Last week, one of my Creative Ignition Circle members (or as I like to call them, Igniters) posted in our secret Facebook group that she hadn’t achieved one of the goals she’d set for herself for the week. She was feeling like a loser, beating herself up for falling off the wagon, and wondering if she should even come to the weekly call that night.
“You’d better come to the call!” I wrote in response (I even threatened to send my henchmen across the country to knock down her door if she didn’t!), and pointed her to last week’s video blog, which just happened to be about falling off the wagon. (Talk about timing, eh?)
Thank goodness she did call in, because the changes she made as a result of that evening’s 15-minute “hot-seat” were huge.
Instead of wallowing in “I suck,” she used her “falling off the wagon” experience to recommit to what she really wanted. Instead of letting her beat herself up, I pulled the proverbial whip from her hand and encouraged her to pick herself up and…
It’s a matter of perspective. Instead of berating yourself for what you did wrong, ask: What do I want to do differently? How am I going to make things better moving ahead?
Beating yourself up is a colossal waste of time and energy. Correcting forward is a way to transform that “failure” into a future success.
That, alone, is a great lesson in the power of persevering, despite feeling like you’ve “blown it.” My Igniter is certainly not the first person to have experienced the despairing feeling of falling off the wagon – it’s happened to me more times than I can count, and I’ll wager it’s happened to you too.
Here’s the most interesting part, though:
This particular Igniter was beating herself up for not managing to make it to an event she’d planned to attend, and yet, she had managed to spend 15 minutes at her creative thing almost every single day since our last call.
Somehow, the fact that she’d missed the one event completely overshadowed in her own mind the enormous achievement of sticking with her daily commitment for a whole week!
It’s all too easy to notice where you’re falling down, and utterly disregard where you’re making progress, where you’re succeeding, where you’re doing well.
I’m no stranger to this trap. Just today I was meeting with Susan, my life coach, feeling badly about myself because, although I’ve been creating every day, this past week I had two music & comedy gigs coming up and was focused more on music and writing than on visual art, so I didn’t manage to paint every single day.
The extra challenge of the Bliss-Diverse
My internal conversation went something like this:
Me 2: Hey, give yourself a break! You’re still managing to produce 5 new little ArtSpark artworks every week. Does it matter what your art-making schedule is? Isn’t the important thing that you’re doing it, and keeping your toe in the water of your creative stream?
Me 3: Not to mention the fact that you always advise other people to find the working/playing method that works for them. 15 Minutes a Day is your suggestion as a way to get started, an invitation to try – that’s all. It was never meant as a prescription, or a formula! Everyone is going to have a different ideal
working play schedule, and that’s how it should be.
In today’s meeting, Susan pulled the proverbial whip out of my hand, just as I had done with my Igniter, and asked “What would you say to a client who called you out on not doing your ArtSpark art every day?”
That’s when Me #4 jumped in:
Me 4: Um, excuse me, have you noticed that you are still playing in the Creative Sandbox every day, and for much more than 15 minutes? You may not be playing with paint and paper, but you’re still playing, my dear! Rotating your focus from passion to passion comes with the territory for Bliss-Diverse folks such as yourself. Scanners, Multi-Passionates, Renaissance Souls, Passion-Pluralites are always going to be pulled in different directions, and as long as you’re creating, as long as you’re feeding that inner creative spark, it doesn’t matter which particular Bliss you’re focused on.
Which is pretty much what I would say to the imaginary client who questioned me on my “inconsistent”
work play habits.
It’s not how you do it, it’s THAT you do it
The thing I’m most pleased with about the life I’ve created is that, if I take my Passion-Plurality into consideration, my
work play habits are, in fact, more consistent than they’ve ever been.
For some people, getting into their
work play space at the same time every day and working for a set amount of time is the most effective way for them to battle Resistance (as Steven Pressfield refers to it in The War of Art) and get creating.
For others, three full days a week in the studio will be the key.
For others, it will be a different formula altogether.
In the same way, some creatives are happy focusing on one Bliss – and only one Bliss – for years and years, or even for a lifetime.
Others of us are compelled by a multitude of Blisses.
I’m a firm believer in the importance of some kind of regularity to your practice – some way to keep your toe always in the creative stream.
But exactly what that ideal practice will look like depends entirely on you.
As long as you’re not justifying a “practice” that actually keeps you stuck in Resistance and avoiding doing your creative thing, the “right” practice is the one that works for you, period.
Tell me, what is your ideal creative practice? Are you doing it? If not, when will you start?
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