I made it! I completed all twelve weeks of the Artist’s Way! This accomplishment means the world to me. I have evolved as an artist and as a person in ways I never expected.
Week twelve’s chapter is entitled “Recovering a Sense of Faith”. The faith Cameron is talking about is not faith in an external deity or another person. She is referring to faith in one’s own inner guidance. The creative process requires that we have so much faith in our connection to the creative force within, that we do all the difficult things an artist must do.
We withstand criticism. We resist other people’s vision of what we should do and stay true to our own creative voices. We overcome our own fears, doubts, and insecurities, and muster the courage to present the world with something beautiful. We adjust to financial uncertainties and the stress associated with them. We have all the challenges of any entrepreneur, but are saddled with the additional baggage of the “starving artist” label. Staying the course and refusing to bow to external pressure requires strong faith and unshakable commitment.
The good news is that we live in a friendly universe that supports creativity. To be more specific, momentum is always generated when innovation and creativity are combined with affirmative and definite action. As Cameron puts it: “It is the inner commitment to be true to ourselves and follow our dreams that triggers the support of the universe” (Cameron, 2002, p. 194). When we are clear about what we want and why we are here on the planet, synchronous events and supportive individuals spontaneously appear to help us. This is neither magic nor superstition, it is positive energy begetting positive energy. We get what we expect to get and we notice that which we are interested in. When our thoughts and actions are in alignment with our own highest good and with the collective good, our success is assured. It may not look like what we originally thought it would, but it will be a pure and un-mixed blessing.
What I learned this week is that praise and criticism are the same. They are invitations to engage the lower-level thoughts of the Ego. The Ego, as understood in spiritual terms, is the animal-like survival instinct that served us well during our evolution and still serve us in emergency situations. However, the Ego distorts reality and turns every waking moment into a battle for its survival. When someone else receives an accolade we thought we deserved and we hate them for it, when we go out of our way to “prove our worth” to someone who has rejected us, when we strut around when we are praised and lie in bed all day when we are criticized, we are being distracted and damaged by the Ego.
My goal, however, is to create art for its own sake. I want it to make people happy. I love it when people think that it is good. But I also love my art when it is ignored and when people think that it is not good. Whenever I create something, I know I am showing respect to the creative force within me. I am developing the skills and discipline necessary to stumble upon genius. Not every piece will resonate with everyone. The Art Establishment may or may not ever embrace me.
Nevertheless, these past twelve weeks have taught me that I am an Artist. Every day that I wake up and continue to do what I do, I prove that to myself. May we all identify our callings and remain faithful to them. Ultimately, the best advice we ever receive comes from our Higher Self. May we all become quiet enough inside, on a daily basis, to hear its still small voice.
Now, go follow your bliss…
Cameron, J. (2002). The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity. Penguin Putnam, Inc.: New York.