This section of Elizabeth Gilbert's book is encouraging you to change your perspective. To paraphrase my interpretation of it is: for trust you need love-reciprocal love. I had never thought of creativity loving me too-I love and admire it, but had never thought of it reciprocating. So, yes, I do believe creativity loves me in return. Maybe if there is no love in return then it seems like it is harder, more tormented, a feeling that you don't belong. One of my favourite things that Elizabeth mentions about this is that to believe that your work loves you in return means that you are in conversation with it and that you are co-creating with it-there is an exchange of love, and a shift of how we perceive ourselves in this world.
Creating has done exactly that for me. Creating helps me to process what is going on in my life and I have been privileged enough to see it do the same for others. There is this idea of the tormented artist, but why do we feel that an artist must always be tormented, or struggle to produce meaningful works. One of my biggest blocks is that maybe I can not produce good work or help people with their struggles because I have not experienced it and why would they come to me. This is a perspective I still struggle with-but more and more I am learning that it is irrelevant and people will come to me when they are ready or if they like what I have to offer. It is not up to me. A quote from Elizabeth Gilbert that I love in regards to her own work is "my desire to engage with my creativity as intimately and as freely as possible is the strongest personal incentive to fight back against pain"-I love this. Trust=love; trust in love rather than in suffering.
I need to trust that inspiration is always there, even if I don't feel it. "Inspiration is from another world and speaks a different language. It is there and trying. right beside you" but you need to show up. Trust that what shows up is what needed to show up. It doesn't matter, as long as you are moving. There are days that I just don't feel like it, and I am usually miserable about it, but just sit down-scribble if you need to, splash some colour, dance wildly, or write-whatever you need, don't judge it. Be curious and see failures as interesting.
Learn to navigate failure-it will happen. try not to take yourself to seriously. Elizabeth talks about failure as ego. We need ego, but don't let it drive. We are not just ego but also soul. Our ego is hurt by failure, our soul not so much. Ego is driven by praise and fear and is the voice that tells us we are not good enough, on the other hand, Elizabeth says that the soul desires WONDER! Don't let 'failure' slow you down, pick your self up-forgive yourself, let it go. If you need to switch to a different project for a while so be it. Failure has function-"it asks us if we really want to do it".
Trust is putting your work out into the world-regardless of what you think, especially when there is no guarantee of success. This is something I decided to start five years ago-more for myself-and while there may be weeks where it is more sporadic I have done this for the last five years. I still struggle with "if the work is good enough to show" but I am learning that it doesn't matter. We are all at different stages in our journey, so there is no use in comparing, but just putting it out there for myself and who ever else may enjoy my story or even relate to it.
So trust that if you love your work it loves you back, trust that it is okay to fail, trust that you are where you need to be, trust that inspiration is looking for you, trust that someone needs your work in the world.
Kieran's favourite summer sport...looks like it is baseball. He is loving the glove-won't even take it off while sleeping.
He got his hair cut this week too, and is sporting his new "Hockey Hair".
I am looking forward to spending the summer with my little man-although I know he is going to have way more energy than me hahaha.
Three years ago I finished Kieran's mural, while he was still snug in my belly-I could never have imagined that three years later we would be sharing a Vanilla Milkshake.
I know, I know, it was father's day weekend and I should be writing a Daddy post-but I don't get my picture with you very often...does it count that it was Daddy's milkshake we stole?
Let's see what else happened this week...oh yeah...Kieran was jumping on our bed abd fell-seemed to be in incredible pain-even an hour later if we went to touch his arm he would scream-so we took him to the hospital-the triage nurse-looked him over, moved his hand all around, and not a peep out of him...I touch it he screams-so instead of waiting in the Hospital we decide to go home and check again in the morning-all the way to the car he screamed-and I am more convinced he was screaming because he didn't get to ride in an ambulance, which he was calling for in between sobs. Once at home and into bed beside me, he woke up every couple hours screaming oww and holding his hand and crying for ice...In the morning is Aunt Megan came over to watch him for a little bit-when Peter got home he was going to bring back into the hospital, but Kieran was running, playing, falling like nothing ever happened....hmmmm-little monkey.
For this chapter was revelation that my art/creativity does not need to save the world, and does not need to support me. Once I released these two ideas my art/creativity has begun to help me financially and people are telling me their experiences in creativity and how it has helped them! I had been putting to much pressure on creativity on those two thoughts, I was feeling frustrated and down, and that I was not good enough. My confidence is slowly growing.
This section of the book was also a reminder and reaffirming the emphasis on creativity as a process and not a focus on the end result. Perfection is a killer of creativity. When we create for perfection or the end result we are likely creating for someone else (known or unknown), that acceptance in creating something beautiful-but that is not what it is about. Creativity is allowed to be ugly.
The best way to learn is through imitating. Elizabeth Gilbert writes we imitate before we innovate! I also beat myself up about this all the time too-what is my style, when will I find it, I am just looking like everyone else's work-that inner critic is a loud one at times.
It also made me think about my favourite Sh...crap sandwich. That thing "you are passionate enough about to endure the most disgusting aspects of the work"(-Mark Manson). And for me that is creating and sharing.
I love how Elizabeth says she didn't want to burden her work with the responsibility of paying for her life.
When it comes to not having enough time she points out that no artist feels they have enough time, and that everything feels as if it is created in stolen moments. If you love it and it matters to you enough you will find the time and for me that could be in 5-10 minute chunks while dinner cooks.
The emphasis on the process is so huge to me. That paintings (or any creation) are souvenirs of journeys of transformative time or just forgetting yourself for a moment. I still have a paintng I was working on when I got the phone call my grandfather had died, there are tears in that painting now, even though it ended up being a happy painting of a colourful daisy-it always brings me back to that moment.
So persistence-don't give up, don't let perfection stop or scare you, it's ok to imitate, don't worry about what others will think of your work-because most likely they are just thinking of themselves, take a wild leap, and just put it out there with out any expectations, use it as a way to process your story.
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Jennifer Russell was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada.She is an Intentional artist who focuses on creating meaning full connections to her work for herself and others. Nothing is more satisfying to her than hearing that her work has inspired someone in their own life.