Creativity unleashed by Sandra Yuen MacKay

Life and art from a unique perspective


The Artist's Way Part 4

Posted by symackay on April 10, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Week 9: Recovering a Sense of Compassion explains when a blocked artist can't create, it isn't because of laziness but fear of failure or other reasons. Discipline doesn't make you a great writer or artist, but enthusiasm does. If you love what you do, you're committed to your work and it becomes play. If you find unexplored territory is threatening you may make a creative U-turn and pull back from success. A solution is to ask for help and support if you feel on shaky ground. 

Week 10: Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection discusses naming our roadblocks. When we remain static and blocked, we are comfortable and safe in familiar feelings of unhappiness. When we become unblocked, we're happy which can be unfamiliar - even scary. Work, an emotional drought, alcohol, food, desire for fame, and competition are some things that can block creativity. One must concentrate on the process, not the end result. I have been known to judge myself against others and downplay my work. I need to work at being positive about my work and compassionate toward myself. If one thinks the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, one will never reach contentment.

Art needs time to evolve. Artists need time to evolve. Instant gratification is rare. It takes hard work and effort. 

Week 11: Recovering a Sense of Autonomy emphasizes self-acceptance. Don't depend on the opinions of others for reinforcement. Be real with who you are and optimistic and open to possibilities. Creativity in itself isn't a business. It can result in financial rewards, but once you enter that arena, you may not be able to duplicate previous success be it a movie, art exhibit or hit song. You may feel pressure or anxiety to achieve constantly. The stakes rise each time one completes a step. Cameron writes that exercise, meditation, morning pages and artist dates are key to a healthy creative life.

Week 12: Recovering a Sense of Faith examines resistance against faith and trust. Having faith in an inner god or an external one implies surrendering control or self-will. By turning over our fears and desires to something or another being, we must develop trust. If we fear or worry things won't work out, we become stuck.

Give yourself permission to play, to explore the mysteries in life and your imagination. Stoke your own fire, or in other words, maintain your intentions and goals; otherwise your desires may unravel. Listen to your heart and mind, ignore those who hold you back, and form the right alliances.

After reading this book, I reflected on the lessons. It's fine to be able to summarize the guidelines in this book, but applying it may take the rest of my life! God remains a buzz word for me, but I can apply some of what I shared here. I confess I went through it quickly and skipped many of the exercises but hey, that's me!

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