Week 8, Day 5 of The Artist's Way
Today, let's overcome the creative blocks of age and time by focusing on the adventurous process.
AGE AND TIME: PRODUCT AND PROCESS
QUESTION: Do you know how old I’ll be by the time I learn to play the piano?
ANSWER: The same age you will be if you don’t.
“I’m too old for that” ranks with “I don’t have money for it” as a Great Block Lie we use to prevent further exploration. “I’m too old” is something we tell ourselves to save ourselves from the emotional cost of the ego deflation involved in being a beginner.
Many blocked creatives tell themselves they are both too old and too young to allow themselves to pursue their dreams.
Old and dotty, they might try it. Young and foolish, they might try it. In either scenario, being crazy is a prerequisite to creative exploration. We do not want to look crazy. And trying something like that (whatever it is) at our age (whatever it is) would look nuts.
Creativity occurs in the moment, and in the moment we are timeless.
We discover that as we engage in a creative recovery. “I felt like a kid,” we may say after a satisfying artist date. Kids are not self-conscious, and once we are actually in the flow of our creativity, neither are we.
As blocked creatives, we like to pretend that a year or even several years is a long, long time. Our ego plays this little trick to keep us from getting started. Instead of allowing ourselves a creative journey, we focus on the length of the trip. “It’s such a long way,” we tell ourselves. It may be, but each day is just one more day with some motion in it, and that motion toward a goal is very enjoyable.
At the heart of the anorexia of artistic avoidance is the denial of process.
We like to focus on having learned a skill or on having made an artwork. This attention to the final form ignores the fact that creativity lies not in the done but in doing.
Focused on process, our creative life retains a sense of adventure.
Focused on a product, the same creative life can feel foolish or barren. We inherit the obsession with products and the idea that art produces finished products from our consumer-oriented society. This focus creates a great deal of creative blocks. We, as working artists, may want to explore a new artistic area, but we don't see where it will get us. We wonder if it will be good for our careers. Fixated on the need to have something to show for our labors, we often deny our curiosities. Every time we do this, we are blocked.
(The Artist's Way, 2016, p. 138 – 140)
Read the following affirmation with gusto and intent:
In this moment, I am timeless.
I am timeless and always in the moment when I am engaged in creativity. I focus on the process of creating and let go of the need for a final product. I allow myself to explore my curiosities and let go of the need to have something to show for my creative endeavors. I embrace the adventure of my creative life and let go of the fear of looking foolish or being unsuccessful. I am free to be crazy and pursue my dreams at any age.
List twenty things you like to do.
Answer these questions for each item:
- Does it cost money or is it free?
- Expensive or cheap?
- Alone or with somebody?
- Physical risk?
- Fast-paced or slow?
- Mind, body, or spiritual?
“Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.”
– LINUS PAULING
What is the first small and scary step you can do that is focused on the creative process (instead of the outcome)?
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