Sunday, January 14, 2007

This Inner Artist Thing

I'm taking Barbara Samuel's new class called The Care and Feeding of Girls in the Basement. It is designed to "help inspire and encourage you, to help you learn (or remember) how to nurture your creative spirit. It’s a chance to renew your joy, tap into the original delight you once felt for writing, and start the year with a powerful commitment to yourself and your writing."

Quite frankly, it's depressing the hell out of me.


I'm having a hard time keeping all the girls in the class straight, for starters. Of course, that's probably a mindfulness problem. (Mindfulness is something we're supposed to work on every day as part of the class. I fail this miserably, as I usually remember to be mindful as I turn out the light after working all day, trying to write, taking care of my husband and 4 dogs, and in general doing all those nagging things you have to do as a grown-up, like laundry and dishes. So, of course, I just go to sleep, mindful that I failed at mindfulness for the day.) Perhaps, if I printed out the emails and kept them together I could "get to know" everyone better. However, that would mean one more writing notebook to add the box currently ready for me to move. Oh, and it's been ready since Dec. 22. Oh, and no one seems to know when the f*&%ing renovations will be finished. So... no new notebook.

Second, everyone seems to be the really creative type. ("Aren't you a writer?" you say. "Aren't you a creative type?") Well, yes I am, but I've never given much thought to sacred spaces and creativity alters and artist dates and muse personification and being the wild woman and wolves and such. I feel like I can't really set up the sacred space because mine is waiting for paint and lighting and a f*&%ing bathroom to be installed, among other things. So, I have yet another box where I'm collecting these things so I can move them and then set them up. However, I don't have a place to put them that's mine. Right now, it's all common space. I can't tell if they work because I can't set them up.

I think my biggest problem is that I truly did ignore the creative side of me for a long, long time. I ignored my need to just be. I was too caught up in achieving and in proving that I not only could do anything to which I set my mind, but that I could do it better and more perfectly than anyone else.

I've had the discussion with my mom recently that part of my intensity comes from the constant praise I received for achieving. There were very few "I love you because you're you's". There were alot of your smart, your at the top of your class, your really good at this or that, and we value you for those things. Being the "good girl" and the "people pleaser" that I am, I worked damned hard to always be smart, top of the class, really good, etc. Of course, mom says no way, she loved me just because. However, I think when you hear praise for THINGS all the time, you start to associate your self worth with accomplishment. And in my case -- perfect accomplishment. It wasn't enough to just be me with hopes and dreams and flaws and indecision and quirkiness.

So... I drove myself to a point where I wasn't sure at all where I was going.

Now, for about a year, I've been on a path to rediscover my creativity. I felt great about it until this class. Everyone is witty and enlightened and far more clever than me. I guess the hardest thing is that I see how analytical I am compared to everyone else's intuitive nature. The women in the class are able to look inside themselves so much better than I am. They can open up their soul windows and see. When I open mine, I wince and then think how can I improve, accomplish and succeed. Those old drives are like barnacles on a boat. I'm just going to have to dive down and scrape them off.

Diving down is the hard part, but I'm just going to keep working on it. This class isn't a competition. It's a self discovery. I think somewhere down deep is a waify little spirit that needs exercise and some healthy love (I almost wrote praise...yikes...see how hard this is) and some serious coaxing. I want to be with that artist inside me, to feel at home with her and her needs, but I haven't worked out just how yet.

I guess, I just keep looking for her. It isn't any wonder why the following has ALWAYS been my favorite song:

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
I believe in the kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
Well, yes, I'm still running

U2, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For