In discussing the ways that we make known to the Goddess our secretly whispered heart’s desires, we have to also look at the shadow that is (at least until we have done a lot of homework and growing) almost always tied to this. Our ability to ask for what is our truest truth is hampered by the degree to which we are ashamed to do so.
This difficulty comes up when we begin to test the idea of “Ask and you shall receive.” To ask exposes us. To open your heart, and fully seek means your defenses drop, and your most vulnerable self is revealed.
Julia writes, “Those of us who get bogged down by fear before action are usually being sabotaged by an older enemy, shame. Shame is a controlling device. Shaming someone is an attempt to prevent the person from behaving in a way that embarrasses us.
“Making a piece of art may feel a lot like telling a family secret. Secret telling, by its very nature, involves shame and fear. It asks the question, ‘What will they think of me once they know this?’ This is a frightening question, particularly if we have ever been made to feel ashamed for our curiosities and explorations – social, sexual, spiritual…”
To be the true artists of our lives, our authenticity is absolutely necessary. We must write, paint, dance, sing, photograph, teach, weave truth – our truth. But there is a good chance that our truth-telling may make someone else uncomfortable. And that is hard. It takes a lot of courage, no doubt about it.
It means we have to ignore the fury of the inner critic, the family and community skeletons we were taught to keep closeted, and the subtle (and not so) pressures from those with whom we are most intimate. In fact, it requires a certain detachment from the whole culture, for that matter, which is more interested in our obedience, not our expression.
Our art can threaten the status quo of all those vested interests. So yes, if you have been contaminated with shame about revealing your authentic self, which, in turn is the source of your creativity, it is not surprising.
“The act of making art exposes a society to itself,” Julia writes. “Art brings things to light. It illuminates us. It sheds light on our lingering darkness. It casts a beam into the heart of our own darkness and says, ‘See?’”
Next week, we’ll discuss more about this as well as considering the difference between criticism and shaming. But over the weekend, in your morning pages, I invite you to gently see if you remember any incidents when you might have been discouraged or even shamed about your true self, especially in the area of your creative longings.
Who or what might have been behind these events? How have you been affected? Now, with the perspective of time and maturity, what do you really believe?