Can I just tell you how very very very much I love Courtney Walsh? I wish you could just know her.....just spend a few hours with her....I hope you'll really try to get to know her through her writing...and, take some time on her blog, too courtneywalsh.typepad.com
Before I post her awesome Artist's Way entry (which she sent me a few days ago...when I thought it was Tuesday and it was Wednesday and so I waited til Thursday, which I thought was today....but....ah, well....you get it).....anyway, before I post this, I have to tell you about something huge that Courtney did for me....
This Fall.....I had to fly across to the country to Chicago for a show......it had been a rough-and-tough week of sizable proportion and I had to postpone my flight for a number of reasons....I ended up taking a red-eye....getting flown backwards to Los Angeles and then to Chicago from there in the middle of the night....I was already exhausted when I left.....and, well....beat in every way.......and, I had asked Courtney if she wanted to come and be with me at the show......because she lives close to there, and she came to help me at the show....then I had to call and tell her that I wouldn't be there until the middle of the night.....and she took care of a bunch of stuff for me.....
So...I flew into Chicago and got there at 4am.....the hotel was supposed to send me a car and it never came....and so I waited an hour and then took a taxi...then I got there and lugged all of my stuff upstairs in the dark.....and tried to open the door without waking anyone.....and....
then I saw Courtney with the little bit of light from the hall....laying in the bed....and I was just so happy to see her....she is one of those friends who is just so comforting to have around.....
and I layed down for a bit....then I knew I wouldn't be able to get up....so they went on without me and I got up a little later....and, on the couch, when I woke up....was the most beautiful handmade book....it was this masterpiece made from a catalog that Courtney had painted in parts and collaged with photos of me...and quotes and beautiful words.....it was my birthday present....
....and all of the words that she wrote were the exact words that my soul needed....and all of the quotes spoke to me so deeply....and the photos she chose made me remember who I am and what I am here to do.......she told me later that she kept thinking of things to write that she didn't know where they were coming from....but she wrote them anyway....I call those dragonfly whispers and I love people who listen to them........
anyway....I sat on that couch and cried for a good long time. It made me feel whole for a little bit.....healed parts up that were having a hard time healing......
...and that book is sitting by my bed and I read it a lot....when I need a boost and a reminder...it is beautiful and priceless and one of my most prized posessions. I will never, ever forget Courtney for creating this for me.....
and....what if she had thought that it wasn't good enough to give to me? What if Natalie Grant thought her music wasn't good enough to share? What if the Proverbs had never been written because their author didn't feel they were good enough? What if you kept your most defining moments from teh rest of the world because you don't think they're important enough. STOP IT!
...I'm going to stop holding back.
.......I have been letting this stuff happen to me and make me stop sharing.....
....I need to hear and see and feel the expression of others and they need mine too.....
Read this and you'll be reminded of stuff that you already know but that we need to be reminded of about every 10 minutes.
I love you guys and I love reading what you've learned this year. Reading your comments pushed the GO button on my heart and made me come alive again. I thank you for that.
Recovering a Sense of Identity
How appropriate that the beginning portion of this chapter talks about self-attacks. How easy would it be for us to attack the fact that we haven‚t exactly been doing „The Artist‚s Way‰ on the time frame its originally intended to be done. I realize that doing this over the holidays has been stressful ˆ I haven‚t even thought of an artist date, let alone squeezed one in... but that doesn‚t mean we have to stop.
The time to be creative is right now. This moment.
So, if you, like me, are tempted to attack yourself for any reason... resist that temptation and think of something positive instead. I love how Cameron notes that our self-attacks are very convincing... but that buying into them enables us to remain stuck and victimized. Let‚s face it: being stuck is easier. Being stuck means we aren‚t taking any risks. We aren‚t putting ourselves on the line. We aren‚t creating, we‚re talking about how we wish we could create... we used to be better at creating... we‚ll never measure up... we‚re sabotaging ourselves at every turn... and these kinds of negative thoughts aren‚t ever going to warrant anything positive.
