We are all Children

We are all children. Throwing tantrums, getting our feelings hurt, feeling abused, depressed, pouting and shouting. Giggling at silly jokes, playing games, sneaking lollies, pretending to be grown ups.

19dillonHow you are treating your child? No, not your son or your daughter, but yourself. How are you treating the child inside you?

Julia Cameron, in The Artist’s Way, warns us of artistic child abuse. We must care for our artistic selves as we would care for a beloved child or grandchild. And don’t tell me you aren’t creative or artistic, we are ALL Creatives (made in God’s image, remember?), some of us are just blocked creatives or we haven’t yet found our artistic medium of joy.

I’m not asking you to become a painter tomorrow, I’m just asking you to pick up a paint brush. Maybe just shop for coloring books and crayons to start. Whatever you want to do, take a small step toward it. No one is demanding that you jump off the cliff into ArtLand, that’s just drama, and drama belongs on the stage. Maybe YOU belong on the stage!

You wouldn’t demand your child “Read,” and then expect her to begin reading immediately. 19shaneadamplaydoYou lead her gently through the beginning steps of reading. You make it fun, you make it easy to win small battles of accomplishment. You know how great the reward will be, but if you don’t break it down into baby steps and make it fun, your child only sees a great chore.

Have the same courtesy with yourself. Make it fun (“it” being whatever you are afraid to begin), take baby steps, treat yourself kindly and gently. But whatever you do, DO it.

And if you find yourself procrastinating, worrying, and filling your head with “what ifs”, then think of this:

“Creativity requires activity, and this is not good news to most of us. It makes us responsible, and we tend to hate that. You mean I have to do something in order to feel better?

“Yes. And most of us hate to do something when we can obsess about something else instead. . .This is our addiction to anxiety in lieu of action. Once you catch on to this, the jig is up. Watch yourself for a week and notice the way you will pick up an anxious thought, almost like a joint, to blow off—or at least delay—your next creative action.

“You’ve cleared a morning to write or paint but then you realize that the clothes are dirty. ‘I’ll just think about what I want to paint and fine-tune it while I fold the clothes,’ you tell yourself. What you really mean is, ‘Instead of painting anything, I will worry about it some more.’ Somehow, the laundry takes your whole morning.

“Most blocked creatives have an active addiction to anxiety. We prefer the low-grade pain and occasional heart-stopping panic attack to the drudgery of small and simple daily steps in the right direction.”

-Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, Week 8: Recovering a Sense of Strength

And care for your child.

P.S. The photographs are of my son Shane (17) and his friends Dylan (19) and Adam (20) playing with my granddaughter’s Hot Wheels and Playdough. They know how to have fun!

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~ by Kimberly Mason on February 19, 2009.

2 Responses to “We are all Children”

  1. you are right. thanks for sharing this, it’s been awhile since i read her book. we MUST be nice to ourselves because, unfortunately, we might be the only ones all day doing so. take care of yourself-

  2. I so needed to hear this. Now that both girls are in college, my husband is starting to talk about me going back to work –“use some of those skills you have, it will keep you grounded” — as if being a writer and photographer isn’t important, as if those aren’t skills, as if they don’t keep me grounded. Leah is right. We have to care for the artist child within because everyone else expects us to be grownups all the time.
    Sigh.

    He means well, I know he does. It’s just that he respects and understands my “grownup” skills. These artist things… they’re just… childish. Time to do something REAL.

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