In the Mirror - Self Portrait, Oil on canvas (c)1977 DST
I found some time to read Week 6- Discovering a Sense of Boundaries in Walking in This World, even with the whole Easter/Lent thing. Only one day did I completely forget the morning pages. I know this course advocates taking a daily walk, but I'm not doing it. It's not winter any more, the weather has become beautiful, and I still haven't walked. I'll get there, eventually. But I feel the need to keep studying so that's what I continue to do.
This chapter talked about the practice of containment, finding the right "mirror", and keeping creativity safe. Not easy. Keep ideas to yourself instead of talking to just anyone about the work we're doing. Talking to the wrong people uses our creative power and it may not be appropriate to discuss work with just anyone. Our ideas are valuable and if you show a project too early or hear the wrong comments, we may ditch it. Art needs a place to live, a safe container, a roof and walls for privacy, so shut the F up about what you're working on. Basically, that was the idea.
Besides containing our ideas, we need to protect those fledgling ideas from the outside world. People, activities, to-do lists, can be overstimulating and the result is stress from sensory overload. Bells were going off while I read this.
How many times do you get a chance to read in print what was happening to you in real life? Like I said in that previous post, Bingo! Again and again! We need to find a way to cope with the "ceaseless inflow and outflow of distractions, distress, attention and emotional involvement" of people, places, things. This is so true. There was way too much chaos and static in my environment and my head.
The chapter goes on to say that artists are generous people, but we can be susceptible to others' pain and need. We can try to pull away, but feel guilty and risk our "creative energy to ebb out of our life and into theirs"! Is this a Wow moment or what? "This creates exhaustion, irritation and rage." I could relate. Whether aware of it or not this shut down my own art working.
Setting boundaries is the focus. Contain and protect ideas and creative energy. Dump the bad stuff and the hangers on. Get a secretary to shield time and space like executives do. Well, I don't think I'm getting a secretary any time soon, although it sounds great. I've stepped away, but if I knew then what I know now I may have protected my sanity, my art and just said "Not now".