I think that people have a lot of mythology around artists, they think that real artists are born knowing they are artists, and they are fearless and they pursue their craft w/out any thought of criticism. In fact, the truth is, quote real artists are people who have learned to live with their fears and make their art anyway.
So if people come to me hoping to be taught to be fearless, I say I can’t really teach you that, but I can teach you to live with your fears, and when they start living with their fears, and becoming more intimate with themselves they begin to get just the smallest glimmering of, “Hey it might be fun to try this, or I’d like to try that” and that’s the little tell tale whisp of creativity that people learn to listen for more and more clearly.
I think we come from a culture which demonizes creativity. We have a belief system that says artists are broke, artists are crazy/ We have a lot of confusion with alcoholism and creativity, because many of our finest artists were also alcoholic, and so we think in order to be an artist I have to be a down and out alcoholic, and we hold these beliefs as a sort of club over our head, and we say if you try creativity you’re going to really rock the boat. What I tell people is, well maybe you’re going to rock the cradle and not the boat. Maybe it’s a much more gentle process than you believe it is.
As people start working, I have them do a tool called shadow artists. I have them take a look and see in what ways they have been batteries for someone else’s creativity, someone who is officially creative, and very often we find that people surround themselves with other people, or a significant other, who they say their dreams are more important and they are more talented. So what we start to do with morning pages is say your dreams matter, you are talented, try gently to do just a little bit today. As people do this they begin to experience an alternative to their negative belief system
That inner voice isn’t the truth, and I have people do an exercise where I ask them to write out the reason I can’t be a brilliant and prolific creative artist is…?? ..and they will find that they have lots of irrational thoughts related to being an artist.
Many times people have either or thinking: either I can be an artist, or I can be in a loving relationship, either I can be an artist, or I can be solvent. Usually they put something that they hold precious high up on the list of what they will lose, and then they scare themselves, they terrify themselves out of trying art. Because, you know, who wants to be an artist if it means you’re going to be crazy, who wants to be an artist if it means you’re going to lose your house, who wants to be an artist if it means you’re going to be a bad parent. So when we get people to look at these subconscious beliefs, people begin to say, oh, that’s sort of silly, that’s not true. I have them do an exercise where they replace their negatives with positives.
Artists are crazy might translate into artists are free-spirited. Artists are broke might translate into artists are solvent. So we just sort of peak under the rug of people’s consciousness and see what the lumps are.
When people start to connect to themselves they can be lead in many different directions. One of the things I find kind of sad, is how thorough our brainwashing is around money, and how deeply we tend to believe if we work our creativity we’ll be broke.
People are often very surprised to move into their creativity and find that their earning power in fact goes up. I can’t promise you, work The Artists Way and you’ll be solvent and self-supporting through your art, but I can say work The Artist’s Way and you’ll be led to more sense of support.
I believe that when people pursue their creativity they are in effect pursuing a spiritual path, they begin to have more intution, they begin to have more coincidence, they begin to experience guidance.