Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

The Dignity of Our Wounds

Surround yourself with people who respect and wish you well.
— Claudia Black

To recover our inner artist, we must face the scars that block us. As if we are trees, we remember and grieve where the hopeful young sapling’s limbs of potential were damaged by the ice storms of criticism, broken by aloof (perhaps jealous) teachers, weakened by drought of support, and torn away from us by the thoughtless, harsh attitudes of parents and others whose opinions we needed.

This damage has to be bravely diagnosed, if we are to know how to treat and heal it. Julia writes, “Like the career of any athlete, an artist’s life will have injuries. These go with the game. The trick is to survive them, to learn how to let yourself heal. Just as a player who ignores a sore muscle may tear it further, an artist who buries his pain over losses will ultimately cripple himself into silence. Give yourself the dignity of admitting your artistic wounds. That is the first step to healing them.”

If we ignore the darker moments that detoured us from our heart’s wishes as artists, we may fail to see how we ourselves may still be re-enacting the scenarios that thwarted our dreams.

Julia explains, “No inventory of our artistic injuries would be compete without acknowledging those wounds that are self-inflicted. Many times as artists, we are offered a chance that we balk at, sabotaged by our fear, our low self-worth, or simply our other agendas.”

I agree, but then she and I have a difference of opinion. Julia cites two examples where people turn down offers for dream opportunities in other cities, because they don’t want to leave lovers, friends, or family. This is a tough one, and, in my opinion, not as simple as how Julia frames it. Trying to choose between our artistic calling and our loved ones is a painful, difficult choice, and not only because we are blocked artists.

In some cases, choosing the relationships may, as she indicates, be an act of self-sabotage, especially if those connections are not joyful and good for us. And I agree that all too often, it is easier (thanks to long habit) to sacrifice our artistic dream for the comfort and ease of someone else.

But I do believe that our human connections can be in harmony with, even integral to, our creative work. I think that if, as today’s quote describes, we have surrounded ourselves with people who respect and treat us well, particularly our artist self, we run just as much risk. Making a choice to leave such a loving support system has just as much potential to sabotage our artistic growth.

What we both agree on is that the more we see and accept the past experiences that make us vulnerable to such conflicts, the more we will be able to avoid situations that create strife in the first place.

If we can understand the patterns of our past that have buried our artist self, we can better prepare for future patterns that test us. These would be the recurring situations that seem to pit our security versus our yearnings for free expression; or that appear to force us to choose between our beloveds and our art. I believe that such dichotomies are usually false; a side-effect of older wounds that make our vision myopic.

Most of all, it is imperative that we not make choices that we will bitterly regret later.

But what do you think? Have you ever felt torn in such a way? What did you do? In retrospect, how do those choices look today?

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  • September 25, 2009, 3:28 pm Anonymous

    This is an interesting topic for me (I am 60) lately. At age 30 I came to a crossroads. I was getting a lot of offers to perform as the singer/songwriter I was then, and my ex-husband offered to take full custody of our daughters, then age 4 and 6 so I could devote myself to a music career (travel, late nights, rehearsal.) I found that my maternal self just couldn't do that, so I continued to share custody and pursue music part-time. Many young women I meet (ages 20 through 40)are handing over their kids to husbands or nannies to do career, without any apparent guilt. I find myself envying their stories. How do they do that? It is more and more a societal norm. But my heart says I did what I had to do back then. Would I have made another choice if I was from a different generation? I fear that my kids didn't get a fully present mother, nor did my music get the full Monty. I am back on the creative path strongly now. But I still find myself detoured by loved ones: husbands, needy friends, grown kids. I guess I just have to take it day by day, monitor myself and how much I give others vs what my artist self needs.

  • September 25, 2009, 4:29 pm Star

    These are very difficult choices, relationship vs. art. I think there is more to this dilemma than just the individual and the immediate relationship. I think our "work ethic" culture causes just as much harm to emerging gifted vulnerable artists as teachers, acadamia, parents, and choices about friends, lovers, and children. There is no ethic in our American culture to honor the arts as a valuable part of life or to support gifted artists through the community. There is little honor and respect given to art and the many benefits that it brings to the spirits of others and the community spirit as a whole. Artists are expected to "make it on their own" and support their own families with no built in support system. This is the biggest obstacle I see for all gifted artists. Unless one finds a bit of luck, a patron, an inheritance or stumbles upon some magical circumstance, most emerging artists get slapped in the face with the reality of survival from the beginning of their lives and never get to experience supported nurturing for their art and gifts. It is mighty difficult to overcome an entire culture to pursue the gifts one is born with and ranks right up there with discrimination based on race or sex. In some cultures artists are honored and supported by the state or a patron or their families and are able to explore the fullness of their gifts and offer their art to the community. This is not the case in the good ole USA. Instead, most artists must get to their art after they take care of their own survival and their family. So, making choices about relationships vs. art is a unsolvable dilemma, in my opinion, and Julia does not really address this.

    Star*

  • September 27, 2009, 5:14 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Oh heck. I just wrote a long response to both of you and Blogger ate it. I don't know where it went.

    The gist was, I feel that Julia's approach to reconciling the opposition at times between relationships and our creative yearnings is too simplistic. I thank you both for your thoughts on this, because I believe this is crucial to our long-term reconciliation, but there are no easy solutions.

    Together, perhaps we can create those structures of support that have never been there for us before.
    – Beth