I had such an amazing day. It's the perfect time to talk about my artist's way experience (really wondering if that should be capitalized, but since the proper name of the book has a 'the' in front of it, I'm going to skip it.)
I spent the day with two super talented sustainable fashion ladies, both promoting vegan fashion, both inspiring the inner vegan in me who comes out every so often — when I'm not roasting chickens, that is. They reminded me that artistry is less about technique, or the medium you choose, and more about passion. That it's all in the details and it's more about how you do things than what you do. I know that deep down, but it is so nice to be inspired. Ok, I've fought off the urge to brag about my wonderful friends for a full ten seconds, and that is long enough, plus you all deserve to know where to buy sustainable clothes and whatnot. So, Stephanie runs Nicora Shoes, which is getting some love over at Vanity Fair, no biggie. She makes all vegan shoes by hand and a third generation shoemaker no less. Sica runs Bead and Reel where she selects all sustainable clothing items for her shop without compromising, well anything, really. She gets a lot of high profile love too, but so modest about it. I don't know why. I'd shout it from the rooftops. Mmm, I do shout it from rooftops. Can't keep me quiet. Anyways, that's my bit of love from the ladies I live through vicariously. So much love and doing big things for the environment.
Alright, my takeaways from The Artist's Way, week 1 are this:
- The artist pages are magic.
- My subconscious can be kind of an ass.
- My life is a mix of very strong positive and negative influences. I don't feel like there's anything meager or mediocre in my life. I need to cultivate stability and simplicity.
- Learn to feed the positive already.
- Writing in my version of magic.
So for those of you who haven't read it, artists pages are just these three pages you write every morning. First thing in the morning before anything else you kind of just let your mind throw up for a while. Gross, but true. Just get all of the crap out of the way and let your creativity move. It's very important to the process, I've come to understand, and like I said there can be a lot of really gross stuff floating around in there. It needs to be cleaned out. Also, I'm a big fan of Rebecca Campbell, who put out this video about how important it is to dedicate yourself to a spiritual practice every day. Mine are my artist pages and yoga. Those are my non-negotiables. I don't always do yoga first thing in the morning, but this video about "The Fuzz" showed me that bodies need to be moved and cleaned out. A word of warning, it's not too graphic, but there are cadavers in the video link I shared. I'm a bit squeamish about that stuff but I didn't find the video disturbing, just interesting.
My artist date was the local farmer's market. I didn't buy anything, I just strolled and got inspired. It was a new turn on an old favorite of mine. I just looked at the flowers mostly, but the art in displays, and passion, and exchanges. "To make living itself an art, that is the goal." Henry Miller — he knows what I'm saying.
So this chapter talks about how crucial nurturing is and the thing is I did feel creatively nurtured as a kid. I actually felt constantly praised in school for my work with watercolors, at home for playing the piano. I was given books, art supplies, and all kinds of things as gifts for being "the creative one." I think in ways I took this away from myself. I deducted the nurturing in myself because I in my little mind didn't stack up to some societal standard, or realized there wasn't much value for this in society, or that it was made out to be trite and that my mathematical talent was somehow more important — more relevant — than the artistic talent. It felt good to say that. There are ways that I felt a little cut off at the knees as an artist by the outside world, but mostly, I think I brought the heat upon myself. A few big blocks I was able to pull out are that being an artists means that you're selfish and that you're asking for criticism. Another big one for me is this, "Who do you think you are?" feeling. I don't like that. I'm working through it. This reminds me of a quote from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho which says, "People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren’t, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly."
Quotes that stuck out to me:
"Remember that in order to recover as an artist, you must be willing to be a bad artist. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. By being willing to be a bad artist, you have a chance to be an artist, and perhaps, over time, a very good one."
"Once we have cleared away the most sweeping cultural negatives, we may find we are still stubbornly left with core negatives we have acquired from our families, teachers, and friends. These are often more subtle — but equally undermining if not confronted. Our business is confronting them."
"Negative beliefs are exactly that: beliefs, not facts. The world was never flat, although everyone believed it was. You are not dumb, crazy, egomaniacal, grandiose, or silly just because you falsely believe yourself to be.
What you are is scared. Core negative beliefs keep you scared.
The bottom line is that core negatives — personal or cultural always go for your jugular. They attack you sexuality, your lovability, your intelligence—whatever vulnerability they can latch on to."