Recovering a Sense of Compassion: Summaries of “The Artist’s Way” by Laura JeH + A Power-full Analogy

It’s the start of a new month and with it comes a chance to set intentions we can either celebrate the harvesting of in a few weeks time when this month concludes too, bask in the progress made toward a goal that will be reached later but sooner for the efforts made now, or we will lament in the wish we’re equally far from achieving all because we didn’t take intentional action toward it now. For now is where our power to create exists.

So often we get caught up in the big achievements that we forget that they are made up of many small achievements en route to the combination of them all in the name of the greater goal they were all working toward.

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In Julia Cameron’s chapter on “Recovering a Sense of Compassion” in “The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self” she says “the blocked artist does not know how to begin with baby steps. Instead, the blocked artist thinks in terms of great big scary impossible tasks: a novel, a feature film, a one-person show, an opera. When these large tasks are not accomplished or even begun, the blocked artist calls that laziness” when really it is fear.

FEAR has roots in childhood reality because so many parents look down upon a child’s seemingly whimsical desire to be creative because they have no idea how the one they love, and who reflects back on them, are going to be able to support themselves by taking such an unconventional path as the one we are called to blaze for ourselves.

Tears truly come to my eyes as I write this because I didn’t realize FULLY COMMITTED: The Sacred Sojourn of NOW was a commitment to the artist within me that didn’t even fully realize I was activating her in the act of writing the book that rewrote my self-image in the process of writing it.

“ENTHUSIASM (from the Greek, “filled with God”) is an ongoing energy supply tapped into the flow of life itself” Julia describes and is part of why it accounts for the first E in PEACEFULL INNER Warriors United which is the framework I break down in FULLY COMMITTED because so much went in to bringing it together.

“As artists, grounding our self-image in military discipline is dangerous” Julia says because while it may work in the short term it ultimately beats up the creative aspects of us by often making the discipline to create, in the ritual we design for ourselves or adhere to based the prescription of another, the point instead of the creative outflow.

Julia describes our inner artist as the child archetype that wants to be our inner playmate and the one we’re meant to take on a weekly artist’s date, according to Cameron’s course.

I don’t always take mine out on dates, in truth, but I believe we’re all recovering artists to an extent and the emotional scar tissue we’ve all got to resolve creates different blocks that only we can unpack, if we’re willing (and brave enough to admit it). I did enjoy a live performance yesterday and Friday night a friend is playing in that quite delighted my inner artist and instead of going alone I brought her Mom both times, and my own Mom and her husband joined yesterday too. Today I’ll enjoy some sun and sand once I get this posted and, while not alone as Julia suggests, my artist is content.

Julia says that “what other people may view as discipline is actually a play date that we make with our artist child” if we’re willing to reframe how we show up to the page and why. Reconnecting with our why helps greatly because we’ve often heard the expression “where there’s a will, there’s a way” but we could also say “where there’s a why, our willingness to try grows as we show the world what’s been placed on our heart to bring to life.”

This section on ENTHUSIASM reminds us “that our creative work is actually our creativity itself at play in the field of time” and what I find fascinating is a connected concept that only came to me recently, along those lines. For the past several years I’ve commonly said “we are the players on the field” who are called to be the change we seek in this world, but what I hadn’t realized till recently is that the field we’re on is not just time and space but consciousness itself.

Consciousness is a creative force and the higher we are willing to elevate ours, the further afield we will be able to see.

Currently it seems we’re all being overwhelmed with information to keep us in formation within the collective consciousness that does its best to regulate members through control and ostracism of those who don’t comply or conform; artists and creatives think outside of the box, where so many find a false sense of safety and security, so we are often the ones who get pushed to the fringes of society. Historically we’ve been burned at the stake or persecuted for our uncommon ways but now I dare to say we can be the very ones who stitch society back together with our creativity!

What if those who dwell on the fringes of society (not accepting any status such as ‘fringe minority’ which could make one subject to the modern day witch hunts, legalized and normalized as the Mental Health Act, I’ll add) actually came together and helped unite the tribes who have been divided because we haven’t known how to connect or relate?

In the CREATIVE U-TURNS  section Julia says “we’re more comfortable being a victim of artist’s block than risking having to consistently be productive and healthy… [so] an artist U-turn arrives on a sudden wave of indifference” that often makes us feel “doubly shamed: first by our fear and second by our reaction to it.”

