The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we’re afraid.
— Richard Bach
We’ve been examining how we block our creativity by using deeply rooted behaviors of self-sabotage and distraction. As soon as our artistic process starts to hum, we abort. Mysteriously, as if out of nowhere, we are overwhelmed with strange cravings for food, drink, or even drugs. We suddenly are compelled to call up an abusive ex-lover.
With so much busy-ness and drama going on, how can we possibly work out the third stanza of the poem we’re writing? Compared to the crisis going on with our crazy-maker friend, our dabbling first efforts at watercolors seem pointless and even sad. Maybe some other time, right? Yeah, right.
Similarly, another block that is the downfall of some artists is sex. Finding, keeping, losing, finding some more. It can take tons of time and energy, and can so easily help us forget we had a class we were thinking of taking, or a query letter to write. A lot of creative energy can get burned off by the tantalizing erotic possibilities out there, instead of focused onto the art project in here.
Of course, the fun of super hot hooking-up is not a bad thing in and of itself. But the problem comes when it turns into a distraction that sucks all the energy out of your creative work.
Last but not least, since The Artist’s Way was written, a powerful new peril for creative people has appeared. That insidious new danger is the Internet. I don’t know about you, but I have a massive problem with compulsive web browsing. It is scary how much time I waste cruising around, tinkering with my settings, popping in on Facebook, and Tweeting to friends. And that’s the time I actually will admit to!
I certainly don’t want you to unplug (I would miss you!). But the hopping from one shiny thing to another can’t be good for us. Especially since, at the end of a couple of hours, I can’t really tell you what I’ve been spending my time seeing. And yes, the time — the precious time that we never get back again, that could have been used for us. For our art, for our micromovements. This one certainly hits my buttons – I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it. How about you?
We’ll take a closer look at the secret truth hiding behind all of these behaviors and what can be done about them next week. But for now, I encourage you to gently explore your most volatile, toxic-to-your-art habits. Notice any hiding, rationalizing, and defensiveness. Probing for these truths is not meant to create shame, but to heal it. Sometimes, we just need a little more light.
And speaking of light, don’t forget that Sunday is our second part of the Solstice Sun Wheel Prayer Circle. If you didn’t get started with us on the 29th it’s not a problem at all. Join any time! I’ll post specific instructions for this Sunday’s ritual, but for now, you can read the basic information here.