Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

False Trade Offs

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
— Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)

As I discussed yesterday, as we go about discovering our artist selves, one of the big problems is “either/or” thinking. Julia writes, “Stripped to their essence, our multiple negative beliefs reveal a central belief: we must trade one good, beloved dream for another. In other words, if being an artist seems too good to be true to you, you will devise a price tag for it that strikes you as unpayable. Hence, you remain blocked.”

So, when you look at your list of twenty reasons why you can never be a prolific, successful artist, what trade offs are actually hidden there? For instance, when we give up on ourselves because, say, our sister is a better artist than us, are we really saying that we are afraid to somehow damage the status quo with our sister?

When we tell ourselves that our art will never pay the bills, have we assigned a price tag of art = poverty? If we never get started because we don’t have the “right” or “finest” equipment, materials, or skills, what good beloved dream are we imagining will be disturbed by allowing ourselves to do it anyway?

Or here’s one that I see for myself and others here (in disguise, of course): I have to be perfect right from the start, or else I quit.

Really. And what, I ask myself, if I had copped that attitude when I was first learning to walk, or read?

As you navigate this journey into previously unknown territory, some of these challenges will come up again and again. That is okay, it’s normal, don’t let it throw you. Some of your inner critic voices will probably never be completely silenced. But as it becomes more clear to you that these fears are actually quite irrational, you will see through them quicker, wasting less time on them, and spending more time getting on with your creative expressions.

There is another sometimes painful, but powerful clue to our deep identity as artists. It shows up in our reactions to others who are creating. “As blocked creatives,” Julia observes, “we often sit on the sidelines critiquing those in the game. ‘He’s not so talented,’ we may say of a currently hot artist. And we may be right about that.

“All too often, it is audacity and not talent that moves an artist to centerstage.

“As blocked creatives, we tend to regard these bogus spotlight grabbers with animosity. We may be able to defer to true genius, but if it’s merely a genius for self-promotion we’re witnessing, our resentment runs high.

“This is not just jealousy. It is a stalling technique that reinforces our staying stuck. We make speeches to ourselves and other willing victims: ‘Ibetter, if only…’ could do that

“You could do it better if only you would let yourself do it!”

Just a little something to think about over the weekend. Please continue with morning pages (how’s that going, by the way?) And have you had an artist date yet? Tell us about it!

Next week, we’ll start cooking up some delicious potions and antidotes for our inner fears. And we’ll begin writing permission slips that it’s okay to let ourselves do what our souls long for.

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  • March 6, 2009, 8:53 am Darla

    My deepest thanks to Beth and those of you who shared your lists – wow – I feel such a kinship with you. You certainly nailed it for me with “I have to be right from the start, or else I quit.”

    As for morning pages, those are great and easy as I’ve never had any trouble blathering on and on in journals, although I did make them more fun by buying colored pens so my ‘brain draining’ is pretty! LOL

    I had my first Artist Date yesterday. Had originally planned on attending children’s story time at the local library but when I saw a notice for a drawing workshop there the same day, I suddenly felt *that* was what I had to attend — even though *don’t* draw, I write. I sat next to a delightful little boy who could care less what anyone thought of his work and that really freed me to just do my own thing. It was fun! I would love to hear what others are doing for their Artist Dates! Star, I thought your Artist Date at the school was great and I sure connected with your ‘little voice’ telling you that the kids were better than you were…

  • March 6, 2009, 6:38 pm Thalia

    That's funny. For my word or theme this year (I try to pick one each year) I chose 'permission.' And you're right, Beth, I don't know how I anticipated your Winnie the Pooh quote like that. Great minds, &c., I guess. 🙂

    I did a few morning pages, but I found they were taking a HUGE chunk of time. Probably because I was using 8 1/2 by 11 paper and I write tiny! I need a smaller notebook, I think.

    I'm not sure I understand the Artist Date idea, though. Is it a solitary focus on art, or is it more about play and loosening up?

    Also, I am finding all of this unbelievably helpful and wonderful. Thank you, thank you, Beth, for doing this, and thank you to everyone sharing. It's amazing.

  • March 7, 2009, 1:24 am Marya

    I am loving these posts.

    Much of my own blockedness had to do with envy. Fear of arousing envy in others and the discomfort of my own envy towards those who seemed more creative than myself.

    Very deeply buried emotion, that one.

  • March 7, 2009, 5:55 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    This is such a powerful, synergistic experience. I can’t begin to tell you how delighted I am that we’re doing this; far beyond my wildest imaginings!

    Permission granted to use smaller notebooks for Morning Pages! 🙂
    – Beth

  • March 7, 2009, 6:48 am ARIE

    Joining you as my oldest daughter came for the weekend with her portable computer.
    Your posts helped me realize what I really want. What kind of art can make me happy and still help me make a living.
    But first I need to make it my TARGET.
    My father was a garden planner an his gardens where art. Only at a later age I realized that this is what I wanted to do.
    So yesterday while watching following videos an urgent urge to follow the Permaculture (which I consider art)way came to me.

    A longer version, featuring two amazing projects, can be found at:
    and at

    This is something I can enjoy and also earn some money.

    When I look at my list of 20 reasons why not it more or less resumes to free time and money.
    Also that I'm too old, lower physical endurance, economic crisis, I'm the breadwinner, unexpected expenses like dentist, fixing the computer, etc. A third world war soon, nobody will appreciate ny work, I skipped my opportunity, it's too cold in winter. I really laugh at myself to some of the excuses.

    While reading Freya Aswynn book on Northern Mysteries I found that is is possible to magically alter the past.
    Quoting her:
    Magically if one considers the past as part of the present, one can then with retrospective magical action alter the past subjectively and therefore shape one's future.
    By altering a certain emotional resonance in the past, one sets up a current which will shape a corresponding future.

    I have neve tried this and will try this.

    I will continue later as my youngest daughter needs the computer. I have some more to say about negative emotions.

    Love and Peace

  • March 7, 2009, 3:26 pm Thalia

    That’s crazy. Hecate was just talking about this on her blog, like, yesterday. This is a totally new idea to me. Did you see that?

    By altering a certain emotional resonance in the past, one sets up a current which will shape a corresponding future.

    Synchronicities, eh?

  • March 7, 2009, 4:41 pm meggins

    I think all the negatives boil down to Four Fears (to borrow somewhat from FDR):

    Fear of Self
    Lack of faith in one’s training, talent, vision, discipline, etc.

    Fear of Others
    What will they say? Or what have they already said?

    Fear of Circumstances
    Issues of space, time, health, family commitments

    Fear of Failure
    The biggie. It encompasses all the above and then some. I can’t make a living/win awards/gain respect/be considered a “real” artist.

    Slay the Four Fears!

  • March 9, 2009, 10:22 am ARIE

    Hi Thalia,

    I have never visited Hecate’s blog before.

    I went in there now but could not find what you mentioned.

    These Synchronicities happen to me a lot with certain people.

    Maybe we could prepare an email list of synchronic people and correspond?