Week 9, Day 1 of The Artist's Way
Today, let's honestly name fear and heal it with love.
ONE OF THE MOST important tasks in artistic recovery is learning to call things—and ourselves—by the right names.
Most of us have spent years using the wrong names for our behaviors. We have wanted to create and we have been unable to create and we have called that inability laziness. This is not merely inaccurate. It is cruel. Accuracy and compassion serve us far better.
Blocked artists are not lazy. They are blocked.
Being blocked and being lazy are two different things. The blocked artist typically expends a great deal of energy—just not visibly. The blocked artist spends energy on self-hatred, on regret, on grief, and on jealousy. The blocked artist spends energy on self-doubt.
The blocked artist does not know how to begin with baby steps.
Finding it hard to begin a project does not mean you will not be able to do it. It means you will need help—from your higher power, from supportive friends, and from yourself. First of all, you must give yourself permission to begin small and go in baby steps. These steps must be rewarded. Setting impossible goals creates enormous fear, which creates procrastination, which we wrongly call laziness.
Do not call procrastination laziness. Call it fear.
Fear is what blocks an artist. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of not finishing. The fear of failure and of success. The fear of beginning at all. There is only one cure for fear. That cure is love.
Use love for your artist to cure its fear.
Stop yelling at yourself. Be nice. Call fear by its right name.
(The Artist's Way, 2016, p. 151 – 152)
I acknowledge my fears and respond with love.
I recognize that my inability to create is not due to laziness, but rather to fear. I give myself permission to take small steps. I reward myself for my progress. I will not call procrastination laziness, but rather fear. I will use love to cure my fear and be kind to myself. I will call fear by its right name and work to overcome it.
Read your morning pages!
This process is best undertaken with two-colored markers, one to highlight insights and another to highlight actions needed. Do not judge your pages or yourself. This is very important. Yes, they will be boring. Yes, they may be painful. Consider them a map. Take them as information, not an indictment.
Take Stock: Who have you consistently been complaining about? What have you procrastinated on? What blessedly have you allowed yourself to change or accept?
Take Heart: Many of us notice an alarming tendency toward black-and-white thinking: “He’s terrible. He’s wonderful. I love him. I hate him. It’s a great job. It’s a terrible job,” and so forth. Don’t be thrown by this.
Acknowledge: The pages have allowed us to vent without self-destruction, to plan without interference, to complain without an audience, to dream without restriction, to know our own minds. Give yourself credit for undertaking them. Give them credit for the changes and growth they have fostered.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.”
– Anaïs Nin
How can you reward yourself, each day, when taking small steps with a creative project?
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