Are You Creatively Blocked or Are You Resisting - How to Know the Difference
Author: Valery Satterwhite
Artists of every kind; painters, photographers, sculptors and actors will tell me that they are blocked. When we examine their specific challenge we discover that often they are not blocked, the are really resisting moving forward. There is a vast difference between the two. If you're struggling with your creative expression and vocation here's a way to determine whether your are blocked or unconsciously resisting as an artist.
First of all, let's take a look at what the definition of 'block' is. A block, in this context, is an obstruction; something that hinders or prevents the progress of accomplishment. Resistance, on the other hand, is the action of opposing something; a refusal to comply. We also say that something is resistant when it serves as a protective coating.
If you are blocked creatively, you may have doubts about your work, your ability to be successful, your talent. If you are resisting, you have little energy or desire to be creative and take any creative action as an artist or in the business of art. Creative blocks will come and go. Resistance can become chronic.
If you want to know whether your challenge is a block or a resistance look within. Pay attention to your self-talk, that seemingly endless chatter that is with you throughout your waking hours. If this self-talk is telling you that you're not talented or good enough to continue further then this is a block. You are in doubt, perhaps, of your ability to create what you want to express in this particular work. You're stuck, not knowing what next action to take to progressively move forward. You masterfully create distractions to take you away from your art, practice, rehearsal, audition, important meeting. And you've been doing this resisting stuff for a long time. Clearly identify the thoughts that created this blockage, this boulder. Remind yourself that this inner voice of doubt, this Inner Critic, is just a little scared of moving ahead. You're starting to stretch beyond where you've gone before and this little Inner Critic is scared so it is holding you back through inaction, indecision. Choose to take one small step in that direction, and then another, and you'll discover that you're flowing creatively again.
However, if you haven't doodled a noodle, picked up a brush, sung a song, gone to an audition or tinkled the ivories in weeks and weeks and weeks, then you're in a state of resistance. This resistance needs to be closely examined too if you wish to move beyond it. Instead of being in doubt about what's possible you are frozen in fear. What if I fail? If I continue to be an artist as my vocation will I end up living in a box by the side of the road? What if no one likes what I create? What if my work (me) is criticized publicly? Why even bother, when I'll only be rejected again. Will I die, lose my soul, give up on who I am? Deep down inside, you believe that it will be the end of the world if you continue on your path as an artist. In this state you are resisting who you are. You are resisting your own creative expression. And I'm sure you're depleted of energy, exhausted, heavy hearted. Powerless to move forward.
Yes, you are powerless because you have given up your power. If you ask yourself what within you is creating this resistance you may discover that you are shoulding all over yourself. You tell yourself constantly with that self-talk that you should do this, you should do that and yet you don't. I'm sure you have Found Excuses And Reasons (F.E.A.R.) why you can't continue on in your chosen path as an artist that is your birthright. But the truth is, you've become a victim of your fear. You've become a victim of the circumstances, events, and experiences in your life instead of the powerful creator that you are. You may even be feeling an urge to eF Everything And Run (F.E.A.R.); quit being an artist, an actor, a musician, a writer, a singer. You may have decided to 'get a real job'. Truth is, you quit on yourself and that feels terrible. And you are beating yourself up over it. And that feels even worse. This is no blocking boulder, this state is a massive wall of resistance. You are so afraid that you've literally thrown a protective blanket on your burning desires.
Again, it's time to examine your thoughts. This time, you're looking for deeper fundamental beliefs about what's possible for you to achieve as an artist. Perhaps you are reminding yourself that "you'll never earn a living as an artist" or 'artists are not business people and therefore doomed to fail".
Are the thoughts true? According to whom? How can you know, absolutely, that they are true? Can you find any evidence to the contrary? Who would you be, what would you do and what would you have if you didn't have these thoughts? For example if you're Inner Critic is telling you that you'll never earn a living as an artist, own that thought. Bring it up from your unconscious self-chatter into your consciousness. Shine light on it. Examine it. Is this true? According to whom? How can this person or these people know that this is true? Is it absolutely true that you'll never earn a living as an artist? Is any artist earning a living? Find more and more evidence that artists do, indeed, earn a living. If they can, so can you. How would you show up in your day as an artist if you didn't have that thought? What would you do? What would you create? What would success look like to you? Now be that! Hold the feeling you have as you envision yourself as a successful artist within you. Show up in your life, and as you approach your art, in that feeling state. You'll be amazed at the new inspiration, new opportunities that suddenly appear, seemingly out of nowhere for you.
So, You have a choice to make. If you are blocked, you can move beyond it. If you are resisting, you can quit. Get a real job. Tell yourself that you really don't want to be an artist and stop whining about it OR you can dissolve your fear. Which do you choose?
Copyright (c) 2009 Valery Satterwhite
About the author: Valery Satterwhite is the Founder of the International Association for Inner Wizards. She teaches artists of all kinds how to get out of their own way, eliminate personal and professional roadblocks, so they can fully express their artistic vision and succeed in the business of art. Empower the Wizard Within, tame the Inner Critic, unleash and Inspire the Muse. Get Free Artist Resource Directory today at http://www.InnerWizard.com.
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