When God closes a door, She always opens a window, but sometimes it’s hell in the hallway.
We are considering the ways that setbacks and “failures” may be opportunities in disguise. To the artist, whose entire viewpoint is about finding creative, out-of-the-box pathways, you would think such detours would be second nature to us.
But as recovering creatives, we are especially vulnerable to deep discouragement from such testing. After all, we have a lifetime habit of denial and negative self-judgment. However, this chapter is all about how such events, which are inevitable, can strengthen us, not daunt us. We can take our trials in stride and use them as traction for even greater creativity.
Now is when we put into practice all our explorations of the previous chapters. Because if we are learning to view our artistic ventures as a co-creative process, then that makes our partner God/dess, Spirit, Source. And if that is true, then, it becomes much easier to trust that perhaps our losses are simply guidance; an opportunity to go in a new direction.
Julia offers pages and pages of examples in just the film industry; times when her colleagues have faced enormous disappointments, but then turned those events around into success. Some were forced to shift from directing to acting; some from acting to writing; some from film to video. Yet when they did, avenues of authentic new work opened in the most surprising, successful ways. The point is, Non illegitimi te carborundum – roughly translated to — Don’t let the bastards get you down!
“Artists who take this to heart survive and often prevail,” she assures us. “The key here is action. Pain that is not used profitably quickly solidifies into a leaden heart, which makes any action difficult.”
So her advice is, “When faced with a loss, immediately take one small action to support your artist. Even if all you are doing is buying a bunch of tulips and a sketch pad, your action says, ‘I acknowledge you and your pain. I promise you a future worth having.’ Like a small child, our artist needs mommying. ‘Ouch. That hurt. Here’s a little treat, a lullaby, a promise …’ ”
One of my other favorite creativity coaches, Sarah Ban Breathnach (author of the wonderful daily meditation book, Simple Abundance) suggests that we create a comfort drawer for ourselves. While times are good (or at least not so bad) we collect little treats and treasures and stow them in a special drawer or other tucked away spot.
A stack of pretty stationery, a little box of expensive chocolates, a note from a dear friend or appreciative client, a funny magazine, a book of beautiful meditations. What might calm or delight your tender soul in times of difficulty? Like saving for a rainy day, these goodies are faithfully waiting for us at those times we might be too tired, sad, or numb to gather such things together.
What setbacks have you endured as a budding creative? Can you envision ways to turn such losses into new opportunities? If one avenue of creative expression becomes blocked, what other directions might you go in? Can you think of ways to mommy (or daddy) your vulnerable artist child? What might you put into your comfort drawer?
This is the last day of the month. On this day, we honor the great Triple Goddess Hecate, Queen of the Night and the Goddess of Witches. Hecate is a protector of women and a mighty advocate for those who live on the forgotten edges of society. It is She who guards the crossroads of our lives. It is She who teaches us the ancient Mysteries.
In ancient times, Her worshippers would leave a “Hecate’s Supper” with specially prepared foods as offerings to Her. These offerings are to be left behind at a crossroads at night, without looking back. As we stand at our own crossroads, as artists, creators, healers and awakeners, let us humbly ask Hecate to both guide us, and help us learn to be guided.