This week I’ve been sick with a nasty cold, and I mean down right, kick me down to the curb kinda sick. I am just now feeling about 75% better, I can actually breath through both nostrils and I’m not coughing every other minute. Needless to say I haven’t been motivated to do much of anything and my writing was slipping away from me, moment by moment, day by day and a week went by and I knew I was in trouble if I didn’t write something. I was writing my morning pages which pointed out the fact that I wasn’t writing beyond my morning pages. I was writing how miserable I was about not writing, not realizing I was in fact writing. I was becoming my own worst enemy, as Julia Cameron would say I was my own poisonous playmate and crazymaker.
Creativity flourishes when we have a sense of safety and self acceptance…Toxic playmates can capsize our artist’s growth. Not surprisingly, the most poisonous playmates for us as recovering creatives are people whose creativity is still blocked. Our recovery threatens them. ~ The Artist’s Way.
My ego is blocked and it is threatened that it doesn’t have control over me as it once did. Slowly, I mean over the past five years the ego is slowly dissolving, the old behaviors are dying off, one by one. Then, out of the blue, the ego will show up with a grand gesture to shake me up, making thinking that all the work I’ve done to be right here and now, was for nothing, I wasted my time just to be in the same spot I was from the start. And it’s not that I’m a “blocked” artist, I’m more like a stuck artist, stuck in a rut of going at full speed and writing for weeks, months and then all of a sudden I stop myself in my own tracks like the Road Runner stopping short as Wile Coyote runs past off the edge of the mountain. What feels like a brief moment of a break turns into a week and then it takes me weeks to get back into the routine of writing at top speed. But then the ego kicks in and spouts off “you’re not going as fast as you did before, why don’t you just search the internet for this or that and then get back to the story, this story is boring move onto the next…” The self-attack still lingers around me and I am aware of that and that my friends is half the battle.
The essential element in nurturing our creativity lies in nurturing ourselves. Through self-nurturance we nurture our inner connection to the great creator. Through this connection our creativity will unfold. Paths will appear for us. We need to trust the great creator and move out in faith. Repeat: the great creator has gifted us with creativity. Our gift back is our use of it. Do not let friends squander your time. Be gentle but firm, and hang tough.The best thing you can do for your friends is to be an example through your own recovery. Do not let their fears and second thoughts derail you. ~ The Artist’s Way
I have worked on maintaining relationships with people who share the same philosophies in life. I have more writer friends because I want to surround myself with people who get it, who get the frustrations of being writer, the joys, the tears, the laughs, of those moments of bliss where we can sit down and just write. Not everyone gets that and that’s okay. When I seriously started on my writing journey I had to face some hard truths about some of the people I was associating with. Their toxic personalities and constant dramas were not good to be around; Julia Cameron describes craszymakers:
Crazymakers are those personalities that create storm centers. They are often charismatic, frequently charming, highly inventive, and powerfully persuasive. And, for a creative person in their vicinity, they are enormously destructive. You know the type: charismatic but out of control, long on problems and short on solutions. Crazymakers are the kind of people who can take over your whole life. To fixer-uppers, they are irresistible: so much to change, so many distractions…. If you are involved with a crazymaker, you probably know it already. ~ The Artist’s Way.
I had a few crazymakers in my life when I first read this chapter and I laughed out loud. I was desperately trying to get away from people who created their own drama. I had to learn that I was creating my own drama before I could stop letting crazymakers in my life. I wanted to help or more like fix my crazymaker friends and that was a clear sign that I was being distracted. I also “thought” I had to fix myself, but I realized that if I just did what made me happy I would be okay. When I started to write more and more I was happier, more at peace, calm, and things started to fall into place. For example: when I was laid off from my job I bumped into a friend who was starting an on-line magazine and needed someone to write profiles for the magazine. I instantly took the job and started to feel like my writing life, the creative life was truly taking over.
Just a few more notes about crazymakers that I wanted to share because when I read them the first time, I was like “I know so and so is like this and I need to get away from them.” and then I remembered when a friend of mine in university said “Sometimes you have to let go of someone to grow.” so I was seriously thinking about who I wanted to spend my time with.
Crazymakers expect special treatment: They suffer a wide panoply of mysterious ailments that require care and attention whenever you have a deadline looming – or anything else that draws your attention from the crazymaker’s demands. The crazymaker cooks her own special meal in a house full of hungry children – and does nothing to feed the kids.
Crazymakers discount your reality: No matter how important your deadline or how critical your work trajectory at the moment, crazymakers will violate your needs. Crazymakers are the people who call you at midnight or 6:00am saying, “I know you asked me not to call you at this time, but…”
Crazymakers triangulate those they deal with: Because crazymakers thrive on energy (your energy), they set people against one another in order to maintain their own power position dead center.
Crazymakers are expert blamers: Nothing that goes wrong is ever their fault, and to hear them tell it, the fault is usually yours.
Crazymakers hate schedules – except their own: If you claim a certain block of time as your own, your crazymaker will find a way to fight you for that time, to mysteriously need things (meaning you) just when you need to be alone and focused on the task in hand.
Why do we then spend time with our crazymakers? I’m guilty for gravitating to some of my crazymakers at times and then wonder why I did when I feel exhausted after spending time with them.
The answer, to be brief but brutal, is that we’re that crazy ourselves and we are that self-destructive. Really? Yes. As blocked creatives, we are willing to go to almost any lengths to remain blocked. As frightening and abusive as life with a crazymaker is, we find it far less threatening than the challenge of a creative life of our own.
So what can we do? Even before I read Julia’s suggestions I knew that I had to stay away from my crazymakers as much as possible. One being my own ego, which at times seems impossible to detach from, but it is possible, with a lot of meditation and self-awareness.
If you are involved now with a crazymaker, it is very important that you admit this fact. Admit that you are being used – and admit that you are using your own abuser. Your crazymaker is a block you chose yourself, to deter your from your own trajectory…If you are involved in a tortured tango with a crazymaker, stop dancing to his/her tune. Pick up a book on codependency to get yourself to a twelve-step program for relationship addiction. The next time you catch yourself saying or thinking “He/she is driving me crazy!”Ask yourself what creative work you are trying to block by your involvement. ~ The Artist’s Way
Sometimes it’s not easy being creative and sometimes we need to be a little more honest with ourselves and kick our own ass.
Until next time, keep on typing….