I’m done with The Artist’s Way.
I’m experiencing a very curious loss of words. What do I say? Do I try to wrap up just Week 12, or must I say something profound about the entire experience? Must I make a case for self help books and programs? Just the creativity-based ones? What am I supposed to say?
I’m not required to write something earth-shattering. All I have to do is type out my feelings and experiences. I can do that.
I did The Artist’s Way. Parts of it were easy, parts were hard. Parts were enjoyable, parts were not. Parts were helpful, parts were not. And while there’s no denying that my life changed during The Artist’s Way, did The Artist’s Way change my life? Because here’s the thing–The Artist’s Way is awesome. And the reason it is awesome is that the tasks and exercises were all geared toward helping me discover things about myself, my life, my goals and my ways of thinking that I might not have put my finger on my own. Julia asked me questions. And it was through her questions and my answers that my path started to reveal itself to me. Doing The Artist’s Way demanded that I take myself seriously as an artist, something that I had (subconsciously) avoided my entire adult life. I never allowed myself to think that I could live a creative life. The Artist’s Way taught me that I could, and now I do. But was The Artist’s Way the catalyst for this change? Or was I already on the path towards that change, and that’s why I sought out The Artist’s Way?
As I type this, I realize that it’s a silly line of questioning. And also…who the fuck cares? What matters is that in December 2012 I was one place, and now it’s April of 2013 and I’m somewhere else and I’m just really, really proud and really grateful.
So, in lieu of a check-in, here is some stuff I’ve learned in the past four (almost five!) months. Some of it is directly from The Artist’s Way, some is just from my own life and discoveries. These are the things I hope to carry with me onto the next phase of my life.
- It is really important to surround myself with the right people. I deserve to have people in my life who believe in me and take me seriously. I must be on the lookout for people who are trying to derail me and my efforts. Sometimes they are sneaky. I must also be on the lookout for people who give me good energy and inspiration. There are a lot of them, and I’m so grateful for the people I have.
- Leap, and the net will appear. I quit my job, and my life didn’t fall apart. So far, so good!
- That thing I really want to do? I’m probably “meant” to do it. Whatever that means. Having a strong desire to do something is a good enough reason to give time and attention to it. Fuck being “good enough.” Good enough for what? To do something I enjoy? No thanks, I hate waiting.
- Anger is a sign that my boundaries are being crossed. This blew my freaking mind when I read it. And Julia followed it up with this gem–Anger should be acted upon, not acted out. I must examine my anger, because it’s trying to tell me something.
- Good criticism will excite me and give me ideas. Bad criticism will make me feel like a failure. I must be critical of the criticism I receive. I must protect my artist from bad criticism. And I’m working on developing the ability to determine when I’m actually hearing good criticism delivered badly.
- Playing games and listening to music is a perfectly acceptable way to spend an hour, and is totally capable of making me a better artist.
- I must acknowledge when I’ve been disappointed. It sucks to live in that place, but it’s necessary to mourn the disappointment if I want to fully and bravely move on to what’s next.
- I will strive to do work that “feels” right, and worry less about other people thinking I’m good. After all, I have zero control over other people’s feelings. I will concentrate on finding exciting moments in my own work and my own psyche.
- I really love to sing, and the fact that I’m not the world’s best singer is not a good enough reason to not do it.
- Anxiety isn’t going to go away. I’ll strive to become better at accepting it, managing it, and working through it. I accept that resistance is a part of the creative process.
- I have something to give.
And, as always–I am enough.
Thank you, friends, for coming on this crazy journey with me.