Monday, March 3, 2008

Discovering a Sense of Resiliency (Part 1 of 2)

Week 9 – Discovering a Sense of Resiliency


This chapter is for me. I’m a person who worries. The author of Walking in this World, Julia Cameron (website currently unavailable) helps put things into perspective. “Panic is an escalating sense of terror that can feel as if we are being flooded and immobilized by the glare of change.

Worry has an anxious and unfocused quality. It skitters subject to subject, fixating first on one thing, then on another. Like a noisy vacuum cleaner, its chief function is to distract us from what we really are afraid of. Worry is a kind of emotional anteater poking into all corners for trouble.

Fear is not obsessive like worry and not escalating like panic. Fear is more reality based. It asks us to check something out. Unpleasant as it is, fear is our ally. Ignore it and fear escalates. A sense of loneliness joins its clamor. At its root, fear is based in a sense of isolation.

The more active – and even more negative – your imagination is, the more it is a sign of creative energy.” Use this creative energy in the right way.

“Worry is the imagination’s negative stepsister. Instead of making things, we make trouble. Culturally, we are trained to worry.

We are trained to prepare for any negative possibility. On the brink of opening a play, we therefore expect critical snipers, not raves. One reason Morning Pages work so well for artists is that they give a way to siphon off worry at the very beginning of our creative day. Similarly, the spot-check inventory of blasting through our blocks by the naming, claiming, and dumping of any worries, angers, and fears related to a project can also get an artist out of the starting gate effectively.” For those of you who don’t know what the Morning Pages are, let me inform you.

The Morning Pages are done upon waking each day. Write three pages in long-hand. This helps to rid the mind of all the “junk” that is in there, stopping your creativity. Let me tell you first-hand…writing these pages really help! Some days you might not want to write, write anyway. When you don’t know what to write about, write “I don’t know what to write” until something comes to mind.

“When worry strikes, remind yourself your gift for worry and negativity is merely a sure sign of your considerable creative powers. It is the proof of the creative potential you have for making your life better, not worse.”

In Julia Cameron’s experience, “Artist’s never completely outgrow worry. We simply become more adroit at recognizing it as misplaced creative energy.”

“We need not disqualify ourselves from trying to make art by saying, ‘Since it’s so terrifying for me, I must not be supposed to do it.’” Instead of running from your fears, walk through them.

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life. That word is love. ~ Sophocles

There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving and that’s your own self. ~ Aldous Huxley


We are afraid of fear. We don’t want to be afraid. Sometimes fear is a good thing. Julia Cameron states, “Fear requires action, not assurance.”

“Sometimes we feel something large and good is about to happen. We wake up with a sense of anticipation and openness – spiritual attitudes we cultivate through Morning Pages and Artist’s Dates. At other times, that very openness brings to us a sense of foreboding. If we have bought into the currently popular spiritual position that fear is somehow ‘bad’ or even ‘unspiritual,’ we will try to dismiss our fear without exploring its message.

‘Don’t feel that way,’ we will tell our fearful selves. ‘What’s wrong with you?’ By focusing on ourselves as the probable source of anything ‘wrong,’ we blind ourselves to the possibility that there might, in fact, be someone or something wrong in our environment.”

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone. ~ Coco Chanel

“When you feel afraid, tell yourself, ‘This is good, not bad. This is heightened energy available for productive use. This is not something to medicate – or meditate – away. This is something to accept and explore.’ Ask yourself:

What signal is my fear sending me?
What affectionate name can I give to this messenger part of myself?
What grounded action can I take to respond to this fear?

“When we listen to our fears with tenderness and care, when we accept them as messengers rather that as terrorists, we can begin to understand and respond to the unmet need that sends them forward. When we employ humor and tenderness to our fearful selves, they will often stop shaking long enough to deliver a needed message.”

Lord I disbelieve – help thou my unbelief. ~ E.M. Forster

When you are dealing with fear, try affirmative prayer. “It works by singling out each negative situation and ‘claiming’ divine attention and intervention upon our behalf. Let us say the problem is fear-born procrastination on entering a creative project. The prayer might go something like this: ‘I am guided carefully and expertly exactly on how to begin work on my new project. I am shown carefully and clearly each step to take. I am supported fully and happily in taking each step into fruitful work on this new project. I intuitively and accurately know exactly how to begin and what to do to begin correctly.’


“Irritability is the flag waved by restlessness. Restlessness means you are on the march creatively. The problem is, you may not know where.

It is as though our restlessness calls to the very heavens for ‘something’ to happen. And something – or many somethings – does. This is why, as uncomfortable as it is, as unpleasant, even unbearable – restlessness is a good omen.

When we are restless and our lives feel colorless, it is a clue and a cue that they are about to become colorful – if we cooperate. Prayers, and especially creative prayers, are unanswered, but answered in ways we may not anticipate or appreciate. Again, this is why artists speak that spiritual-sounding word – inspiration. That is not some gauzy bromide, it is our actual experience. As artists, we are irrationally, intuitively, and insistently inspired.

When we insist on routine, when we insist on linearity, destiny will still knock, but it may have to work harder to get our attention.

Follow your strange creative cravings and you will be led into change a step at a time.”
We are never so ridiculous through what we are as through what we pretend to be. ~ Francois, Duc De La Rochefoucauld

“Sometimes, and particularly when we are restless, it is a good idea to take a rest and allow our inner leadings to bubble up to the surface unimpeded.”

1 comment:

Kasie @ ~The Art of Life~ said...

Wow Valerie! Thank you for taking the time to write this all out. Fear and worry are things I struggle with constantly. I'm going to be reading back over this. :)