The idea of micromovements is so simple and obvious. We can see perfectly well that just giving five or ten minutes a day to our creative work will move us forward (and out of our perpetual pit of guilt and anxiety about it).
For instance, if we would just sit down and write a teeny little bit every day, this is progress. If we would just actually go out and buy the beads, we can check that off our list, and then tomorrow, we clear some space, and next day, we get out all our supplies, and maybe just work for a few minutes while the clothes are in the dryer. By next week, we might actually have something.
So why is this so hard? SARK tells us that, “Much of what stops us is the ordinary. We think of our creative dreams and imagine what needs to happen before it can become true and real, and we sigh and stop ourselves…Remember: Procrastinators are fabulous rehearsers. They mentally rehearse endlessly without physically moving.
“You could ask a procrastinator [translation: blocked creative – B.] to paint the bedroom, and she might lie on the couch mentally preparing to paint, rehearsing what kind of brushes she will use, and what color paint to buy. When you ask her when she’ll be starting, she might say, ”I’ll do it later, I’m too tired now.” And she never actually made any physical movement!”
Julia agrees that focusing on the next right thing is the key to progress. “Most of the time,” she writes, “the next right thing is something small: washing out your paintbrushes, stopping by the art-supply store and getting your clay, checking the local paper for a list of acting classes … As a rule of thumb, it is best to just admit that there is always one action you can take for your creativity daily. This daily-action commitment fills the form.”
Remember, as we gently unfold our creative artist self from decades of hurt and hiding, process and progress are our goals, not product. Teaching ourselves to enjoy the process of our creativity, rather than seeking a huge tickertape parade of success, is the same kind of necessary healing as the alcoholic who must learn to appreciate the deep, but sometimes subtle joys of sobriety, as opposed to the wow factor of being high (and smashed).
Over the weekend, I offer a little exercise for you. Select five of these affirmations to work with. Maybe you could use them as inspiration for some art. Perhaps you might want to include them in your daily spiritual practice. Muse over them in your morning pages, or find a way every day to act upon them.
Select five from the following and work with them:
I am a talented person.
I have a right to be an artist.
I am a good person and a good artist.
Creativity is a blessing I accept.
My creativity blesses others.
My creativity is appreciated.
I now treat myself and my creativity more gently.
I now treat myself and my creativity more generously.
I now share my creativity more openly.
I now accept hope.
I now act affirmatively.
I now accept creative recovery.
I now allow myself to heal.
I now accept God/dess’s help unfolding my life.
I now believe God/dess loves artists.
I invite you to share how you decide to do this, and anything that comes up as you do. More next week!