One of the exercises in the first week of The Artist's Way is to list enemies and friends of one's creative process. I am a rule-abider (as long as I agree with the rule), and so I dutifully did my little exercise in my pretty little brown leather embossed journal.
I had an incredibly hard time coming up with enemies of my creative process, with one glaring exception: my very own little self!
What a discovery. This had never occurred to me before. The only person getting in the way of my artistic discovery is myself. Without a doubt, each person I've ever held dear, each person who has bee the beneficiary of my goodies, each friend, family member, or friendly stranger, has edified my craft.
This is extraordinary. It makes it so much easier to try the things I really want to try. I have been liberated from the thoughts that have become more like feet in concrete than simply passing ideas. Well, I qualify, not so much liberated, but the gates were unlocked.
Now I can make my slow progress across the way to the gate and push my way outside. There is some fear, some defiance, some complacency. But there is a tiny little feeling in the pit of my tummy. I believe it is called joy.
The lesson was to be to put off those people who could not encourage one's artist. What if that person is yourself? If everyone else believes me capable of beauty, then why would I not have that same expectation for myself?
I suppose it can be difficult to erase the tape recorder in my head that says all those mean and nasty things to precious me. But, at least I know it's false and that I am endlessly capable of re recording that loop.
I like this feeling of joy.