Stillness In Prayer © Lucia Hartini
Grace is the central invitation to life and the final word. It’s the beckoning nudge and the overwhelming, undeserved mercy that urges us to change and grow, and then gives us the power to pull it off.
— Tim Hansel
One of the hardest things we may experience along The Artist’s Way is to taste the long-lost hope of who we could be, yet still feel trapped in the complex maze of where we’ve been. And all the while, we are not able to see (yet!) any way out.
I think that this may be precisely the point. At the half-way mark of our journey, we are now recognizing that we may be living in predicaments that were once only barely visible to us, yet which have very old, deep roots. And it is perhaps crucial that we understand there is a lot here that we have had little control over.
As Julia keeps saying, (and I agree), permanently healing and recovering our creative Artist Self is very much a spiritual task. Which winds us back around again to our discussion about spiritual surrender. The way forward depends a great deal on understanding that our human ego, or Talking Self, will have to give up some of its stubborn, willful struggles, if Magick/Spirit/Goddess Within is to act on “our” behalf.
I think these exercises are intended, at least in part, to show us how to dance the back and forth moves of will and receptivity. We dare – and extend our desire into action; but we simultaneously discover that there are important areas in our lives where all we can do is let go. So we learn to ask for help, because there really isn’t one damn thing else we can do.
And the big juicy surprise is, this is a tremendous gift! This is where we discover what, in my blog posts last year, I called “Grace.” This is the real Power that can help us. It is us and Not Us; it is the Divine Other/Self/God/Goddess/Soul .. She of Ten Thousand Names (including our own).
Turns out that creativity, as my friend Bonnie Cohen has said, is a combination of making something happen, and letting something happen.
So, as promised, here are some exercises to explore this further. I hope you’ll spend some quality time over the weekend working with these.
1. The reason I can’t really believe in a personally supportive God/dess is … List five grievances (Go ahead and vent candidly if you need to – S/He can take it).
2. If I had either faith or money, I would try … List five desires. Then start looking for images of your desires. It is quite interesting how many you will suddenly happen to run across. Clip them out, photocopy them, draw them, collect them in some way. Begin a file of dreams that speak to you. I call these my Discovery Journals; Julia simply calls it an Image File. Add to it continuously from here on out. Be aware, my friends, this is very, very powerful magic!
3. One more time, list five imaginary lives. Have they changed? Are you doing any more parts of them yet? Add images of these lives to your Image File.
4. If I were twenty and had money .. List five adventures. Again, add images of these to your dream discovery image file.
More next week. And meantime, please be extra tender with yourself. This is very hard work, and it is important that you replenish yourself. Make absolutely sure you are keeping your artist dates. They are not optional or luxuries. Trust me — you really must do them. Happily, this time of year there are so many artistically oriented events in our cities and towns, many for no charge at all!
Be patient with yourself. Do not read your wish lists and despair! Still yourself, open your heart, and ask. Big and small, frivolous and serious. With every skeptical fiber of my being, I know that the Great Giver of Good hears every word.
Wait and see.