artist's way reflections: week two

September 12, 2008 | 1 Comment

I admire, and crave, the freedom my children have when it comes to expressing themselves. My oldest daughter doesn’t need to be called an artist to color, or a ballerina to dance. My younger daughter doesn’t need to be called a soloist to sing, or a comedian to crack a joke. Creatively expressing themselves is just a part of who they are.

Something happens as we grow older and we lose that innocence. To give myself the label of a designer or a writer is to invite my skeptic to speak. To name myself as an artist of any kind means that I have some kind of minimum standard I have to meet to qualify for that title. But I am the one that defines that minimum standard, and I usually place that standard just a notch or two above where I am.

So this week, I’ve been learning to tell that internal skeptic to shut up. If I want to say that I am a designer, then yes I am. If I want to say that I am a writer, then yes I am. If I want to say that I am a ballerina…well, I’m not going to go that far.

A few thoughts that have stuck with me from this week’s reading:

  • To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. — Robert Louis Stevenson (pg. 43)
  • You will discover the joy of practicing your creativity. The process, not the product, will become your focus. (pg. 44)
  • Perhaps the greatest barrier for any of us as we look for an expanded life is our own deeply held skepticism. This might be called the secret doubt. (pg. 49)
  • we need to gently set aside our sketpicism — for later use, if we need it — and when a weird idea or coincidence whizzes by, we gently nudge the door a little further open. (pg. 51)

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