Which is probably what tomorrow’s post is about, right? 🙂

  • April 22, 2009, 5:48 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    RIGHT!!!!

    🙂 🙂