The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
— Sylvia Plath
Welcome back! I’m so glad you have found your way here to my new digs and that you are still with us on this journey of The Artist’s Way begun at Imbolc (Feb.) this year. I hope you haven’t abandoned ship (which you will see Julia addresses in a moment). We’ve come a very long way, don’t you think?
Today we begin Chapter Nine, Recovering a Sense of Compassion. Julia notes that we will be “facing the internal blocks to creativity.”
More? Again? Well, yes. We do have a lifetime of scar tissue we are gently trying to remove and heal. She cautions, “It may be tempting to abandon ship at this point. Don’t! We will explore and acknowledge the emotional difficulties that beset us in the past as we made creative efforts.
“We will undertake healing the shame of past failures. We will gain in compassion as we re-parent the frightened artist child who yearns for creative accomplishment. We will learn tools to dismantle emotional blocks and support renewed risk.”
By this time, I would think that most of you still hanging in there have begun some micromovements, and maybe even launched some of your creative offerings into the wider world.
If you have had mixed results, or even setbacks, never fear! As we learned in the last chapter, when we are truly co-creating with Creator, even our “failures” are gifts in disguise. Sometimes they are painful, sometimes gentle. But these re-directs can open us to new ways of channeling creativity into the world.
But to be able to flow with this dance between our will and the guidance of the Beloved, we have a lifetime of inner habits and fears to heal.
So we’ll start with some clarity and honesty. Julia explains, “One of the most important tasks in artistic recovery is learning to call things – and ourselves – by the right names. Most of us have spent years using the wrong names of our behaviors.
“We have wanted to create and we have been unable to create, and we have called that inability laziness. This is not merely inaccurate. It is cruel. Accuracy and compassion serve us far better.”
“Blocked artists are not lazy. They are blocked.”
She explains that laziness and being blocked are vastly different. Lazy artists are distracted, lackadaisical, and don’t invest much energy into their work. On some level, they don’t really care very much.
On the other hand, blocked artists care a lot, and expend lots of energy. But that expenditure is mostly invisible. They spend lots of time spinning their wheels, whipping up waves of self-loathing, regret, grief, and jealousy. They endlessly swim, like sleepless sharks, in a sea of self-doubt.
Sound familiar? Stay tuned because we’re headed for serious creative liberation in the days to come!