I remember having done the Artists Way workshop about 3 times and each time it never got easier but somehow that was the whole point. It isn’t meant to be easier because if it was then it wouldn’t build up your resolve nor your creative “muscles”. Easy stuff rarely builds much of anything other than habit. With out resistance there is little work to be accomplished. But on the other hand if there is too much resistance there’s loss of hope and failure seems the only inevitability rather than another form of muscle building resistance. There is the whisper of “Balance is the key………” in the wind of change.
I’ve almost finished a slight tome (not a tome really but it gets a bit off balanced now and then so it seems like a tome) – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. It starts off great then vears of course towards the end by contradicting itself and setting up unreal expectations plus it’s heavy handed with straight, white, cis male arrogance through out. I find it is just a rebranding of Zen Buddhism mixed with hints of Taoism seasoned with heteronormative anecdotes throughout. Yes a lot of it is basically applicable to most human foibles and no it isn’t applicable to ALL human experience. I’ve known Lesbian and Gay Buddhists, some Zen masters i.e. “enlightened” (what the hell is that?) and many others still struggling on the road, as it were. I guess no one really gets it right but there is a tendency to bend or misquote certain ideas and or tenants to fit a narrative that doesn’t quite fit a lot of experience i.e. the author quotes a Buddhist bit of doctrine that says you must kill yourself daily – metaphorically but the quote I remember is If you meet the Buddha on the road you must kill him. This idea that “self” is BAD and no-self is GOOD has gotten out of hand. The ego – the self – is important but should never be more important than any other component of the Real self. The false self – egoism is the “other” identified part which makes up, for the most part, the personality or human user interface – being “nice”, “polite”, “social”, “kind”, “non-offensive”, “non-aggressive”, “politically correct”, “social justice initiative” etc. The Real self or Real Ego is what you know by actual experience and not just by what books, teachers, gurus, parents, learned peers, friends TELL you who you are or are SUPPOSED to be. Without a Real Self you can’t know how to be truly Selfless. It is the Real Self that sees you with “eyes that do not love you” – honestly, without filters or blinders. A lot of it can be “harsh” or “unlovely” but those are also labels of “love” or judgements not based in objectivity. My best understanding of objectivity is knowing that I’ve gotten something wrong but that wrong isn’t a curse but a responsibility to learn from so I can be correct the next time and know that that won’t stay the same either. The Self is evolving, the false self is not and can be corrected ONLY by the Self. The false self can either assist or impede the Self but there has to be a Self before that can happen. And I have to admit that my coming to this “understanding” is because I dared myself to study outside the lines. I sought “outside” help. I cannot evolve strictly on my own. I need to acquire some tools and materials to keep building, repairing and, at the right times, deconstructing my Self.