Saturday, June 24, 2017

Just Show Up

That's all I have to do. Why it is so difficult? Why am I so resistant?

Steven Pressfield said it well in his book The War of Art: "Resistance". That's it? Plain, old resistance? Well I've come to know it's not plain. And it never grows old. But it grows deeper as one gets older. This has happened to me. I have no excuses. I admit I'm stuck and have been for many years. I keep going in a circle: Desire to create, start out creating, write a blog post about where I've been and try to explain this to myself and anyone who may be listening, buy a new journal, get bogged down by life or whatever, lay things aside while I tend to everything else, dust accumulates, lose interest or don't like what I wrote or drew, wonder if others will feel that way too, think about this everyday while I do the dishes, go to the art store and buy a new pen and more paper, store them in a drawer, desire arises again to create....I need an accountability partner. My reasons for not having one are mostly tied to fear. What if I let them down? What if I don't feel like doing the thing I committed to? What if I'm really not a writer or an artist? What if I embarrass myself?

Resistance obstructs movement only from a lower sphere to a higher.
It kicks in when we seek to pursue a calling in the arts, launch an innovative
enterprise, or evolve to a higher station morally, ethically, or spiritually.
So if you're in Calcutta working with the Mother Theresa Foundation and you're
thinking of bolting to launch a career in telemarketing...relax. Resistance will
give you a free pass. (The War of Art, page 17)

A friend and I recently traveled to an art workshop. I told her about a quote I heard by John F. Kennedy. He said, "We're not doing this because it's easy. We're doing this because it's hard." My friend said, "Ok, we're doing the hard stuff now." And we repeat this to each other every time we talk. The hard stuff for me right now is to write this blog post and press publish. It's reaching out to people to find the right combination of encouragement and instruction to keep headed toward my goal of writing an essay to send out somewhere. It's drawing in my journal everyday, either to illustrate what I'm writing about or just to practice and hone my skills. Another quote from The War of Art:


Like a magnetized needle floating on a surface of oil, Resistance
will unfailingly point to true North-meaning that calling or action it most 
wants to stop us from doing.
We can use this. We can use it as a compass. We can navigate by Resistance,
letting it guide us to that calling or action that we must follow before all others.
Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul's evolution,
the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it. (The War of Art, page 12)

I've known for a long time that my faith is related to creativity. Just as faith is not an easy stance to maintain in every day life so it is in the creative realm. I need to lean into this idea more. I believe in prayer for example because I've experienced results many times, yet how often I forget to pray, or just don't pray. Why? Because it's hard! First I have to go against myself and my own reasoning that always asks the question: What good will it do? Then I have to speak to my heart to wake up and get on board because without my heart it will be only words going out into the air instead of love going into the ears of God. I have to care. All this requires work, the work of believing that prayer will avail much. It seems very much the same to bring myself to writing or drawing. One more quote:


Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, 
the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment
one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur
to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from 
the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents
and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would
come his way. W.H.Murray (The War of Art, page 122)

"We're doing the hard stuff now."

Monday, August 10, 2015

Becoming An Explorer


Lost Creek Trail

I'm on a quest to overcome my fears related to creativity, namely Art and Writing. I'm looking for people who are struggling with their own fears, who will travel with me on this journey to conquer the giants and take back the land of confidence. I need fellow travelers who want to learn, grow and develop to become all they were created to be.

After 18 years of caregiving there has come a rest from crisis living and it's almost as though I don't know who I am or what I would like to do now. A question I keep asking myself is, "what is my purpose?" Being needed by other people has given me a sense of importance. It started out as a response to someone's need but quickly became an expected role in the family system. Now I try to shed that identity like a skin but it doesn't come off. I need help. And what new skin do I want to grow?  

