As we come to the end of this journey, we may find ourselves facing a final exam or two. This is what Julia calls The Test. It is as if our most vulnerable trouble-spots suddenly come roaring back to challenge us one last time. That’s why, in order to blast off towards our dreams, we have to reach “Escape Velocity.”
According to NASA, “Escape velocity is the speed at which an object must travel to break free of a planet or moon’s gravitational force and enter orbit. A spacecraft leaving the surface of Earth, for example, needs to be going about 11 kilometers (7 miles) per second, or over 40,000 kilometers per hour (25,000 miles per hour), to enter orbit.”
In The Artist’s Way, escape velocity is getting up enough of a head of steam to break through the gravitational pull of our old dramas, habits and self-sabotaging choices.
Julia warns, “A little flattery can go a long way toward deterring our escape velocity. So can a little cash. More sinister than either is the impact a well-placed doubt can have, particularly ‘for your own good, just wanting to make sure you’ve thought about this’ doubt – voiced by one of our nearest and dearest.”
She continues, “As recovering creatives, many of us find that every time our career heats up, we reach for our nearest Wet Blanket. We blurt out our enthusiasm to our most skeptical friend – in fact we call him up. If we don’t, he calls us. This is The Test.”
We need to remember that our artist is like a child, and when s/he is scared, or excited, or on the precarious edge of Big Change, the instinct is to reach out for Mommy. “Unfortunately,” Julia wisely notes, “many of us have Wet Blanket mommies and a whole army of Wet Blanket surrogate mommies – those friends who have our second, third, and fourth thoughts for us.”
So it is critically important that we do not give away our gold – our power, our treasured dreams, our hopes. “Always remember,” Julia declares, possibly outing herself as a practitioner, “the first rule of magic is self-containment. You must hold your intention within yourself, stoking it with power. Only then will you be able to manifest what you desire.”
To achieve escape velocity, we learn to keep our own counsel, move silently among the doubters and know precisely who our real allies are.
These allies are vital to our success. They are our “believing mirrors,” the people who see our greatness and divine possibilities and generously reflect it back to us. They are not the cynics who need to justify their own failures at our expense.
Do not indulge anybody for any reason who throws cold water in your direction. Forget their good intentions or whether they really meant it or not. Their motivation doesn’t matter – the damage from your exposure to them is what does.
“Escape velocity requires the sword of steely intention and the shield of self-determination,” she insists. And her friend Michelle tells us, “They will try to get you. Don’t forget that. Set your goals and set your boundaries.”
Julia concludes by adding this: Set your sights and don’t let the ogre that looms on the horizon deflect your flight.
Tomorrow, I will post some final thoughts and the homework for this chapter. Please check back in.