We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way.
— John Holt, Educator (1923-1985)
Today we begin our next chapter. Just as the year 2009 winds down, the end is also in sight for our work with The Artist’s Way. But there is still some crucial work to do, in terms of strengthening our creative recovery, and making permanent our healing.
Like all forms of recovery, now that we’ve seen what is possible, we must take a long, hard look at some of the factors that still exist in our lives that could threaten to undo our new beginnings. So that’s why Chapter Ten is called “Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection.” How timely that we’re working on this at the season of the year when we are most vulnerable to returning to the old patterns, habits and people who may have been the source of our creative derailment in the first place.
Julia says of this chapter, “We explore the perils that can ambush us on our creative path. Because creativity is a spiritual issue, many of the perils are spiritual perils. In the essays, tasks, and exercises of this chapter, we search out the toxic patterns we cling to that block our creative flow.”
She reminds us that creativity is the flow of the Divine moving through us, shaped by us, “like light flowing through a crystal prism.” So when we are clear about who we are and what we are doing, the energy flows freely and we feel a joyful ease about what we’re doing. It isn’t strained or stressful, it resonates.
But when we resist where that energy might take us, we feel shaky, out-of-control, and scared. So our old habits kick right in – we want to shut down, turn off the flow, and regain our sense of control. “We slam on the psychic brakes,” Julia says.
And of course, by now, you should realize that every creative person has a whole repertoire of tricks to divert, dilute, and turn off their creativity. Julia warns, “Each of us favors one or two ways particularly toxic to us because they block us so effectively.”
So let’s join hands again, my friends. We may be treading on some tricky landscape in this next step on the Artist’s Way. But we can help each other. And we can know that once we have come to terms with these deeper shadows, we will have set the stage for many years of real creativity to come.