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Artist's Way
Week 9

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Recovering a Sense of Compassion

"This week finds us facing the internal blocks to creativity. It may be tempting to abandon ship at this point. Don't! We will explore and acknowledge the emotional difficulties that beset us in the past as we made creative efforts. We will undertake healing the shame of past failures. We will gain in compassion as we reparent the frightened artist child who yearns for creative accomplishment. We will learn tools to dismantle emotional blocks and support renewed risk."

Wow! If you skipped the summary above or just glanced over it, read it again.

This is going to be a powerful week! First, we have to look with an honest eye to see what has kept us from our dreams. Some may try to avoid this knowing pain will be uncovered. But remember the point of this week. Compassion! There's nothing to be done about past actions. The past is past. We learned. We know now that we'd do some things different, but we can't go back and do that something. Instead, we can do something different RIGHT NOW.

The only thing that stands in the way of our dreams is fear. Fear can put us in a deep freeze. Fear kept my mom from getting my father evaluated for his memory problems. Who really wants to know that your loved one has Alzheimers? Especially if there's no cure. Fear kept me from writing an article for a popular website, even though it was requested. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to follow through with the response it may generate. Fear has kept me from going to the local galleries to find out about their submission policies. What if they laugh at my work?

Last week I explored early patterns -- things that happened in my childhood that contributed to my fears. I found that I don't really believe I am talented. I think people just say that to make me feel good or to encourage me and they are setting me up for a huge fall. I'll get to the point where I honestly feel I am talented only for someone, like a gallery owner, to say something like, "You call THAT art?" or "We would never consider showing something like THAT here!" Fear.

Fear is not rational.

Sure, it won't be great news to find out that Dad has Alzheimers, but won't it be a relief if he doesn't? Knowledge is power. There may be some things that could be done around the house that would make things easier for Dad. And, not to mention, the worry that would be relieved. Mom knows this...deep inside in the still quiet.

It would be a callous, evil gallery owner that would say such things as I imagine. The likelihood is a million to one. And, it's not like I'm a child in school who needs to be encouraged. If someone didn't think I had talent, they would say nothing at all. They wouldn't go out of their way to tell me that I have talent or ask me for articles. I know this.

The antidote to fear is love. Fear is the absense of love. If I love myself, if I love my inner artist child, I won't care what people think of my art. It is MY art. It is beautiful to ME. If a gallery owner can't see that, it doesn't mean that I don't have talent. I am a unique, wonderful, loveable being who creates what makes her happy. When the time is right, someone will be attracted to something I create. The odds are for it. Even though I am unique, we all, as human beings, share similar experiences. Someone is bound to come along and, having had similar experiences as me, see deeply into my art...see into its soul (which is really a reflection of my soul) and will want to own this art and treasure it because, possibly, it is also a refection of her/his soul.

This week, I wish you the strength to look with an honest eye at those things, feelings, events that have kept you from your dreams. I wish you compassion, to hold yourself harmless, forgive yourself, and deeply care for that inner child artist of yours. I wish you self-love, self-acceptance, self-confidence in the measure you need to blast through your blocks. Treat yourself with extra doses of love and compassion this week. You are climbing a mountain, but the view is absolutely spectacular when you reach the top!

"[We are] not free to refuse to do that thing
which gives [us] more pleasure
than any other conceivable action."
--Stendhal