We continue working with Week 5 of The Artist’s Way in which Julia talks about the Virtue Trap and how many of us have made a virtue out of deprivation. We take on the long-suffering artist persona and in the process, sabotage ourselves. Instead of giving ourselves the creative solitude we need – that our inner artist needs – we try to “fit in” our creative work when we have time.
Juliet quotes the following from Toni Morrison:
We are traditionally rather proud of ourselves for having slipped creative work in there between the domestic chores and obligations. I’m not sure we deserve such big A-pluses for that.
But refusing to give ourselves this much-needed quiet and/or creative time, we deprive our artist of what it needs – regular time for creative solitude, time that Julia refers to as period of recharging. Without it, our inner artist becomes depleted.
So how do we fall into this Virtue Trap? By denying this alone time for ourself because we feel that doing so would make us appear selfish. How can I take time away from my family and friends? What kind of person would I be if I slink off to my room every day to be alone?
Naturally, we all strive to be good to be nice, to be unselfish. But to deny ourselves this necessary time is self-destructive. That is to say, we are self-destructive to our true nature. Fearing to appear selfish and/or irresponsible, we lose our true self. While it certainly is important to be responsible, we can go overboard with this responsibility. Nobody benefits when we deny our true self or repeatedly deny our artistic/creative side. We also have to be responsible to our inner artist – to give it the necessary creative time it needs.
This theme can also pertain to our Tarot work as well. Many of us feel guilty for setting aside alone time to work with and/or study the cards. We don’t want to take time away from our family or friends, even though we have an intense inner desire to continue with our Tarot studies. Deep down, it’d important to us. We might even feel that it’s a part of us, a part that we often deny or shove aside.
So ask yourself: does your life serve you or only others?
Tarot Task Shuffle your deck and lay out 5 cards, asking the following questions:
- What am I avoiding by denying my inner artist?
- How do I blame others for me staying in this rut?
- How is fear of appearing irresponsible affecting my willingness to nurture my artist?
- How do I break out of this rut?
- First step I need to take
Artist’s Way Task: Forbidden Joys
List 10 things you love a would love to do but don’t allow yourself to do. Julia uses the following as an example:
- Go dancing
- Carry a sketchbook
- Buy new cowboy boots
- Streak your hair blond
- Go on vacation
- Take flying lessons
- Move to a bigger place
- Direct a play
- Take a life drawing class
Julia states that very often, the act of writing out our list of forbidden joys helps to break down those internal barriers to doing them. Once you’ve created your list, post it somewhere where you can see it.
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