This week I’ve been experiencing frustration and anger. I’m angry with myself for wasting time once again, avoiding the one thing that really fills me with joy. I don’t get it! I know I want to write, I know I have great stories to share, and then I turn around and procrastinate by watching another episode of Friends, or start researching something for a story and fall into that rabbit hole, continuing to go down with no way out. This gets me angry, and Julia Cameron talks about anger in a way that helps me get off my butt and move forward. What Julia says about anger:
Anger is fuel. We feel it and we want to do something. Hit someone, break something, throw a fit…but we are nice people, and what we do with our anger is stuff it, deny it, bury it, block it, hide it, lie about it, medicate it, ignore it. We do everything but listen to it.
How many times have you felt this way? How many times have you thought “I’m pissed off, but if I go do this instead I won’t worry about it, or think about it, or deal with it? I have my hand up like Hermione Granger knowing the answer to Professors Snapes question.
Anger is meant to be listened to. Anger is a voice, a shout a plea, a demand. Anger is meant to be respected. Why? Because anger is a map. Anger shows us what our boundaries are. Anger shows us where we want to go. It lets us see where we’ve been and lets us know when we haven’t like it. Anger points the way, not just the finger. In the recovery of a blocked artist, anger is a sign of health. Anger is meant to be acted upon. It is not meant to be acted out. Anger points direction. We are meant to use anger as a fuel to take the action we need to move where our anger points us. With a little thought, we can usually translate the message that our anger is sending us.
When I first started my morning pages, anger showed me the way to a more joyful life even though I was scared as hell to leave the comfortable, complacent life I was living, or more like going through a motion like some zombie looking for its next victim. Anger showed me that I didn’t have to stay in a job that I “thought” I needed or “thought” I really loved. Anger showed me that I needed to leave a job to find my true self and once I took the leap of faith, everything else fell into place. I was able to use my anger and turn it into love for myself. Now, I need to sit and listen to what anger is trying to tell me this time. But I have this funny feeling it’s the same message as before. I hear Julia’s words once again about anger of getting on with my writing:
“I can’t believe it! I had this idea for a play three years ago, and she’s gone and written it.” (This anger says: stop procrastinating. Ideas don’t get opening nights. Finished play do. Start writing.) When we feel anger, we are often very angry that we feel anger. Damn anger! It tells us we can’t get away with our old life any longer. It tells us that old life is dying. It tells us we are being reborn, and birthing hurts. The hurt makes us angry…Anger is a tool, not a master. Anger is meant to be tapped into and drawn upon. Used properly, anger is use-full.
There have been so many times when I was younger and I had an idea for a TV show, or an episode for a TV show, a movie or a song. Then weeks later I’d watch that very episode, watch a trailer for a movie, or hear a song that was the exact idea that I had. Why didn’t I write it down? Why didn’t I do something about it? I’d become so angry and feel drained, sad, I knew something wasn’t right. When I read the Artist’s way and anger, a light bulb went on, a big bright light bulb and my hand smacked my forehead “Hello!” and I used that anger to write. I wasn’t going to let anyone write my stories any longer!
Sloth, apathy, and despair are the enemy. Anger is not. Anger is our friend. Not a nice friend. Not a gentle friend. But a very, very loyal friend. It will always tells us when we have been betrayed. It will always tell us when we have betrayed ourselves. It will always tell us that it is time to act in our own best interests.
My anger for procrastinating is telling me to act quickly or my story will be told by someone else. If I don’t finish the story someone else will, so hurry the hell up! Is what I hear my anger telling me, no longer a whisper, but a firm voice that I can not ignore, I do not want to ignore, I want to tell my stories and I’m the only one who can finish them, so hurry up and getting writing! Through this journey of writing, I am acting for my own best interests.
Until next time, keeping on typing…