Clarity for Constructive Change

Clarity for Constructive Change

Week 4, Day 2 of The Artist's Way

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Today, let's find the clarity we need for constructive change by letting go of ambiguity, illusion, and misconceptions.



The process of identifying a self inevitably involves loss as well as gain.

We discover our boundaries, and those boundaries by definition separate us from our fellows. As we clarify our perceptions, we lose our misconceptions. As we eliminate ambiguity, we lose illusion as well. We arrive at clarity, and clarity creates change.

As we notice which friends bore us, and which situations leave us stifled, we are often rocked by waves of sorrow. We may want our illusions back! We want to pretend the friendship works. We don’t want the trauma of searching for another job.

Faced with impending change, change we have set in motion through our own hand, we want to mutiny, curl up in a ball, bawl our eyes out. “No pain, no gain,” the nasty slogan has it.

And we resent this pain no matter what gain it is bringing us.

“I don’t want to raise my consciousness!” we wail. “I want …” And thanks to the morning pages we learn what we want and ultimately become willing to make the changes needed to get it. But not without a tantrum. And not without a kriya, a Sanskrit word meaning a spiritual emergency or surrender. (I always think of kriyas as spiritual seizures. Perhaps they should be spelled crias because they are cries of the soul as it is wrung through changes.)

We all know what a kriya looks like: it is the bad case of the flu right after you’ve broken up with your lover. It’s the rotten head cold and bronchial cough that announces you’ve abused your health to meet an unreachable work deadline. That asthma attack out of nowhere when you’ve just done a round of caretaking for your alcoholic sibling? That’s a kriya, too.

In twelve-step groups, kriyas are often called surrenders.

People are told just let go. And they would if they knew what they were holding on to. With the morning pages in place and the artist dates in motion, the radio set stands half a chance of picking up the message you are sending and/or receiving. The pages round up the usual suspects. They mention the small hurts we prefer to ignore, and the large successes we’ve failed to acknowledge. In short, the morning pages point the way to reality: this is how you’re feeling; what do you make of that?

And what we make of that is often art.

(The Artist's Way, 2016, p. 81-82)

As I work on my life, the work of my art emerges.

As I work on my life, the work of my art emerges. (affirmation card)

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Use your life pie (from Week One) to review your growth.

Has that nasty tarantula changed shape yet? Haven’t you been more active, less rigid, more expressive? Be careful not to expect too much too soon. That’s raising the jumps. Growth must have time to solidify into health. One day at a time, you are building the habit patterns of a healthy artist. Easy does do it. List ongoing self-nurturing toys you could buy your artist: books on tape, magazine subscriptions, theater tickets, a bowling ball.

“Stop talking, stop thinking, and there is nothing you will not understand.”


What is one self-nurturing practice/tool/toy that has been helpful for you in healthfully reparenting your artist child?

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