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Posts Tagged ‘Julia Cameron’

 

I know a lot of what I’ve been sharing on this blog lately have been quotes and excerpts from books that I’m reading which strongly resonate with me.  They’ve been hitting such strong chords and creating such shifts of consciousness, and often validation, that I am putting them out there as a sort of map/log of my Internal Journey.

The three excerpts below are also from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (who also wrote the Legend of Bagger Vance).  I finished this book in less than 24 hours and will bringing it with me on my trip to Arizona next week to read it again.  It contains similarities of ideas in Julia Cameron‘s The Artist’s Way, but perhaps with a more aggressive, poignant, and less delicate approach.  One of biggest changes in my consciousness regarding acting and art that has occurred during the past year+ is how I think about the work and what is of utmost importance to me in its approach.  The internal conflict that I’ve had with this change has been one of my biggest causes of Resistance.    This book is so in alignment with those changes, it’s as if the Angels above dropped this book directly into my hands and gave me a big “thumbs up, you’re actually right on the money.”  The Art of War then took this understanding of mine and with lifeblood, expanded it into something far greater than I was expecting.  Without getting too much into the exact details of my own personal internal evolution, I will just say that it has helped me to understand my own Resistance, why it is there, what it is doing, and what, without question, must be done about it.

 

 

So without further ado:

 

 

Resistance and Being a Star

Grandiose fantasies are a symptom or Resistance.  They’re the sign of an amateur.  The professional has learned that success, like happiness, come as a by-product of work.  The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.

 

 

For the Love of the Game

To clarify a point about professionalism:  The professional, though he accepts money, does his work out of love.  He has to love it.  Otherwise he wouldn’t devote his life to it of his own free will.

The professional has learned, however, that too much love can be a bad thing.  Too much love can make him choke.  The seeming detachment of the professional, the cold-blooded character to his demeanor, is a compensating device to keep him from loving the game so much that he freezes in action.  Playing for money, or adopting the attitude of one who plays for money, lowers the fever.

Remember what we said about fear, love, and Resistance.  The more you love your art/calling/enterprise, the more important its accomplishment is to the evolution of your soul, the more you will fear it and the more Resistance you will experience facing it.  The payoff of playing-the-game-for-money is not the money (which you may never see anyway, even after you turn pro).  The payoff is that playing the game for money produces the proper professional attitude.  It inculcates the lunch-pail mentality, the hard-core, hard-head, hard-hat state of mind that shows up for work despite rain or snow or dark of night and slugs it out day after day.

The writer is an infantryman.  He knows that progress is measured in yards of dirt extracted from the enemy one day, one hour, one minute at a time and paid for in blood.  The artist wears combat boots.  He looks in the mirror and sees GI Joe.  Remember, the Muse favors working stiffs.  She hates prima donnas.  To the gods the supreme sin is not rape or murder, but pride.  To think of yourself as a mercenary, a gun for hire, implants the proper humility.  It purges pride and preciousness.

Resistance loves pride and preciousness.  Resistance says, “Show me a writer who’s too good to take Job X or Assignment Y and I’ll show you a guy I can crack like a walnut.”

Technically, the professional takes money.  Technically, the pro plays for pay.  But in the end, he does it for love.

 

 

A Professional is Patient

Resistance outwits the amateur with the oldest trick in the book:  It uses his own enthusiasm against him.  Resistance gets us to plunge into a project with an overambitious and unrealistic timetable for its completion.  It knows we can’t sustain that level of intensity.  We will hit the wall.  We will crash.

The professional, on the other hand, understands delayed gratification.  He is the ant, not the grasshopper; the tortoise, not the hare.  Have you heard of the legend of Sylvester Stallone staying up three nights straight to churn out the screenplay for Rocky?  I don’t know, it may even be true.  But it’s the most pernicious species of myth to set before the awakening writer, because it seduces him into believing he can pull of the big score without the pain and without persistence. 

The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work.  He knows that any job, whether it’s a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much.  He accepts that.  He recognizes it as reality.

The professional steels himself at the start of a project, reminding himself it is the Iditarod, not the sixty-yard dash.  He conserves his energy.  He prepares his mind for the long haul.  He sustains himself with the knowledge that if he can just keep those huskies mushing, sooner or later the sled will pull in to the Nome.

 

 

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Six Word Stories

What is your 6 word story?
 
