Writing Past the Internal Critic

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My studio window is open. It is a gorgeous day. Sun. Blue sky. Sweet warm air. My bamboo chimes are moving with the wind, sounding between the calls of robins and chickadees and songbirds I can’t identify but whose voices I love.

Perfect weather. Or maybe not. My internal writing weather, up until this moment, was all ice, frozen way below zero.

In other words, for the last two hours I have not been practising the art of creativity. I have been practising the art of procrastination, and doing it well.

As a direct result, I have renewed a studio rule for myself. First write the blog post.  Then, and only then, turn on the laptop and play in the email and the internet.

I already knew this. If I turn on my laptop before I write, I am lost. My email inbox and the internet in general are a wonderful and devious distraction. Even as I play in them, I know what I am doing—putting off the writing.

Why? I love writing. Totally true. I am not a writer who prefers having written. I am a writer who prefers being in the action of writing, being in the energy and process of creating. Having written is fun and satisfying, but being in writing is where the whole of me sings. I am in love when I am writing. Joyful. Playing. It is work, yes, my work, and it fills me when I am in the midst of it. Work that is play.

So why the two hours of mucking around on my laptop and putting off the writing?

Most of what I have been doing the last four weeks has been needed and necessary, but most of it has not been writing. I am out of practice is the simplest way of saying it. When I get out of practice, my internal critic attempts a coup to stop me ever writing (or creating) again.

She is sneaky, my internal critic. This morning she got me to turn on my laptop to do some essential research. Ha ha. There should be quotation marks around the word essential.

She is a know-it-all, opinionated and bossy. She used to be able to stop me in my tracks, keep me away from the page and from the easel. Now she only manages to occasionally slow me down for a couple of hours. My love of creating is stronger than any fears she can throw in my way.

Over the years of creating, I have found ways to distract and weaken my internal critic. Here are two that work well for me.

Continue reading “Writing Past the Internal Critic”

Loving My Neighbour

Everything I Kow About the Human Heart3 detail

This is all I want to say today.  Love your neighbour.

We have one planet to live on.  Everything we do affects all of us.  Our emotions are contagious.  I get angry and afraid, and the person next to me begins to feel angry and afraid too.   And then we make decisions that hurt everyone.

I would rather feel love than anger or fear.  Wouldn’t you?

We all have a choice.

I choose love today.

Random Thoughts About Good Things

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Drawing For Anna (detail)

 

Thursday, early afternoon. Warm sun and blue sky and a cool wind. Outside the window, the neighbour’s fir tree shifts, shakes, bends as each gust of wind hits it then moves on.

I am in my studio in Victoria, on the couch, sketchbook on my legs, writing. Jazz music playing. KPLU Seattle. I love this radio station. Coffee at my side. Decaf latte, to be precise.

So many good things in this life. I’ve easily named twelve in the previous two paragraphs.

I count the blessings in my life. Noticing keeps me present and grounded in my senses, my body, my heart. The best place for a writer and artist to be. Noticing is my direct connection to the world.

My drawing and writing come from noticing. Come from love and joy, from curiosity and questions. Some say that art comes from pain, the heart needing to express things that have no words. I know for sure my work comes from joy and love.

It was love that led me through the door of the art school every day for three years. It is love that leads me to the page and my blog each week. There may be pain expressed in what I create, but it is love and connection and the joy of creating that sparks me into action. All good things. All blessings.

So what blessings have I counted here today?

A day to be alive on this Earth. Warm sun. Blue sky. Cool wind.

The fir tree bending, shaking, shifting.

My studio and it’s old, comfortable, blue-and-white striped couch (an Ikea special).

Sketch book, the latest in a 20-year series.

Writing.

Jazz on KPLU (that’s 2 things).

Coffee (mmmmmm).

My body and senses and heart.

Connecting with this world.

Pain, joy, love (use everything).

Curiosity and questions.

Drawing.

Art school.

Words and my blog.

Creating, connection (again), action.

Sparks.

Yes, let me count my blessings. Gifts from the world. Thank you, World. I love you too.

Surrender

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Let Me Mend Your Broken Heart

I was not planning on writing my blog post today. I feel tired and uninspired. I had a stomach flu two and a half weeks ago, and some of it is still hanging on. Too much of it hanging on today. So the plan is lay on the couch and sleep.

Then I remember Natalie Goldberg saying, start where you are.

Start where I am. I struggle with being sick. I fight it. I force my body to be okay, even if it isn’t. Do things even if I don’t feel like it. Be strong, I think, get things done, whatever ‘things’ happen to be.

Not this time.

