Week 8, Day 1 of The Artist's Way
Today, let's turn artistic losses into artistic gains and strengths by leaving the isolation of our beleaguered artist's brain.
One of the most difficult tasks an artist must face is a primal one: artistic survival.
All artists must learn the art of surviving loss: loss of hope, loss of face, loss of money, loss of self-belief. In addition to our many gains, we inevitably suffer these losses in an artistic career. They are the hazards of the road and, in many ways, its signposts. Artistic losses can be turned into artistic gains and strengths—but not in the isolation of the beleaguered artist's brain.
As mental-health experts are quick to point out, in order to move through loss and beyond it, we must acknowledge it and share it.
Because artistic losses are seldom openly acknowledged or mourned, they become artistic scar tissue that blocks artistic growth. Deemed too painful, too silly, too humiliating to share and so to heal, they become, instead, secret losses.
We must remember that our artist is a child and that what we can handle intellectually far outstrips what we can handle emotionally. We must be alert to flag and mourn our losses.
Perhaps the most damaging form of artistic loss has to do with criticism.
The artist within, like the child within, is seldom hurt by truth. I will say again that much true criticism liberates the artist it is aimed at. We are childlike, not childish. Ah-hah! is often the accompanying inner sound when a well-placed, accurate critical arrow makes its mark. The artist thinks, “Yes! I can see that! That’s right! I can change that!”The criticism that damages an artist is the criticism—well-intentioned or ill—that contains no saving kernel of truth yet has a certain damning plausibility or an unassailable blanket judgment that cannot be rationally refuted.
(The Artist's Way, 2016, p. 129 – 130)
I generously give myself to my creativity.
I acknowledge and share my struggles in order to heal and move forward. I remember that my inner artist is resilient and capable of handling both the truths and challenges of the creative journey. I am confident in my artistic abilities and open to the liberating power of constructive criticism. I let go of the damaging effects of criticism without truth and focus on my continuous artistic evolution.
List five things you are not allowed to do:
Throw your boss out the window, scream in church, go outside naked, flip the table, pile up everything and burn it.
Now do that thing on paper.
Write it, draw it, paint it, act it out, collage it. Now put some music on and dance it.
“Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky
What is one artistic loss you are willing to acknowledge, share, and continue learning from?
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