Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Beast

Back to a year ago:
            The Morning Pages had been doing their job. They cleared my brain and kept it swept clean.  I had thrown open the curtains and let in the sunshine. Soon I realized that my “place” wasn’t as clean or safe as I had thought. There was a sour thing living in my subconscious and until then I wasn’t even aware she existed.  The morning pages were keeping my “space” clean, but deep in the corners, a destructive Beast was lurking.  She had been fed for years by crummy criticisms and damaging doubt.  Unbeknownst to me, she had gnawed at my productivity and pooped on my selfesteem.  Her protests were beginning to drown out the barely perceptible singing of my Muse. Something had to be done. I needed to stay this Beast.  No wonder my Muse had been in hiding.
            Long long ago I had lured the Beast in with crumbs of, “Can’t I just have clear skin?” or tidbits of, “Why do I have red hair?” Over the years she grew fat munching mantras of, “I’ll never be a good artist with handwriting as horrible as mine.”   Over time I fed her choice meals too. Like, “I suck,” or “I’ll never get published,” or one of her favorite banquets, “I wish my art looked like blankity blank.”
            But now she was being deprived. I had been getting rid of the junk thoughts with my Morning Pages and the Beast had begun to starve. She was coming out of the shadows and wanting to be fed. 
            Old habits die very hard. I needed to be proactive.  So I turned to the book, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.  In it he writes about artists who think of themselves as either professional or amateur. Clearly keeping a destructive beast that feeds off my negative thoughts was an amature move.  I had been feeding her daily and without limit.  Words, never spoken, but often repeated got me into this pickle so words were going to get me out. I began and ended each day’s writing with “I Am A Pro.”  Over and over I fought off any subconscious mutterings with this saying. These words became my sword and shield.   The Beast grew in her protestations, but I had many more positive words to write and recite and begin to believe. Daily I served up inspired indulgences to my Muse.  Over the year the whining and tantrums have quieted.
            The Beast isn’t yet gone, but I will keep her at bay and allow my Muse a safe place to play. And I am the happiest I've ever been in my art making. 

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