Remembering the Flight © Mihai Criste
The optimist lives on the peninsula of infinite possibilities; the pessimist is stranded on the island of perpetual indecision.
— William Arthur Ward
We continue this week recovering our sense of what is possible. We cannot have gotten to any real sense of this without having done the challenging prior steps of meeting our shadows, uncovering our grief, and coming face to face with how we choose our stuckness.
But having seen that (and yes, there is probably still more to learn about those), it is truly time to step forward and embrace the openings that may be emerging, as we clear away the ghosts and debris of our wounded past.
For our job is not to dwell in what was, but to find our hallowed ground upon which we can plant a new crop of dreams. We are discovering that ground is still fertile, magical, and will support our creative desires.
As your inner artist comes back to life within you, Julia is very realistic about how to protect it. We must not allow our tender young creator to be crushed by our current circumstances, which may not have been built with easy space for him or her to thrive.
For instance, we may find ourselves stuck in what Julia calls The Virtue Trap. “An artist must have downtime,” she writes, “time to do nothing. Defending our right to such time takes courage, conviction and resiliency. Such time, space, and quiet will strike our family and friends as withdrawal from them. It is.”
She warns that this can be a difficult transition. Our loved ones may want to support our newly emerging creative aspirations, but they also may still want their comfortable status quo undisturbed. So we try to squeeze in the extra creative time without making demands, or rearranging commitments and priorities that might affect them.
How long do you suppose that is going to work?
Julia warns that at first, we may battle valiantly, even intensely, for our undisturbed quiet creative time. But if, over time, our warnings and demands are ignored, we begin to turn our frustration upon ourselves.
“What’s the use?” we ask ourselves. If we haven’t produced the Great Work within a time frame that our job, marriage, friendships deem as “reasonable,” we doubt that we have talent, decide it is too late for us, or swallow the belief that this was just a silly, indulgent “phase.” And the cycle of shame and grief begins again.
I’m here to tell you – don’t do it! This is the Virtue Trap. Our “unreasonable demands,” our “selfishness” may in fact be only barely fair to our artist within.
Even those of us who might be producing some creative works, may be stuck in this trap. More about this tomorrow.