Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Blocked by The Three D’s

It is impossible to get better and look good at the same time.
–Julia Cameron

I am so delighted that you are joining our journey. Many of you are already experienced creators, looking for a new, fresh surge of energy. I know you’ll get that, plus more! And for newer travelers on The Artist’s Way, I promise that you, too, will come away from this with a gigantic boost of faith in your own dreams and abilities.

So we continue today with the first step, “Recovering a Sense of Safety.” To overcome our blocks and our past disappointments, one of the most fundamental places to start is to know and understand the enemy: core negative beliefs.

Julia points out that we don’t get stale, get blocked, or ignore our artistic longings because we are losers, or bad people, or hopeless failures. “Most of the time,” she writes, “when we are blocked in an area of our life, it is because we feel safer that way.”

I certainly see this over and over again in my readings with clients who insist on clinging to rotten relationships, jobs, or other situations that suck the life out of them. This is most definitely true of taking creative risks as well. So why do people do this?

“We may not be happy,” Julia explains, “but at least we know where we are – unhappy. Much fear of our own creativity is the fear of the unknown.

“If I am fully creative, what will it mean? What will happen to me and to others? We have some pretty awful notions about what could happen. So rather than find out, we decide to stay blocked.”

Of course, she affirms that this decision is rarely conscious. It usually plays out in a series of unconscious, self-sabotaging tactics, including what I often see as the Three D’s: delays, distractions and dramas. Just as we are about to reach out and give something new a try, seemingly out of the blue, one of the Three D’s suddenly appears to throw us off our course.

But we can shine a bright light on the forces within us that create this. Those forces are our fears, and they set us up for familiar patterns of self-defeat. By facing those fears, we can understand and heal them.

So here’s an exercise for you. I suggest that you spend some time working with this in your morning pages. And of course, I invite you to share your favorites here! See if you can come up with twenty (Yes! Twenty! Be creative!) ways to complete this…

I can’t be a successful, prolific, creative artist because:













(yes… keep going! Silly. Sad. Serious, or not — you’re doing great!)







Tomorrow, we’ll discuss and share.

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  • March 4, 2009, 2:24 am Thalia

    Good God. Twenty?

    1. I have no ambition (actually said about me by my best friend’s mother years ago; one of those things that just stay with you, you know?)
    2. I have no money.
    3. I am too tired.
    4. I am afraid.
    5. It’s not safe. (As a naturally anxious person coming from a neglectful childhood I have had to make safety a priority and not apologize for it. But I can’t tell what kind of ‘safe’ is the kind to honor, or the kind to try to get through.)
    6. I am a girl.
    7. I have no support.
    8. I am crazy, and my art is a symptom of that craziness.
    9. I’m not willing to sell anything; I won’t advertise.
    10. I don’t do commissions.
    11. I am too easily distracted.
    12. I try to do too many things at once.
    13. Ordinary things get in the way.
    14. I never get anything done.
    15. My work is just illustration. It’s not ‘High Art’.
    16. I have no focus.
    17. I am helplessly stuck.
    18. I have no power.
    19. You have to be dead to make money with art.
    20. I don’t like myself that much.


  • March 4, 2009, 2:28 am Thalia

    Oh, the Muse; he weeps.

  • March 4, 2009, 8:06 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Big hugs, Thalia, Grace of Flowering and Joy.. this was so brave of you. And I hope it revealed much about the sources of your fears.

    Thank you so much for your courage, speaking what I know is also true for many, many of us!
    – Beth

    ps: You can especially stop believing number 19 now, please! 🙂

  • March 4, 2009, 9:34 am ARIE

    “self-sabotaging tactics” …
    Gurdjieff calls this “the Guardian” who is a part of the formatory system.
    The Guardian’s function is to keep you safe and to make you reject any possibility for self development/growth. If you are about to cross over your own borders then the Guardian uses all kinds of tricks to stop you.
    He uses self justification excuses like I’m too tired now and many other excuses.
    One of the best ways to overcome the Guardian is to work with it and not against it. It is impossible to defeat the Guardian by force.
    For example:
    One of the many exercises in Gurdjieffs schools are physical.
    You have to stand with your arms streched parallel to the floor. After a while you feel pain. The Guardian tells you to stop. Why to continue? it is not comfortable. This is the point to start negotiating with him. You tell him. Look just for 5 minutes more and come to an agreement. Then after 5 minutes you negotiate again and so on. It is remarkable to see how long you can stand this way.
    How many times did you feel sick before an important event that would make you grow? It is the Guardian that sends instructions to the physical body to stop you.
    He controls you physical body, your emotions and your mind. But once you become aware of him, then it is possible to negotiate with him.
    I hope this gives some insight on how this system works.
    I myself, am on a financial survival mode and can only spend some time being creative during the weekends.
    from this statement I can already find some excuses.

  • March 4, 2009, 12:24 pm Angela Raincatcher

    OK. I’ll play…

    I can’t be a successful, prolific, creative artist because:

    1. I have no training.
    2. Only my friends like my work.
    3. I don’t have time.
    4. I have other responsibilities.
    5. I don’t have the money to pay my bills and do my art.
    6. I can’t draw.
    7. I can’t paint.
    8. My work has no meaning and expresses nothing.
    9. Anyone can do what I do.
    10. No one with money would want to buy my work.
    11. I don’t the money to keep buying the supplies I need.
    12. I am too scared to promote myself or my work.
    13. Some of my visions will scare people or make them think badly of me.
    14. It has to be perfect.
    15. Saying you are an artist is hubristic.
    16. It takes too long for me to complete a commissioned piece.
    17. If I make the commitment to do this work, then I have to perform.
    18. What if I go the magic well and it is empty?
    19. I sound really woo-woo when I talk about my art and creativity.
    20. My art will drive me mad.

    The last four where the hardest to write.

  • March 4, 2009, 12:30 pm Athene Noctua

    Quick question-is Thalia the one who does paintings of Athena?

    If so I came across her paintings on the net and were stunned by their beauty. Thalia graciously allowed me the use of one of the images for my facebook profile picture. #9 about not being will sell anything, may not pay the bills, but thank you for sharing your art w/ the rest of us.

  • March 4, 2009, 12:45 pm Beth Owl's Daughter

    Angela! Stepping out of the shadows! What beauty and bravery you have! And now, I have been to your website and your art ROCKS. I know that if these are your fears, once we blast them away (and we WILL!), there is a mother lode of talent and creativity you haven’t even tapped into yet!

    Thank you thank you for your truths. We are all honored by your sharing.
    Love and blessings,
    – Beth

  • March 4, 2009, 2:53 pm Thalia

    Yes, Athena, that’s me. 🙂 Thank you.

    ARIE, I don’t know. For me, anyway, I’m still learning to be kind to myself. And for someone who’s lived all my life feeling unsafe right now I have to be able to choose safety. It sounds like Gurdjieff is operating from the assumption that most people are starting from a place where they already, for the most part, feel safe. This is not true of me. Anyway, that’s probably neither here nor there, though it does affect how I approach all of this and throws that extra little monkey wrench into things for me. Because I can’t abide unkindness.

    Angela, your fear of sounding ‘woo-woo’ got me thinking about how Pagans are already starting off at a disadvantage there, before you even add in the art part. And I wanted to echo Beth and say that being able to write those 20 things down, in public, is a very strong and very brave act.

    And thank you, Beth. #19 I put down to my mother being a big Vincent van Gogh fan. 🙂

  • March 4, 2009, 8:41 pm Tina

    OMG Angela I could have written almost exactly that list. Especially the part about only my friends liking my work and no one with money wanting to buy my work!