“Pray to catch the bus then run as fast as you can.”
Creativity is a spiritual issue. This.
This here, my friends, is the crux of Chapter 5. And probably why I’m having all sorts of issues writing about it. The title of the chapter is Recovering a Sense of Possibility and that is tied up with all sorts of other things like worthiness and propriety and faith….
This may be where I throw in the towel and say, yeah, you should go buy the book because I’m not going to come close to doing it justice. I’ll do my best.
I supposed there’s no way to write about creativity without reference to the Creator–with a capital C. Perhaps you know this feeling too when you are writing, singing, painting, dancing—of not being the only one it the room. According to Julia, this is where our sense of possibility comes from, the belief that we are not limited by our own abilities. Through our connection to Source, we are truly unlimited! Our job is to tap into that river of possibility.
In order for me to recover this sense of possibility, I have to accept that I have access to this unlimited supply, just like you or anyone else does. Any limitations I have are based on a belief system of scarcity and lack that I’ve inherited or learned. This, Julia says, is not natural and not real.
But I do get some kind of secondary benefit(s) from maintaining this belief system. So the task of this chapter is to unearth the ways I sabotage myself to stay stuck. Hmmmm.
If I stay stuck then…
I suppose I wouldn’t have to put my art out there and have it be rejected.
I wouldn’t have to turn my art into work.
I wouldn’t have to take this thing that I loved and “produce it” to death (as Ira Glass says).
I would have to be a grown-up artist, whatever that is.
I might have to embrace an artist’s life, and you know I had/have all those ideas about what that is.
I also might have to give up some stuff… like acceptance and belonging. Whut?
Our culture puts a lot of value in being nice, good, unselfish, helpful. We give up so much of ourselves, our energy, our time just so that we can be perceived by our spouses, children, co-workers and parents as… those things. But at what cost? If we are not conscious of it, at the cost of our art and that true self of ours. I guess that’s why so many artists are known for being curmudgeony hermits! This is all in the book, I swear.
So if I were to pretend for a minute that I’m NOT nice or good but rather selfish and unhelpful, what would I do?
These are the questions Julia asks of us. If you are doing this, speed write your answers — quickly, answer as fast as you can, no editing allowed!
• What are five things I would try if they weren’t so crazy?
• What are five things I would do if they weren’t too selfish?
• What are 5 things I love and would love to do but am not allowed to do.
And, finish this sentence…. 20 times!
I wish ___________________________________________
This list of “forbidden joys” is your true self talking. Is it surprising? Julia says she’s astonished at how mean and miserly her students are to themselves!!!
So by doing stuff like writing down wish lists down and entertaining possibilities (yes, daydreaming) Julia says we begin to reconnect with Source and thus, creativity. I know, I keep saying “Julia says” because in all honestly, I’m a work in progress on this. I am a teeter totter, going from extremes of faith and doubt.
The only thing I seem to do consistently is just show up: writing, drawing, making.
“Pray to catch the bus then run as fast as you can.” I can do that. This is, after all, my theme word for 2015: Craft.
I can keep running.
When the bus shows up, I’m always a little surprised. 🙂
The Artist’s Way Posts
Week 1: Recovering a Sense of Safety
Week 2: Recovering a Sense of Identity
Week 3: Recovering a Sense of Power
Week 4: Recovering a Sense of Integrity
Week 5: Recovering a Sense of Possibility
Week 6: Recovering a Sense of Abundance
Week 7: Recovering a Sense of Connection
Week 8: Recovering a Sense of Strength
Week 9: Recovering a Sense of Compassion
Week 10: Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection
Week 11: Recovering a Sense of Autonomy
Week 12: Recovering a Sense of Faith