I am a month into journeying through the well worn path of 'The Artist Way' by Julia Cameron (warning: take heed my friend, this link is dangerous as it will lead you to an endless sea of books that includes free shipping and discounts), a course in discovering and recovering your creative self. The course comes in the form of a heavy duty book that goes for twelve weeks, or if you're anything like me and you prefer to take time with things— especially when tending to matters of the heart, it is shaping out to be a bit longer. In week one I already started to notice the healing of old wounds and the rediscovery of things that have long been buried, recovered (& recovering).
"I have come to believe that creativity is our true nature, that blocks are an unnatural thwarting of a process as normal and as miraculous as the blossoming of a flower at the end of a slender green stem" —Julia Cameron
I am learning to nurture the artist within, which as Julia poignantly points out—"Your artist is a child" This hit me differently. Exposing the critical and self-sabotaging nature I have too often bludgeoned myself almost to death with. Would I speak to others they way I have spoken about myself? About what I have created? About ideas? What level of perfection are you trying to achieve exactly that you always feel as though you fall short from? Where do these self-deprecating thoughts come from? What is the root of this cynicism? I have an eleven year old sister who has been discovering her love and gift for drawing. Watching her blossom in this newly discovered art form has become a mirror to me, to see how invested I have become in wanting to nurture her gift and cheer her on. Why would I not do the same to myself? Why is it always seemingly easier to champion others? This deep rooted cynicism that has taken root over the years is learnt and comparison, an insidious thief that snuffs out joy and creativity, is a huge culprit. The words of well-meaning friends that have left you feeling less then. Living in a culture that demands perfection and leaves no room for making mistakes. A culture where the end goal is everything, and the process is rarely, if ever seen nor celebrated. It is oft a battle, but a battle worth fighting.
There is a scripture in Ephesians 2:10 (the passion translation) that writes "...for we have become HIS poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it." When we create, in whatever form or shape that looks like, we are taking up that which for all eternity past has been destined for each one of us. When we align our will, our thoughts to God, I believe endless possibilities open up to us. We become a channel through which God flows through. It should be easier to create than not to, it should be easier to speak life and hope and goodness about ourselves over criticising and detrimental words. To be honest, it has been quite overwhelming to discover what I have allowed to remain dormant and hindered in my creative life. As much as I have expressed and outworked creativity in different ways over the years, it falls short of the breadth and width I know I am innately capable of. It is the healing of the heart, over anything I create, that needs the most careful consideration and attention to. As a wise proverb recounts, guard your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the issues of life. My (your) worth is not dependent on your performance. You are highly capable and highly intelligent. Your art is capable of rendering GOOD in this world, healing for yourself and of others. There is so much you are yet to offer through your gifts that are a gift to the world. This isn't some wishy washy sentiment, it is life giving and life altering if you will allow yourself to take a hold of it and make it your own.
You want to write? Write. You want to play with pastels? Join an art class? Learn the guitar? When was the last time you were a beginner at something? Terrified at the prospect of doing so? Good. It is progress, not perfection, that we should be asking of ourselves. Do not wait for the validation of others, for it is a fickle and unstable foundation upon which to build anything upon, let alone your identity and that of what you create. You will always fall to the wayside.
I ask these questions because I asked them of myself and they provoked me to wonder, to dream again. So, I recently joined an art class, inspired by the art therapy classes I take my support care client too. I am beginning to write more prolifically. My clothes are being stained by oil pastels. Dreams are starting to be awakened again and again and again. Wounds are healing. Life is abundant and prosperous. Of course, it is a journey and there are always hiccups along the way. Ironically, just yesterday I had a little crisis of unforgiving questions running rampant in my mind— "whhhhhaat is goiiiing on, what am I doiiiiing? where am I goiiiing? what is nexttttttt? what is happening with my book? I haven't done enough! I am a failure. who do you think you are? that's a silly idea. do you really think you're able to achieve THAT?" Do you know what we do with these accusatory words? We acknowledge them, and then we discard them. I literally pictured myself gathering all these words in my mind and shoving them into an incinerator. Surprisingly, quite powerful. This is all apart of the recovery process. Nurture and be kind to yourself. Go slowly, go gently.
art therapy class through RFQ (Richmond Fellowship Queensland) permission has been granted to use this photo
Until we next meet here,
"KEEP CREATING, THE WORLD NEEDS YOUR ART." —Stephen Roach (Makers & Mystics)
In love and in flowers,