Creativity unleashed by Sandra Yuen MacKay

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The Artist's Way Part 3

Posted by symackay on April 10, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Week 6: Recovering a Sense of Abundance asks to write morning pages about the god one believes in vs. the god one would like to believe in. This exercise was fruitless for me because I waver in my spiritual beliefs. Often I deny God in my life but respect others' beliefs that He exists. Maybe by the end of reading this book, I can reflect again on what role the creator plays or doesn't play in my life. 

In regards to a sense of abundance, luxury doesn't mean needing a lot of money, but having simple pleasures in life and pampering ourselves through self-care. If we create or work at all costs, where's the reward? Isn't creativity about living an abundant life? 

The question that comes up is if I choose to be an artist, how will I support myself financially? Cameron suggests when we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open, we have purpose, and work is play. The joy of living is within our grasp if we allow ourselves to be happy and content. Self-doubt and worry affect my ability to have faith that things will turn out well. Someone challenged me to stop being fixed and closed. "Instead embrace life despite things that bother you or cause you grief, " he said. "Nothing is perfect. Take the good with the bad."

Week 7: Recovering a Sense of Connection suggests to take the onus off of us, but welcome the creator's creativity to flow through us. It's not that we have to dream stuff up, we just get down on canvas or paper what is being revealed to us. In Sandra talk, surrender to one's Muse, let the walls down, and accept this gift freely.

Perfectionism stops free flow because one is so fixed on details and examining the work over and over again. If we continue to correct and overthink our creative work, we replace passion and spontaneity with uniformity, The answer to perfectionism is to let go. Don't fear mistakes. Let them happen. Virgos have a vain nature. Not everything I do is going to turn out as a masterpiece. When we take risks, we must understand it could turn out badly.

It's not about getting from A to B in a direct manner. It's about being in touch with our emotional and psychological state, dipping into the well of our life experiences and putting that experience into our creative work without time constraints. Don't think about trivial concerns but focus on the act of art.

Setting unrealistic expectations, demanding immediate success, and expecting recognition from others based on that success is futile. Don't put the cart before the horse. I confess I've been there!

Jealousy toward other people, we see as more successful, is a barrier. We fear we will never reach the level others have achieved. It's poison to our flow of abundance and harmony in our environment. If one is jealous, write down who the person is, why one is jealous and an action antidote. For example:

1) Fellow artist 2) Sells more work than me 3) Recognize I have also sold some work and that artists have different timelines of development. Market my art more.

1) An acquaintance 2) Has a doctorate and make a lot of money 3) Recognize my path is different, I have enough money to live, and you can't take it with you. 

Week 8: Recovering a Sense of Strength recognizes artists have losses. When we feel rejection, we lose hope, face, money and belief in our abilities. We need to acknowledge, voice and mourn our losses so we can move forward. Criticism hurts the artist child within emotionally. It can cripple us from believing we can create or do something.

When I first wrote my memoir, I submitted it to two publishers, but it wasn't ready and it was rejected. As a result, I edited my writing a great deal based on those criticisms. When I did get a book contract, it was synchronicity. I found a suitable publisher; the timing was right. Patience, persistence and continual improvement helped me succeed.

The intellectualism of academia is good at scrutinizing or deconstructing a creative work, but may not be so good at offering support, understanding or approval. Students may give up their dreams for less risky occupations: editor vs. writer, commercial artist vs fine artist. Cameron says artists go through a rite of passage in which we recognize and mourn the scars that block us. Artists must gain autonomy from artistic mentors who cause them grief. I can think of times when I sabotaged opportunities to develop and promote myself as an artist because of closed-mindedness. Next time hopefully, I won't shut the door.

Losses can be transformed into gains. If one door closes, others will open. Is this a master design, I don't know. But I believe things happen for a reason, good or bad. 

Have you heard excuses like "I'm too old to try"? It takes humility to be a beginner later in life. But if you take the plunge, your exploration may lead to self-satisfaction and accomplishment. At first, there may be small, scary steps as anyones knows who is starting out, but it's worth it to try. Be curious. Take a class. Buy a sketchpad.

I am guilty of grandiose dreams of success and jumping the gun. But you must learn to crawl before you walk. If I have a goal of writing a screenplay or novel, I have to break it down into manageable steps - not expect mountains to move for me.

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