Welcome to my series of articles about Julia Cameron’s book, Walking in This World. Week Nine is about Discovering a Sense of Resiliency. I post an article each Wednesday as I work my way through the book.
So what is resiliency? According to dictionary.com, resiliency is:
1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
Julia discusses the inner trials that artists face during their careers. Artists need to discover a sense of resiliency because there are many struggles that we will face. We need to be able to bounce back from these struggles. Six common struggles that most artists face are worry, fear, restlessness, insecurity, self-pity, and doubt. These are all struggles that I have faced at one time or another in my life, especially in my art career.
Julia gives the reader tasks to work through that apply to each of these six. She also gives encouraging words. You can tell that Julia writes from experience. She has been there, done that. The thing that hit me as I read was Julia’s insistence that when you go through one of these awful six there is hope.
Julia suggests that worrying is a sign of a great imagination, a sign of great creative energy. Wow! That is very encouraging. As artists we need to release the worries through writing in our morning pages and then focus the excess imagination on our creative projects.
Anyone fearful? Julia says, “Fear is positive and useful.” Really? According to Julia we need to look closely at our fear and determine what signal the fear is giving us. Maybe there is a change that needs to be made in our creative contacts, partners, medium, etc. Most of us try to push our fears aside and work past them. Julia suggests figuring out what action you can take in response to the fear.
Any restless artists out there? I imagine most of us have been there sometime in our life. You might be restless waiting for your next project to begin or restless living in a place where you feel claustrophobic. I’ve noticed that when people are restless they are like caged animals, pacing back and forth. It is not pleasant to be around someone like that. Julia states that “restlessness is a good omen”, that change is on its way. Good to know! Once again a positive attitude.
Any one insecure? Oh my goodness, I almost gave up a one woman show because I was required to give a lecture on the opening night. Yes, I was incredibly insecure. It was all about what if I am boring, or I use bad grammar, or I stutter! I thought, “Why would anyone want to hear a lecture about my art? There are so many other artists so much more talented than me.” That is classic insecurity.
So what do you do when you are hit with a streak of insecurity? Julia talks about grace, that we need to remember we are partnered with the greatest creator of all, God. I like this quote of Julia’s about the subject, “The minute we relinquish the notion that our creative dreams are centered in the ego, the minute we begin to see them as spiritual adventures, we allow the Great Creator to shape us as only it can and will.”
Ever have your own “pity party?” Feel sorry for yourself? Well, Julia says, “Self-pity is a stalling device. It is a temper tantrum, a self-inflicted drama that has little to do, ever, with the facts.” When you are stuck in self-pity, you are going to be blocked. Self-pity can knock you off your feet, throw you off track, derail your creative pursuit. Get the picture?
Self-pity is not good! So, what can you do when you see self-pity rear its ugly head? Take notice as to whether or not you are feeling under appreciated. That can be one of the catalysts. Also make sure you are well rested. Ask yourself what you can change or try? Maybe you just need to show yourself that you can do something you didn’t think you could. Practice self-appreciation.
The last struggle Julia talks about is doubt. Doubt seems to hit when we are alone. We get the feeling that we can’t do this or can’t do that. I remember the saying, “It’s always darkest right before the dawn.” Sometimes that is how it feels when you are doubting your creative path. Julia gives these suggestions when doubt attacks: Be self-loving. Call a friend. Do not self-medicate. Know that this too shall pass.
Next Week: Week Ten – Discovering a Sense of Camaraderie
My other articles about Walking in This World:
Week One – Discovering a Sense of Origin
Week Two – Discovering a Sense of Proportion
Week Three – Discovering a Sense of Perspective
Week Four – Discovering a Sense of Adventure
Week Five – Discovering a Sense of Personal Territory
Week Six – Discovering a Sense of Boundaries
Week Seven – Discovering a Sense of Momentum
Week Eight – Discovering a Sense of Discernment
Week Ten – Discovering a Sense of Camaraderie
Week Eleven – Discovering a Sense of Authenticity
Week Twelve – Discovering a Sense of Dignity