The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with objects it loves.
— Carl Jung
As we go deeper into the healing process for our inner artist, we may find that we need a balance between exciting big dreams, and self-sabotaging demands for big success. Those demands are rooted in our old fears and contribute to keeping us blocked.
As I noted yesterday, Julia tells us, “Use love for your artist to cure its fear.” Today, let’s take at look at some ways to do this.
For starters, she warns us away from the seductive idea that self-discipline is what is going to bring forth our creativity. “As artists,” she writes, “grounding our self-image in military discipline is dangerous. In the short run, discipline may work, but it will work only for a while…think of discipline as a battery, useful but short-lived..”
Ultimately, she explains, “The part of us that creates best is not a driven, disciplined automaton, functioning from willpower, with a booster of pride to back it up. This is operating out of self-will. You know the image: rising at dawn with military precision, saluting the desk, the easel, the drawing board…”
This kind of head-up, shoulders-back, attennnn-SHUN attitude may “soldier” us through some of the times when we are stuck, or might be tempted to slack off. But in the long run, to be an artist, discipline is not the sustaining energy. Enthusiasm is.
Enthusiasm, Julia notes, comes from the Greek root, “theos,” referring to God. It literally translates, “God within,” or “filled with the Divine.” It’s precisely what we’ve been talking about all along – that creativity is a spiritual force; that our itch to make art is a Divine urge; that we are motivated and sustained in direct proportion to how clearly we are able and willing to be moved by the Creator.
Instead of art being work that we must crank out on time like a factory conveyor belt, our artist self is really a child, at play. She or he is our own inner playmate. And, she reminds us, “As with all playmates, it is joy, not duty, that makes for a lasting bond.”
This is why, at this stage of our recovery, it is dangerous to confuse how we make a living with our creativity. As life-long blocked artists, it is much too easy to simply transfer all our career angst onto our tentative first experiments with experiencing ourselves as artists. It is still very early for us to try to form ourselves into some old notion of what “serious artist” means. Or to opt out because we can never live up to that.
So if we want rise regularly at dawn to greet the wheel or the easel in the morning stillness, Julia encourages us to do so because it has “more to do with a child’s love of secret adventure than with ironclad discipline…”
What do we do instead? More about this tomorrow!