I think a lot of what I‚ve taken away from this chapter is this: it‚s okay to do something just for me. It‚s not just okay... it‚s necessary. I used to scrapbook just for me, and I didn‚t feel all that guilty about it because I knew how important it was... but I don‚t really do that anymore. I have become blocked. So instead of allowing myself the chance to unblock, I wallow at the site of all that I‚m NOT accomplishing. But fostering creativity ˆ living a creative life... it‚s not frivolous, as I think we are often led to believe. It‚s not that I have too much time on my hands... it‚s that something inside me is begging to come out ˆ that‚s why I write ˆ that‚s why we scrapbook or take pictures or paint canvases or dance. It‚s an outward expression of what we‚re feeling inside... and since when is sharing our feelings selfish?
Cameron says, As blocked creatives, we focus not on our responsibilities to ourselves, but on our responsibilities to others. Wow. Isn‚t that what we, as women are taught we are supposed to do?? Be selfish for a few weeks. Make yourself stop feeling guilty. Tell yourself the truth: that you‚re doing this for you, yes, but that it will also benefit your family and friends... because you will be happier and more fulfilled in the long run.
Don‚t just sit on your creativity. Don‚t waste your creative time. If you‚ve set aside time for an artist date, don‚t allow well-meaning friends to take that time from you. Turn off the cell phone. Don‚t even tell anyone where you‚re going (except the babysitter, if another parent isn‚t available...) take that time FOR YOU. Be on vacation for one hour a day! And don‚t feel guilty about it.
Now, as women, it is easy to allow our people pleasing to get in the way. It‚s easy to feel like we can‚t do what we need to do because so and so needs me right now... Friends in personal crisis will always exist ˆ and while you absolutely should be a good friend to your friends, you cannot allow yourself to wind up in a creative crisis in the process. I love when Cameron mentions that as we practice being creative, we will come to enjoy the practice ˆ not focusing on the end result. And don‚t we do that? We see something in our heads that we think we can create and when it turns out completely the opposite, we throw our hands up in defeat. Instead, we should embrace what the piece has become... embrace where the story, the paint, the characters, the movements have taken us... somewhere unexpected... somewhere uncharted... somewhere unique.
The section on crazymakers didn‚t resonate with me quite as strongly as most of the rest of the book. I don‚t have a crazymaker in my life... but I have long been a people pleaser, so I can relate to the concept. Carefully analyze your relationships. We all have to do this from time to time. Toxic relationships will do you no good. Don‚t allow them to continue. And even though ending relationships is sometimes difficult, it‚s also often necessary ˆ for many reasons... and if someone simply wants to take you along in their crazy-making, a little distance might be in order. Of course, some crazymakers are family members ˆ relationships we‚re best not to sever... but recognizing crazy behavior is vitally important the your creative process.
Think for a second about how you spend your days. Several months ago now, I was horribly stressed out. I was so overwhelmed and completely confused as to where all the hours in the day were disappearing to. So I walked through my day completely aware of where every moment was being spent and on what. Not surprisingly, so much of my time was being completely wasted... mostly on the internet. I had convinced myself I needed to know every little thing that was going on all the time ˆ and you know what? I didn‚t. I decided to go on a little Œinternet fast,‚ only allowing myself to check email ˆ and then only once or twice a day. I have never utilized the internet the same way since. For me, the internet is now a tool ˆ not an obsession. And while it sounds pathetic to admit that I was spending too much time online, it‚s the honest truth. What or who is wasting your time? Time that you could be creating. Time that you... if you allow yourself... could be practicing creativity. What are you waiting for?
The other big revelation is the whole concept that creativity is always going to come easily. Does anything worthwhile ever come easily? What if there is some work involved? What if we have to actually muddle through as though we are wading through molasses to get to the good stuff? What if every piece isn‚t inspired, but rather pored over? Creativity isn‚t easy... not always... get through the hard part, and find the fruit of your labor.
So, fellow blocked creatives... it‚s time to put an end to our madness. Rid ourselves of our crazy-makers, face our time-stealers head on and put them in their places... it‚s time to take control of our own creativity by surrendering control to the Great Creator. I LOVE the „Rules of the Road‰ on page 55. Read them again and again. Post them somewhere where you will always see them before you sit down to work.
And no more guilt. No more self-sabotage.
We can do this!
On a better timeline this time... :)