Recovering a Sense of Safety
Week 1 was all about recognizing my limiting beliefs, uncovering hurtful memories, and remembering people who contributed to my creative journey in both positive and negative ways.
It was also about establishing a new daily habit – the Morning Pages, and a new weekly habit – the Artist’s Date. You can read about both practices more in my introduction post to the Artist’s Way series.
Starting something new is always hard. While I definitely could have been better with morning pages (only 3/7 days done right), my Artist’s date was really enjoyable.
On the way out of my local library, I dropped by a tiny nook that I never paid any attention to. To my surprise, it had a tall window next to the few bookshelves (the only things I noticed there before), as well as a rocking chair!
This is the thing about me – I tend to stay on the beaten path. I like my life being relatively predictable and boring. Most days I go about my business in a very utilitarian way. Some days I don’s pay attention to the way “outside” looks like, and if you ask me what’s the weather like, I might have trouble answering that. As a bonus feature of this kind of lifestyle, I get my breath taken away during those times that I actually look up at the sky. Living on Cape Cod, the view is breathtaking most times 🙂
So I spent half an hour in a rocking chair, just rocking softly and thinking about stuff. It was a great half hour that left me feeling a little bit sad, a little bit happy, and mostly excited. There are changes happening in my life right now, and although most changes are really welcome, it feels like an end of an era. I’m really glad I got to spend this quiet half hour in a place that I’ve seen a million times, yet haven’t really experienced before, and allowed myself a quiet reflection session instead of rushing my day forward.
When it comes to tasks unique to this week, I enjoyed them a lot. The most important of them, in my opinion, was to uncover limiting beliefs that hold the artist in you back. It took a few trips down the memory lane to make up a list. After all, everyone’s journey is different, and least of all did I want my list to sound generic and not that relevant to my experiences.
These are the negative beliefs that I found in myself:
- Creativity alone won’t make me much money
- Creative people live in constant self-doubt and drown in an imposter syndrome
- Art is for rich people to play with, poor people have more pressing matters
- Making art and being creative for a hobby is a waste of time, it’s shallow and selfish
- Writing good texts in a foreign language is too hard
- My creative expression might harm my job perspectives and affect other peoples’ opinions of me
These are the positive beliefs (affirmations) that I accepted to counter the negative beliefs:
- I don’t have to burden my creativity with money-making functions; there are a million ways to make money nowadays
- If I nurture my creator within, I will find the confidence I seek
- I am letting myself to create; this is just what I do
- My creativity heals myself and others
- I am multilingual, and I should be proud of that
- My creativity will open doors for me I didn’t know existed
No matter if you’re following this 12-week journey with the Artist’s Way book, I strongly encourage you to write out your own negative and positive beliefs. It is an incredibly empowering technique that requires a great deal of reflection. At the same time, it gives you amazing personalized tools to address your inner demons. My biggest revelation was that I didn’t consider creativity useful unless it was giving me some form of instant gratification, be it money or opportunities. Well, looks like I’m going to be learning how to enjoy my creativity for its own sake – draw just for the fun of it, write morning pages just to get my thoughts out on paper, sing and dance to my favorite tune just because I feel like it 🙂
There were other tasks as well – and my answers to them are too personal to be posted here. The one takeaway that I did want to share was this: people that I considered the most brutal when it came to my feelings were also the ones who gave the truest compliments that still lift me up. I’m not a fan of tough love, especially when it comes to those closest to me, but those people and there comments made me stronger. I might not like them too much, but I definitely have something to be grateful for.
On another note, the most fun task was to come with 5 alternative lives based on things I always wanted to do but never dared. It’s a funny and playful task them made me wonder if I could tap into those lives to make mine more fun right here and now.
So, here are my 5 alternative lives:
- Emo-pop-rock singer with a band (think Evanescence or PATD!)
- Experimental physicist or chemist with as many labs to destroy as it takes to create something that will change our life the way we know it 🙂
- Astronomy-related space agent specializing in alien communications
- Star Trek ship engineer, but only in far future – those gravity plates better be working, as well as food replicators and long-distance transporters
- Singer of a popular girls band with a prospect of a great solo career
Let’s have fun! What are the alternative lives that you would like to live? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!