Wednesday, 3 October 2012
I've been attempting to work my way through The Artist's Way by creative legend Julia Cameron. I started it about three years ago so 'attempt' is definitely the right descriptor. This time though I'm with a book group (organised by the rather wonderful Jessica Brogan and we're taking a chapter a month, rather than the week that Julia suggests.
You would think this would be easy. But it's not... I am already a month behind after just three. I have only written my morning pages about five times which is not exactly what Julia recommends (shh.... don't tell her!).
I have been on a few artist dates though - and last week's retreat 'filled the well' to overflowing (I'm still mopping up the ideas...they did get a bit out of control).
Anyway, I was swimming around in Chapter 3 yesterday when something really struck a chord and part explains some repetitive and self-destructive behaviour that has been baffling me for some time. Julia writes:
"Answered prayers [dreams] are scary. They imply responsibility. You asked for it. Now that you've got it, what are you going to do?"
What indeed? I told the universe I was going to organise a day's creativity course. I built it. They came (or they're coming... it hasn't happened yet). Now, faced with the prospect of standing up in front of expectant faces, I find my inner critic whispering reasons to cancel... "you're not good enough", "there's not the full contingent you were hoping for"... It would be so easy to just postpone (or, worse still, cancel) it wouldn't it. To take this offered dream and fling it back at the Universe. Julia captures this perfectly:
"The universe is prodigal in its support. We are miserly in what we accept. All gift horses are looked in the mouth and usually returned to sender. We say we are scared by failure, but what frightens us more is the possibility of success."
Why is this? What could be so scary about becoming the person we were meant to be?
The answer is probably CHANGE - we all get nervous about that right? But also, it means EXPOSURE. By opening my creativity up to others I am giving a glimpse into my soul. Teaching my approach to art and creativity and sharing my passions feels vulnerable and pretty darn scary.
Reading Julia's words gave me the reassurance that I'm not alone. These urges to back away into the comfort of the known is just natural and happens to us all. The trick is not to listen; to have faith. It's time to recognise that I am more than average. I know I can do it. And furthermore I will...
Now, if just a few more people would sign up.... Come on... you know you want to!