I'm going to self school. This is like coming up to a wall I have to scale before I even begin to climb the mountain. As I think about how to move away from the roles I've allowed others to put me in, I feel guilty. The thought of becoming a writer or an artist raises anxiety in my chest, making my heart pound. This is unknown territory. In order to move on I first have to stay put and begin to identify where I am, what or who doesn't work and decide what to do about it. But I must move. 

Some things I've done so far are:

Hired a life coach
Signed up for online art classes
Talked to family members about their expectations
as well as identified myself to them as an artist/writer
Attended a writer's workshop
Gathered with other writer's at a Literary Salon
Returned to my blog which I started in 2008
Began to finish projects I have started but abandoned
Endeavored to keep a daily journal
Pray daily.                                                     

Recently I went camping at Lost Creek in Southern Oregon. I asked a Park Ranger how to get down to the lake. He pointed me in the direction of the trail and said,"there's more ups than downs." As I made my way along the trail, alone, I began to realize how many risks I was taking. First of all, at the beginning of the trail was a tiny sign that declared this to be Cougar country. Gulp. Then another sign that listed all the things I should do to keep safe: 
Be sure you have a map. (I did not)
Plan ahead and be prepared. (I did not)
Travel on durable surfaces. (I did have tennis shoes on)
The scenery was majestic, like a fairytale forest with a path that beckoned me to explore. I decided I would just see what was around the bend. Over roots bulged up out of the ground, under low hung, out stretched branches, across a fallen tree that created a bridge, I relished the warm air and breathed in the scent of pine. This was fun. Then, up ahead, I saw something large drop from a tree and scramble through the bushes. It wasn't large enough to be a Cougar but it wasn't a squirrel either.  I stopped. My mouth became dry, my heart beat up into my throat, I turned around and ran up the steep incline back to the sign where I began. I decided my adventure would be left for another day, and with a friend. 

This little journey reminded me of my attempts to become a writer/artist. Any day, inspiration may knock on the window. I feel a lift in my heart or a call from somewhere unknown to make a change, take a risk, explore, create. But after a little while, when things don't go as planned,  more time and discipline are required than I expected or I have to write and write and rewrite or start over on a painting I've worked hours on, I retreat. I turn away in fear that I don't have what it takes. I listen to the rustle in the bushes. And as years go by, I repeat the same scenario. Is it possible to take myself seriously? To make a decision about what I want and stick to it regardless of how difficult it may be? To stop doubting myself? Only I can answer these questions. 

I began this post saying I'm looking for fellow travelers and this is still true. Two (many) are better than one. And I recognize the need for encouragement and help from other artists who know the path. But ultimately it is a solo undertaking and I'm the only one who can take responsibility for myself to create or not. To be continued....

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Continued from May 6, 2012

Hi Gentle Readers,

I finally found my way back to my blog. The habits I spoke of two years ago haven't changed but what has changed is my belief in myself. I may not be the best writer, or artist or whatever but I'm the best and in fact only one who can see from my perspective. I don't have to know if this will add value to the world or not. My job is to create what is in my heart to create. I don't know how I may touch someone, help someone, hopefully not hurt someone. "We all have a unique way of seeing." Danny Gregory.
A Snap Pea in my garden as seen
from my unique perspective.

See Danny Gregory's post on "I'm the Best".

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Year of the Spark

Happy New Year! 

I haven't blogged in more than a year! But I'm here now and will try to keep going. I'm starting another class with Carla Sonheim called The Year of the Spark! This blog will be a good place to document what I'm learning and reflect on the process.

Here is a link for anyone interested in investigating the class:


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Today I attended a writing workshop with Barbara Abercrombie. She, with generosity, humor and years of writing and teaching experience, shared everything one needs to know to get started writing and to keep writing. I've taken many classes with Barbara and I always come away feeling encouraged and buoyed up. Barbara is every writer's cheerleader. She does not deny it is hard work and a writer has to have a stubbornness about them that refuses to give up. It takes daily practice and perseverance. The book gives a practical way to adhere to that discipline with 5 minute exercises. It's brilliant!