August 29, 2018
I've been bumping up against my inner critic lately. You know who I mean. That constant, persistent voice -- filled with negativity, casting doubt: Are you sure? Are you worthy? Can you do it? Is it good enough? That voice of doubt is especially strong for artists. So much of what we do is expressing our deepest selves, manifesting interior dreams, ideas -- out there-- in physical form, for all to see. Perhaps, as self protection, fear of rejection, we attack ourselves first, before (we imagine) that others will. I picked up a book recently entitled Your Inner Critic is a big jerk by Danielle Krysa. It's a great book, with clear ideas for getting through creative blocks, and she has a sparky writing style. I decided, however, that I parted ways with her as she just dismisses the inner critic by calling it names. What if I could make friends with this anxious clench in my stomach voice? In mindfulness meditation, which I practice, so much is about noticing: the thought, the feeling. Noticing without judgement. To not resist, but not accept either, just let it flow. As I have been trying this, I am finding that critical voice isn't quite so prickle-y, loud or insistent. Also, I am finding that there is usually something to pay attention to or be curious about. Maybe, after all, my critic and I can come to some kind of peaceful understanding -- and just call it good enough!
Below are two pieces from a series that I just finished. I tried a new way of making with the clay, and in the midst of creating, sure enough, that questioning voice again. I asked my art mentor, years ago, as I was beginning to create and feeling very vulnerable."Does that voice ever go away?" She said, "No, not if you are creating in a way that challenges you". Ah yes, here it is a part of creative process -- as I am wondering, wandering into the unknown.
Breathe. Notice. Flow.