I cannot believe that I am on Chapter 8 of this journey into the Artist Way. I have wanted to do this project for some time. Now I am so grateful that I have. Only four more chapters left on this particular path and the foundation I am building is very rewarding! I do feel like I have come so far in my creative recovery yet at the same time have a long way to go! Ahhh, the process of life- will it ever change????
Probably not, so I am trying to just go with it! Strength is a concept that I never thought I had problems with. And strength is the focus of this week. I believe that I have often confused a strong personality with internal strength in the face of loss or judgment. In both loss and judgment, I am not incredibly strong and because of this I am extremely defensive and protective at the same time. I imagine this applies to me as a person and as an artist. As it states in this chapter, in order to move through loss and beyond it, we must acknowledge it and share it. For me in my life, this is a truth that I have come to understand through experience. Loss of my hopes for one thing, only to be replaced by something better. Most profoundly, the loss of my mother, wondering what could possibly be good that comes from that. Perhaps the growth and the healing through the pain over time. Ahh, therein lies the strength.
In this chapter, it talks about artistic losses and the perception of time that causes you to preclude taking creative risks or any risks for that matter. I get this. I get that time is of the essence for there is only so much time we have in a day and there is only so much time we have here on Earth. So either you go for it and live in the time you have or you hide protecting yourself from the unknown and then missing out and regretting – a loss that I am not willing to risk taking, far too great! Then again the only way that I truly know that I am alive is if I take risks. I take those steps that leave my heart exposed for all to see and the possibility of being hurt is there!!! And I love this quote, when it comes to exposing our heart through our art to the world and we are rejected “The un-mourned disappointment becomes the barrier that separates us from future dreams.” Yes risk, yes feel the pain of the loss, and yes when you are ready risk again!
To be sure, risks are important so that we grow. And in the end, when I do try, fail or succeed, my life becomes one of progress not regret. I can declare to the world that I am alive because I am a part of the fabric of life. But the gaining of strength to really risk is a slow process, one that deserves dignity and love especially where wounds are evident.
“Every end is a beginning”. This is something I need to keep on remembering because life is an ongoing cycle of ending and beginning. And when dealing with a loss, as an artist- we need to ask the hard questions- “How will this loss serve me? Where does it point my work?” I love how the author wants us to “metabolize pain as energy.” And then the quote of the day that speaks to my soul as I am continuing to heal from a profound wound, a loss in my life on a grander scale- much greater than the failure of an artistic endeavor, “The key to doing that is to know , to trust, and to act as if a silver lining exists if you are only willing to look at the work differently or to walk through a different door, one that you may have balked at. . . stop complaining about the lousy curves that you are thrown and stretch, reach for what you really want!!!!!!”
I love the question “What next?” not “Why me?” therein lies the strength of the soul!!!!
Then the phrase that is something in Latin that my father has always loved. . Don’t let the bastards get you down— Non illegitimi te carbonarum. You are going to get up and try again because you are made from something that is pure, loving and tough. You are not going to let anyone keep you from your new beginning- not even your own sabotaging self. That is a promise you must make with your Creator in gratitude for the gift of life.
Whatever you or I consider the bastards to be, face the loss and do one thing a day to be more of the inner artist! And do it with GRACE! The grace that only comes from being human! Repeat whatever mantra you feel comfortable with and that will give you the strength to move forward. Be it I am a creative being, I am an artist. I bring my creativity to light! Whatever speaks to you.
Don’t allow the drama of anxiety overtake you, one small step a day towards your creative recovery is enough to fuel your inner fire as well as mine. It is the small changes that make the difference in your recovery. “Large changes occur in small increments.” So does strength, it comes back to you in small increments. You don’t even recognize the extent of the changes until you distance yourself from the beginning of your journey and then look back in awe and amazement at how far you have come!
So as I move on, this week I am doing my best to give myself small increments of time to assist my Creator in moving me forward on my artist creativity, the most important task of bringing to life something beautiful from within me. I get to go at the pace that I am most comfortable with, making choices that align with me. Off to decide what to do for my artist date, any ideas???