This time, when I got sick two and a half weeks ago, I surrendered to how I felt. I listened to my body and what it needed. Sleep mostly. Naps and kindness and going slow. Letting myself drift.

Surrender has never been in my vocabulary. Surrender, to me, meant giving up. Note the past tense there. My understanding of surrender is changing.

Surrender now feels like a kind of trust, of being here right now and listening, sensing what is happening. Paying attention, and then moving with the flow rather than against it. There is relief in this, and ease. Letting go of what I think should be happening and what I think I should be doing.

Letting go. Letting go is not something I have been good at either. Life, for me, has been mostly about control. Being safe. No unwanted surprises. I can feel, even as I write about surrendering to my body and what it needs, a part of me really wants control. Pushing, shoving, struggling, making something happen. Making ‘not sick’ happen.

No. Not doing that today.

Today, it is Let Go. Be exactly where I am in this moment. Feel exactly what I feel. Trust and surrender myself to Source, God, the One Energy, the Universe. Let things be as they are. Let myself be cared for, loved, partnered by this moment.

Let the words come through me and be written slowly on the page, on the laptop. And done.

And now, let myself rest, sleep, let go, trust, surrender.

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In this post:

Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones, Shambhala, 2nd Edition, 2005. Try out pages 110 and 111 ‘Write Anyplace’.  http://nataliegoldberg.com/

Creating in the key of love

 

Cat Fink--'Blackbird Dance (what is and what could be)'
Blackbird Dance (what is and what could be)

Know.  Trust.  Choose.  Create.  This is what I do every day to consciously create my life.  Small things, like a conveniently placed parking spot or a table in my favourite cafe.  Big things, like an artist residency.

Some of my creations take time, like the artist residency.  I keep watch for the things that support it, and act on them.  I am building my creation, and the path to it.  Each action fitted to the next.

I have a partner in this.  I call my partner Source, or God, or the Great Creator, or the One Energy, or the Universe.  Source loves creating.  Source is creation energy, whole and complete.

What I am doing takes love, lots of it.  It takes attention, wide and inviting, open and allowing.  The more I do this, the more I love, the better I get at creating my life, and the better my life gets.

Here is what Dee Wallace says in her weekly e-blast, January 26, 2015, about what gets in the way of creating my life:

‘Whenever you feel out of sorts or imbalanced, ask yourself these four guiding questions:

-Am I in love with myself in this moment?

-Am I loving others in this moment?

-Am I here, in the present, or worrying about the future or the past?

-Am I remembering I am my own creator? Or have I given my creation away to something or someone else in this moment?’

Dee is talking about paying attention and making conscious choices.  I choose I love myself and others, unconditionally.  I choose I am here always in this present moment.  I choose I create my life.  I don’t just choose these things.  I feel them, all the way through me.

Creation, for me, is like music.  When the singers and the musical instruments are in tune and in time with each other, the music flows through me, clear, sweet, warm to my senses, and the song is created.

When one or more of the singers and instruments sound the wrong note, are off-key or off-timing, the music stutters and sours and jars me.  The song and the flow of the song are marred or stopped.  The song is created differently than it was intended, or stops being created altogether.

Creating my life moves exactly like creating music.  Harmony, timing, flow.  It is intention, attention, and the energy of love I am playing with.  It is Source as my partner, each of us in harmony with the other through love.

Know.  Trust.  Choose.  Create.  This is what I do.

Know.  Feel the earth under my feet and feel the breath in my body.  Let my thoughts slow until the feeling in my body takes the place of the words in my head.  Here.  This quiet place.  Feel the love I have for myself, open, full, unconditional.  Let it fill all the space that I am.  I am only and all Love.

Trust.  Let the love for myself spill beyond me, out into the world, the Universe around me.  Wide.  Accepting and allowing all.  Love.  Unconditional.

Choose.  Let my awareness be here now, chosen and grounded in this love and this moment, focused on the intention of my creation.  Feel my creation with all of my senses here in front of me, created out of love.

Create.  Feel surely and completely I am this unconditional love, I am the creator of my life and all in it.  My love, my attention and intention, my clear choosing, and my loving knowing, here and now.  This energy.  This music.  This song.  Love creates me.  I create love.  I choose this.

I choose love.

Know.  Trust.  Choose.  Create.  I choose this song.

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Mentioned in this post:

Dee Wallace.  https://iamdeewallace.com/.  Dee’s new book Getting Stuff: Everything is Possible is about creating through love.  A clear, detailed, easy read.  Get it, read it, and go create your life!

Thank you, big sister Dee, for inspiring this blog post.