We are taking the next, crucial step on the pathway to freeing our artist self who has been locked in a tower for unknown decades. To do so, we have already faced some of the monsters who guard the gate.
Defeating those ogres from our past, using the gifts and blessings given by our champions, we are very likely to begin swinging through emotional extremes – exhilaration at the possibility of liberation and, simultaneously, terror at the possibility of liberation.
Going sane and recovering our sense of identity begins with observing in what ways we fill in for the monsters we’ve just overthrown. Self-attacks are common at this point of the journey:
“Okay, so I did alright this week, but I know how I always end up failing”… “Yeah, I got some of the morning pages done, but I probably didn’t do them right, and I missed two days” … “OMG! I need to plan something BIG and do it right NOW!” … “Who am I kidding? I don’t have time for this, and besides, my [husband/wife/partner/job/kid] really needs me right now; this is just too selfish” … “I can do all this, but it will never make up for the fact that I am just a mediocre talent at best..”
Who needs monsters when we are so good at attacking ourselves? Julia notes, “These attacks are groundless, but very convincing to ourselves. Buying into them allows us to remain stuck and victimized. Just as a recovering alcoholic must avoid the first drink, the recovering artist must avoid taking the first think. For us, that think is really self-doubt: “I don’t think this is any good…
“These attacks can come from either internal or external sources. We can neutralize them, once we recognize them as a sort of creative virus. Affirmations are a powerful antidote for self-hate, which commonly appears under the mask of self-doubt.”
And, like the alcoholic, we need to consider carefully the current people and situations that enable our self-sabotage, keeping us shackled in the dark corners of what might have been.
More about this tomorrow.