Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

The Temptations of Self-Sabotage

self sabotageThe opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

— Elie Wiesel

Are you having any trouble relating to our discussion about enthusiasm and lavishing love on our inner artist? If so, perhaps you are in that well-documented part of recovery that Julia calls an artistic U-turn. She explains that right on the brink of a breakthrough, or in the midst of our first wave of accomplishment, we get broadsided with a “sudden wave of indifference. We greet our newly minted product or our delightful process with ‘Aw, what does it matter anyhow? It’s just a start. Everybody else is so much farther ahead …’ ”

I think of this is as a set point. Have you ever wondered how people who win the lottery can end up back where they started (or worse) only a year or two later? My friend, Marketing Goddess Elizabeth Genco Purvis, points out that to heal our relationship with abundance sometimes means that we have to heal our “set point” about our financial comfort levels.

What that means is, even though we may believe we would be fabulous at being filthy rich, if our set point is low, we will struggle to get past it. Even if a windfall comes our way, people have a funny way of getting back to their set point in very little time. They are much more comfortable struggling (or complaining) than enjoying and growing their wealth.

The same principle may be true as we begin to move out of our dysfunctional role of blocked creatives. We may need to contend with our artist set point. Just as we begin to flirt with success, we go flat; we stop caring; or we make some self-sabotaging move that undercuts everything we’ve worked for.

And thus we “prove” to ourselves that we were never meant to be artists. Julia writes, “Many recovering artists become so threatened that they make U-turns and sabotage themselves.”

Why? If we are honest, isn’t it possible that there has been some subtle payoff in our staying stuck all these years? “At some point,” Julia writes (and somehow, I think she knows this first-hand), “we must make an active choice to relinquish the joys and privileges accorded to the emotional invalid. A productive artist is quite often a happy person. This can be very threatening as a self-concept to those who are used to getting their needs met by being unhappy…

“The glare of success (a poem, an acting job, a song, a short story, a film, or any success) can send the recovering artist scurrying back into the cave of self-defeat. We’re more comfortable being a victim of artist’s block than risking having to consistently be productive and healthy.”

If this is happening to any degree, I hope you will realize it is proof that you are light-years from where you were when we started. You are well down the road, and it is all starting to get real. That is exactly when you are either going to break your bonds, or let them be a rubber band that snaps you back to where you were.

And I know you. You are going to break through, right here. The seductive little roadside attractions, the bumps, dramas and detours .. they could derail a less determined soul. But not you. Not me. Not this time.

More about this next week. But meantime, this weekend, find ways to celebrate your micromovements. All too often, we wait “until things are done” and forget to celebrate along the way. Every teeny tiny completion is a huge victory for the recovering blocked artist. Even if you don’t feel like celebrating; if you feel restless, bored, unimpressed with your efforts – just remember that this is proof that you are way further along in your recovery than you might have realized! So celebrate that, too!

What are some ways you can celebrate your micromovements and successes (big and small)? Please share your ideas! I’d love to hear your creative ways to do this.

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  • November 13, 2009, 7:39 pm Heather

    Wow, you know I think I had this turnaround about a week ago. I had spent the month previous thinking that it was just stupid and a silly waste of time to keep working on my stories, after all they were never going to go anywhere. I cant exactly place my finger on the moment when in happend , in fact I think it took place over a week or so. I was thinking over things you have said and other blogs I’ve read by other writer friends and I suddenly remembered that I write for my self not sure reader that may or may not read it someday in the future. I got my self to make a micromovment and that one led to the next one and so on and I am very happy with all that I’ve done in the last week. its the best i’ve felt about my art in years.
    I wish i could let you feel how i feel its so incredable, wow.

    thank you for doing this Beth


  • November 13, 2009, 9:52 pm Laura Ingalls Gunn


    I am writing to you via my daughters blog.

    Thank you so very much for taking the time to comment. She will soon also be commenting back to you as well.

    Your words of encouragement made her day.

  • November 14, 2009, 4:28 am Lyon Mercaeant

    You know this is relevant for so much beyond art as well. It pertains to taking any strides toward being healthy, productive, or happy. These are heavy words and important. Thank you for sharing.