After interviewing many ‘big name’ artists Julia says that “as much as talent, the capacity to avoid or recoup from creative U-turns distinguished their careers” and as one who devoted more than 5 years to getting my first book published, with many significant revelations about how unhealthy my pre-COVID lifestyle had been while trying to get it done before it had gestated to its full maturity, I can legitimately say that picking myself up off the floor after each shedding of metaphoric skin helped me bring to life something I believe will greatly help those who read it.

“A successful creative career is always built on successful creative failures. The trick is to survive them” Cameron says and from personal experience I can affirm that “creativity, not time, best heals creative wounds.”

I love her analogy to “think of your talent as a young and skittish horse that you are bringing along. This horse is very talented but it is also young, nervous, and inexperienced.” It reminds me of the story of maybe that I share in FULLY COMMITTED, as it was the story I told the POLICE Officer named Brandon who formed me and forced me into the Mental Health Act for which I was a reluctant player but from which I learned a tremendous amount and got to put all the theories I’d been writing about for a couple years by that point into practice.

I’ll tell that story in the email sequence you’ll receive by signing up on this page so if you haven’t already done so be sure you click the signup box on this page or use the form on my homepage before you go. It’s worth it and I always do my best to share inspiring and inspired content to support your journey inward, as I do with all my blogs.

BLASTING THROUGH BLOCKS is a brilliant section that encourages you to drop the baggage you’ve previously carried so that you can move forward without all the limiting beliefs that previously held you back. I’d recommend you read the chapter for yourself or listen to the replay while moving with me in this week’s “Moving Through The Artist’s Way With Laura JeH” video.

I’ll round out this week’s message with one I received back in 2012 as an email newsletter from a woman named Susan Mann that I have loved and shared with many over the years. I am including it here because it’s so relevant to recovering the artist within and BLASTING THROUGH BLOCKS as Julia suggests:

“It is like we are at Central Station waiting for the train to take us to the new world. We ‘think’ we are fully prepared, for we have very carefully packed everything we use on a daily basis. Our arms are full of bags, packages, suitcases – everything we may need for this long journey. As we arrive at the station, there is a buzz in the air, everyone is brimming with excitement. Before we approach the platform, we run into a few check points along the way. The Baggage Handler asks what is in the suitcase. You calmly respond, “Those are all my fears I’ve collected along my way. I have packed them very carefully for I never know which ones I may need on any given day.” He responds, “There is no room for such baggage where you are going, you must leave it behind.” Next you run into a Security Official who upon seeing your full load asks you what is in the wrapped package. You respond, “Those are my doubts. I never leave home without them for they keep me from reaching my fullest potential.” He responds, “There is no use for those on this ride” and removes your package for you. Next you are stopped by the Train Conductor who asks what is in the remaining bags. “Those are the rest of my limiting beliefs. This bag is past restrictions, the brown bag is present inhibitors, and the black bag is future distractions.” The Conductor strips away these bags and when you approach the platform you do so feeling a little vulnerable, bare and exposed for you have never traveled without your comforts before. A part of you doesn’t know how to show up in such a new space, but as you step into the train and it starts to move you feel the most incredible sense of freedom you have ever encountered. The wind in your hair and the sun on your face allow you to spread your arms out and breathe it all in. You know you are on the right track with your load inherently lighter and the new found confidence for your trail ahead.

We will all approach this terminal at one point or another. Some are already on the train and moving along while others will board the next train. It matters not which train you board for we are all heading to the same destination. Have you met up with your Baggage Handler, Security Official or Train Conductor yet? If not, you will. And each of them may not look like what you would expect, yet each will offer you an opportunity to lighten your load. They may show up as an end to your job, an ailment, a person or change in relationship. When they arrive, look past the experience and focus on the lesson. You may chose to embrace the shifting or you may hang out at the station a while. As soon as you are at peace with letting your baggage go, the most perfect train will arrive. Many trains may pass by before the one for you arrives, but when it does, you will know it is the right one for you and you will trust that it arrived at the most perfect time.

Until next time, be gentle with yourselves and each other.” – Susan Mann, Head to Heal   

And so with that perspective in mind (and view) I’ll reiterate the message of self-compassion Susan, and Julia, offer in their respective work to say be kind to yourself so that you have more space to consider others without sacrificing yourself in the process. Remember that if we all treat ourselves as our own #1 without needing to make anyone else less for our having that position, we can enjoy a more respect-full world and REALITY as a result together.

With love,

Laura JeH – Namaste

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