Freedom from fear

Recovering a Sense of Identity – Part Two

Everything has a purpose. Even if you have spent part of your life dealing with a Crazymaker. Take it from me!

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. — Elisabeth Kubler Ross

This post is a continuation of commentary springing from my reading of the second chapter of The Artist’s Way. If any of this is resonating with you, I highly recommend that you get this book. Even though it is supposed to be a 12 week course, life happens and if it takes 12 years that is ok.

In addition to really emphasizing the need to get away from toxic people, the author reminds us that there is a higher guidance available to us in moving through our fear and accessing our creativity. We tend to think that it is arrogant to speak of ourselves as creative artists, but the truth is that it is arrogance to refuse to acknowledge it. Whew!

To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. — Robert Louis Stevenson

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Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness. –Shakti Gawain

It is one thing to point the finger at others as the barrier to our recovery, but an even greater enemy comes from within, Ms Cameron goes on to say, and that enemy is skepticism!  It doesn’t matter what our belief system is — we have this tendency to doubt the idea of creator and creativity. But, I am learning,  the thing to do is just keep letting it flow in spite of doubt. The author recommends morning pages – freely writing about 3 pages, longhand, every morning. I have been doing this fairly consistently, and I think it is making a difference, somehow, even in the midst of a very busy life.. The “artist’s date” has been a little more elusive – it is doing something by myself, with “my artist.” So far, I’ve taken myself shopping a couple of times and spent a little time painting, but haven’t really dedicated myself to doing anything, although I think I’m getting better at just being with myself, getting in touch with the silence within, primarily through meditation. But I digress.

We need to look for unexpected opportunities, or coincidences, or as Deepak Chopra says, synchronicity. We need to set aside our skepticism, take risks, and nudge open that door through which we can see dazzling light. In that light are lots of ideas that seem impossible, so we stick with the comfortableness of the dark room we are in. It takes recognizing that wall of fear and continuing to push the door open and walk into the light of creativity.

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music –the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures,beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself. — Henry Miller

Long ago, before the internet and email and social media, people stayed in touch by writing letters about their lives and sending them to each other. Often those letters were about small details of their day, or observations about what flowers were blooming or the change in the weather. This paying attention to detail about the now is a way to connect to the universe and expand happiness and creativity. The reward for attention is always healing. I have journaled on and off through the years, and much of what I have written about is pain. The author of Artists Way also notes that she has written about pain, and that is what it took to get her to pay attention to the present moment. Think about it. The past may be too painful to want to remember, and the future could be too terrifying to contemplate, so focusing on the right now is the safe place to be. Right now, I’m breathing, and in the exact now, I am always all right.

What is blocking you? and what are you going to do about it?

unblocking creativity

I have been on a quest to find my inner artist since last fall when a man I barely knew put a canvas in front of me and a paintbrush in my hand and said “you are an artist”.  I have  been changing the story in my head about myself, silencing the voice that said “you can’t”,  and dabbling in painting, drawing, writing. This blog is my latest adventure  in seeking to finding my voice, and I keep running across inspiration to help me in this journey. Today it is an interview with Carole King. She said:

If you are sitting down and you feel that you want to write and nothing is coming, you get up and do something else. Then you come back again and try it again. But you do it in a relaxed manner. Trust that it will be there. If it ever was once and you’ve ever done it once, it will be back. It always comes back and the only thing that is a problem is when you get in your own way worrying about it.

She may have been talking about writing music, but this is applicable to any creative expression.

Here is my first painting, the one I did that day in September:

Sara's first painting Sept 15 2013

 After I quit overthinking  it,  I just chose the primary colors and went to it.  It looks pretty much like a child’s finger painting, on the one hand, but I expressed the emotions I was feeling that day and it was like putting a stake in the ground that said “this is a turning point!”

Soon after, I went on an expedition to an art supply store, with the same man, who I was getting to know quite well, and bought my own paint and canvases. I doodled around with it for a month or so, then expressed myself here:

Sara's second painting Nov 2013

This was something that I had seen in my mind’s eye when I first started meditating, and it represents freedom. The act of mixing the colors and putting the paint on the canvas until I was satisfied was a very raw and sensual experience.

Since then, I have attended a couple of classes, painted a  tree and some mountains as well as playing abstractedly, have all kinds of ideas, but haven’t devoted as much time as I’d really like to this. The thing I am learning, though, whether it is in drawing or painting, or coloring between the lines of a picture someone else drew, or  in writing, or singing, or – you name it – it is not in whether I have extraordinary talent, it is in the expressing, the releasing of what is inside me bursting to get out. Then — to risk ridicule by letting another see what I have done, and get to the place of not caring what others think – this is in itself quite an accomplishment for me.

Someday I hope to “quit my day job” and have much more time for these pursuits. For now, I  simply take each day, each moment, and do the next thing, which at the moment is writing this!

As for the man who handed me the paintbrush — he has become to me so much more than words can say. He delights and encourages me every day, with his own brand of creativity, his ingenuousness, and his unwavering determination.