Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Time and Patience

Andy Goldsworthy
The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.
— Leo Tolstoy

Why is it so hard to take things in baby steps? Why are micromovements (which seem ridiculously obvious, once you think about them) such a revelation?

I think that part of it comes from an unspoken expectation for humans to now move at a fiber-optic pace. My generation was programmed to believe that we could have most complex life situations figured out, with a happy ending, mind you, within the time frame of a TV sit-com. Today, that seems quaint and slow by comparison. We now live in an age of simultaneous, instant global connection. Studies show this is changing our entire culture’s relationship with time.

So we are becoming even less patient with getting results, both from the world around us, but also from ourselves. We demand spectacular success in nanoseconds.

We also need to be aware that once our dormant artist self begins to stir, we still have a lot of healing to do. All those years of suffocation and distortion must be sorted out gently. But it is hard to be patient. We want it all to come true right now. Oh, yes, and we are also desperately afraid of having that very wish come true.

As a result, as Julia points out, “Blocked creatives like to think that they are looking at changing their whole life in one fell swoop. This form of grandiosity is very often its own undoing. By setting the jumps too high and making the price tag too great, the recovering artist sets defeat in motion.

“Who can concentrate on a first drawing class,” she muses, “when he is obsessing about having to divorce his wife and leave town? Who can turn toe out in modern jazz form when she is busy reading the ads for a new apartment, since she will have to break up with her lover to concentrate on her art?

“Creative people are dramatic, and we use negative drama to scare ourselves out of our creativity with this notion of wholesale and often destructive change. Fantasizing about pursuing our art full-time, we fail to pursue it part-time – or at all.”

So instead of writing three pages a day on our script, we worry about how complicated it all will be if we have to move to Hollywood while the film is in production. But of course, we are making sure that isn’t going to happen, she writes, “because we are too busy worrying about selling it to write it.”

The list goes on. We can’t just clear some space next to the kitchen, we have to have a studio before we can make pottery. We don’t sign up for a beginner’s class, because we’ve read the industry magazines and our stuff is not in right now. “How can it be?” Julia snorts (yes, you can practically hear her, right on the page). “It doesn’t exist yet!”

“Indulging ourselves in a frantic fantasy of what our life would look like if we were real artists, we fail to see the many small creative changes that we could make at this very moment…

“Rather than take a scary baby step towards our dreams, we rush to the edge of the cliff and then stand there, quaking, saying, ‘I can’t leap. I can’t .. I can’t …’”

If we ever wish to find out what we are capable of as artists, we must now give ourselves the twin gifts of time and patience. Without them, we cannot really hope to recover our authentic creativity.

More tomorrow.

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  • October 14, 2009, 10:57 am Beth

    Andy Goldsworthy is such a perfect example of the concepts you're talking about. There's a wonderful documentary, called Rivers and Tides, about his work and creative process. You can feel yourself slowing down while you watch it. Time is a big factor, both in how the works develops and how it changes once it's "finished." In the documentary, he says that he feels he needs to live in a place for at least five years before he understands it well enough to bring out what's there. Baby steps and patience, and learning to work within them. He's a master.

  • October 14, 2009, 4:18 pm denise

    Patience and I aren't on speaking terms..we had an ugly fight, some hurtful words were spoken, a few rude hand gestures were used, I MAY have uttered a curse or two. We now go out of our way to avoid one another, at least until patience grows up and apologizes to me.

  • October 15, 2009, 9:24 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Oh, yes!! I loved Rivers and Tides; such an inspiration for this kind of healing. Today's featured artist is another favorite of mine, Pearl Fryar. A wonderful Artist Date I might suggest for everyone is to rent (or buy) A Man Named Pearl from Netflix. And, yes, Rivers and Tides! Very highly recommended!

    And I am so sorry to hear this, Denise. Patience is an important ally. I hope you two can patch it up.

    – Beth

  • October 15, 2009, 3:53 pm denise

    What's funny is, yesterday's IChing hexagram for me was "patience", my Animal Tarot spread had Ant/Patience, and then your blog called out to me.
    Perhaps patience is trying to make amends…or should I say that it is giving me another chance? 😉

  • October 17, 2009, 12:34 am :: Lisa ::

    I like your blog (is this from "The Artist's Way" resource?) This is good: "Creative people are dramatic, and we use negative drama to scare ourselves out of our creativity with this notion of wholesale and often destructive change."

    I recently read a woman's blog who is on-and-off with her writing because of a "perceived threat" to her household. She claims to be having "security issues" and has alerted the "officials". Turns out, the threat is all in her mind (no one has actually threatened or harmed her or anyone in her family, or hacked into her accounts), but she has created a huge negative drama (which I she believes is REAL). I'm waiting for her to write about how the "stalker" ultimately decided to jump out of her bushes wearing a hockey mask and killed her cat! This is a real cliff-hanger…! But seriously, its a major concern, and a great example of what you mention on your blog via the above quote.

    As a writer and artist myself, I enjoy reading both fact and fiction, and with blogs you never know what you'll get – opinion is fun too! Most importanly I am constantly learning, so anything that teaches me something (whether by reading, creating or looking at art, playing music, taking photographs, etc). However when the art becomes so extreme or choppy (whatever medium) you have to wonder if the artist is "blocked" and bound for this type of self-destruction. Ultimately this could consume a person in a very negative manner – especially dangerous for ARTISTS.

    We can avoid negative drama by speaking truth, thinking positive thoughts, sharing love, and believing only the best about people. If blocked, get to the ROOT of what is blocking you. If because of another person, make amends, look at areas you can learn from EACH OTHER. Chances are you are holding your own creative self back because of false/unwarranted fears.