 
 

Fuse–inspiring band with HEART that I saw Saturday night at the Grisley Pear
 
 
 


Blue Valentine: Best movie I have seen since I don’t know when…honest, raw, real…a TRUTHFUL love story
 
 
 


Phillipe Petit: “Man On Wire” (see the entire documentary!)
 
 
 


The Artist’s Way

Life Changing 12 Week Creative Spiritual Journey
 
 
 


Natalie Goldberg’s, “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within”

“Writing Down The Bones”
 
 
 


“Black Swan”: Challenges ideas of “perfection”
 
 

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I‘ve been avoiding you.  Don’t take it personally.  I’ve been working very hard to avoid all creative outlets in any way possible.  Facebook.  Sleeping.  Eating.  Housework.  Perezhilton.com.  You name it.  Anything that could fill my time with anything other than what I really want to be doing.

I haven’t been nice to myself about it either.  Deeming myself a procrastinator, lazy, a facade.  And the longer it has carried on, the more frustrated I have grown.  Just ask my oh-so-patient husband on the receiving end.

I have been blessed with an incredible amount of inspiration as of late.  People, places, sights, from-the-Heart live music, conversations, movies.  One was “Black Swan,” which we saw last weekend and which addresses the idea of “perfection.” (Btw, I’ve also seen “Blue Valentine” and “The Fighter” within the past couple of weeks…both which are excellent, HOWEVER, if you see only one movie in the immediate future PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE  do yourself a favor and see “Blue Valentine”—it is so rare to see a movie that is so utterly honest and raw and the true true true expression of Love—this movie lit a fire in me and moved me beyond description).  It (“Black Swan”) got me thinking a lot about myself and how I use the excuse of perfection (perfect conditions, perfect knowledge, perfect preparedness, etc) to put off and off and off free creative expressions that my LJ (Little Jenn—totally stole that from Julia Cameron) longs for.  And then by “hap circumstance” (hahaha), last week I found myself agreeing (??—certainly not without resistance) to co-facilitate a 12 week undertaking of The Artist’s Way….when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but….oh you sneaky, sneaky little chapter one:  the shadow artist and creative blocks.  Yes, of course I’ve read this chapter several times before.  Yes, of course I’ve taken 1000 classes, gone on a zillion retreats, done all kinds of release release RELEASE DAMNIT! work in the past.  Did that make me any more aware as to why I found myself avoiding the very thing I love, my very reason for being, around what this entire move to NYC has been about?

Nope.

So, okay.  NOW I know.  In hindsight (20/20), it is so easy to see how and why this happened.  This move emerged from the Artist’s Way class I took last summer; the class that is about GENTLY recovering your artist.  And so what do I do with that class, but clearly hear the Voice that is within me and… I run with it.  Not teeny tiny little baby steps like Julia Cameron suggests, but huge, ginormous, giant leaps and bounds  to the moon and back.  So of COURSE there is the ego/logic brain of me that, even if on a subconscious level, is freaking the eff out.  What have you done with our safe, predictable Jenn?  “To hell with her!” Little Jenn proclaims, but the fight-or-flight, look-both-ways-before-crossing-the-street jenn (yes that lower case j is intentional) has been shaking her head vigorously, “oh HELL no.”

Prior to this revelation, I did realize I needed to get some Chi movement going in my life.  Activity breeds activity, and even though I didn’t understand that the procrastination was a block, I knew that if I could just get myself moving on SOMETHING, that would bleed out into every other creative aspect of my life.  So weeks ago, after “happening” (re: hahaha) upon a catalog, I signed up for a Creative Writing class through Gotham–which starts TODAY.  I know at the very least, it will highly benefit my acting process (during which I tend to do a lot of writing).  My gut tells me the benefits will spread out way beyond that intention.  When The Artist’s Way opportunity came along, I strongly considered dropping the class, thinking there was no way I could do both, especially with other projects I am inspired to do right now (oh, right– but am NOT doing!); but I quickly kicked that nonsense to the curb.  I have had FAR more on my plate in the past and gotten along juuuuust fine.

So here is what I am declaring: I give myself permission to take baby steps.  I give myself to take ridiculously gigantic steps.  I give myself permission to fall down, make a mess, cry, laugh, sing, scream.  Oh, and re: this blog—I give myself permission to NOT wait until the “perfect” time and inspiration have occurred.  Writing one sentence is fine.  One word.  One picture.  Whatever strikes me at that moment.  It doesn’t have to be about some big “aha” moment in my consciousness.  At the time it can seem like utter and total crap.  As long as it is me being Me.  That is my new definition of perfection.

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