In order to be creative, we need to feel safe. It is only when we feel safe and accepted that our creativity blooms. I figured that much. And it explains a lot. I don’t feel safe. I don’t know what it is to feel safe. I did not get the gift of emotional security. I got the gift of discovering emotional security. And that’s what I’ve done for the past 20 some years.
It has led me to knowing all the ways in which I do not feel safe. The areas where I feel most vulnerable. All the ways I pretend I am safe. And all the ways in which I have adapted, and still am adapting.
Adaptation was my main tool of survival. I became a super adapter. A human chameleon. In the past decades, I learned, more and more, to show my own colors. Yet, I still adapt. Because my world is still unsafe. I still need to hide what is deepest within me.
True creativity is our soul at its barest. It is holy ground. And I don’t dare to be so vulnerable. Not even with myself. Because the sad truth is that my creativity is not even safe with me. I am my own harshest critic.
Not feeling safe hinders me. In the relationship with the people that are nearest and dearest to me. In my relationship with myself and with my creative self. It hinders me and there is no easy solution. I can not follow the popular advice, to just do it.
Whenever I go faster than my body and mind are ready for, I paralyze and panic at the same time. It asks for my immediate care, I need to give it attention or I get some psychosomatic illness that keeps me out of the running even longer. Hello, inner saboteur!
In week two of The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron talks about poisonous playmates. People with blocked creativity who don’t like you getting creative, just like drinking buddies don’t like you getting sober. It is a threat to their self-image. The fiercer their resistance, the better you are doing. I did not see any relevance to my own life. I seem to be surrounded by genuinely supportive people.
But then I saw a quote by Doris Lessing in which she talks about snipers, “people who undermine your efforts to break unhealthy relationship patterns”. And I realized that I do have one such relationship. My inner saboteur matches that description perfectly. For artists, the answer to dealing with poisonous playmates, or snipers, would lie in both feeding our inner artist and protecting it, shielding it from the outside world.
That makes sense. But what to do if you’re your own poisonous playmate? How do I protect yourself from yourself? My poisonous playmate IS there when I write my morning pages, and it IS there when I go on artist’s dates. Shutting it out, repressing it, or shaming it, will only makes it stronger. The only choice I have is to allow it, to include it and to embrace it.
So, I made the conscious decision to no longer self-censor (you can read about that in the previous blog). I will acknowledge what is deepest within me. The part that I’ve hidden to secure my emotional survival. And I will love the part of myself that has done such an excellent job at protecting my inner sanctuary. But I will take over from here. I will value her input, but I will not give her power over my creative expression anymore.
I will stop abandoning, shaming and betraying myself in order not to be hurt by others. Instead, I commit to being loyal to my artist self and honor her creative needs. I commit to doing these morning pages and these artist’s dates until January 2023. Yes, you read it right. I don’t know what came over me, either. But these will be my non-negotionables. This will be my practice.
If you’ve done the Artist Way, I would love for you to share your experience with us in the comments. How did week 2 go for you? Are there any insights or gems you are willing to share? If you’re not sure you want to share, then just don’t. You don’t want to expose your most vulnerable self to a possible poisonous playmate, remember.
If you haven’t done it, but are curious or want to know more, feel free to ask a question. And I will dig in, or maybe someone else has the perfect answer they are willing to share.
If this resonated with you, then consider sharing it with someone who will love it too or could use it in their lives right now. And while you’re in the flow, you may want to subscribe to my newsletter as well. I’ll send you an email from time to time to keep you in the loop. Don’t worry, I won’t spam you. Scout’s honor.
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Image by Mylene2401