I like 12 Step programs. They are healthy and a place to begin examining many damaging behaviors.
I bet you never heard of A.R.T.S. Anonymous. It is a 12 step program for artists. The word “artist” is used in the broadest sense to include anyone who is struggling with expressing your creativity. It could mean painter, writer, baker, seamstress and anyone who finds their creativity intertwined in their expression. As a creative person the craving for an outlet is always there and never goes away. But many artists avoid doing their work for many reasons. Mostly because of a trauma or fear. When you are not creating you are using something else to kill the aspiration to create.
A.R.T.S Anonymous is actually dealing with something positive. Our own creativity. In their literature I came across “Facing Avoidance: An Inventory of Attitudes and Beliefs About Doing Art”. There are over 70 questions that examine how we feel about doing art. For example: Am I willing to tolerate awkwardness, false starts, dry spells, and mistakes as part of the process? Do I hate myself when I avoid doing my art? Do I realize that inspiration is likely to come after I start working? That what I need will come to me when I need it if I make the effort?
On their website section: “Being Blocked” the very first sentence says “To be blocked is not truly an adult choice but the choice of a traumatized child who is determined to live their adult life safe from all harms. A child’s fears have imprisoned the adult”. These words really struck me as true because of my own experience in struggling with writing and painting. These fears are crippling at times. And quite incognito. Fear, many times, is invisible.
I get irritated when I read statements like: Just Do It, It’s mind over matter, Here’s the only method you will ever need to succeed. Because there is a river of deepness that is in our subconscious that needs a safe place to explore our expression of art.
Explore the A.R.T.S Anonymous website and read Steven Pressfield’s ” The War Of Art”. (I wrote about Pressfield’s book in my original Thoughtful Thursday post). Each venue will be an explosion of information and lead you to heal and express that which is uniquely you.