Saturday, March 3, 2007

Week 3: Believing Mirrors

I wasn't too excited about the title of this chapter, "Uncovering a Sense of Support," when I saw it a couple weeks ago. I am a bit of a loner. I've never thought to blame it on my artistic sensibilities, I'm simply on the introverted end of the spectrum and need a lot of quiet time in order to function well. There's that and there's the part of me that wants to "do it myself." I have always had trouble asking for help, showing my vulnerabilities, showing that I'm struggling. I came face to face with this when my depression hit an all time low about 6 years ago. The silver lining in that rock-bottom-hitting experience was that I was forced to ask for help or give up all together. I chose to ask for help. And then I wondered why I'd waited so long. The support I received from family and friends was wonderful and it lifted me up in a way that was a huge revelation. I didn't have to face life alone. Yes, it's great to be able to take care of yourself, to know that you can depend on yourself when the going gets tough. But life is so much richer with people to share it with, to share both the successes and the failures. I've worked hard since then to ask for help when I need it, it's still a bit of a struggle, but when I forget, life usually reminds me (with a kick in the ass) how important it is to reach out (and how worthwhile.)

Blogging has also showed me how vital support can be. When I was recovering from the criticisms of past teachers and dipping my toes into the waters of making art again, the support of fellow bloggers was *huge* in encouraging me to keep going. Hearing from people who weren't family or long-time friends, cheering me on, gave me the push I needed to keep going with what was coming from my heart and be unafraid if it wasn't what I thought "real art" was supposed to look like. I don't know if I would have come so far without the support I found here in the blogging world and later in my first (in person) Artist's Way group. It was with this support, I found the courage to seek out places to show my art and have my first art shows in alternative spaces about 4 years ago.

I have continued to find great support and community through other groups online and in my day-to-day life. I still have trouble reaching out, showing my vulnerabilities, asking for help, but I work at it because it's important to my well-being and it often leads to wonderful, unexpected places. Julia Cameron calls these supportive people in your life, Believing Mirrors. They reflect back to you the beautiful being that you are when you are unable to see it yourself. Through their own beauty they inspire and speak the words you were thinking, but hadn't formed yet. And you in turn, without hardly any effort, will reflect the amazing creative beings that they are. And this just multiplies in a group. I agree with Cameron when she says that "creativity occurs in clusters." And here we are, a lovely cluster of believing mirrors. Feel free to ask for support if you need it and reflect back to others the creativity that you see.

I have seen some wonderful things happening in our group this week. Exciting leaps, small steps forward, and wonderful new adventures. I love to see the risks being taken, the support that lifts up a talented person who has been doubting themself, and all the small steps that move us forward day to day and add up to something great. Keep doing the work, remember to take care of yourself (remember you agreed to take excellent care of yourself these 12 weeks!), ask for support when you need it, and send some support out. I'm sending loads of love out to all you, sparkling creative souls. Thank you for being along on this journey with me!

-Leah (Creative Every Day)


June said...

Thank-you for those kind and encouraging words. I too find it difficult to ask for help, but when I do, I reap the exact same benefits as you described. You are so right, this Finding Water group is a "lovely cluster of belieiving mirrors" and I am so glad that you decided to organize it! I will always be gratful to you for that.

donna said...

I haven't been getting too much into Finding Water - it seems so much Artist's Way so far I feel like, "Yes, I've done this...", but, I am enjoying reading the blogs and experiences of others.

My "support" right now is in raising my lovely little golden retriever pup and enjoying puppy training classes with him. We we invited to play with the "big dog" group this week after Darwin's class, and that was a blast.

I also find myself connecting so much with other people when I'm out somewhere with Darwin - he gets a lot of attention since he's so darn cute - and watching him as he connects with people is a real treat. I think I made a good choice for my first therapy dog to train!

Sorry this has little to do with art, but right now for me, dog training is the craft I'm learning.

Anonymous said...

Bless you, Leah. Thanks for this lovely, encouraging post. I almost fell at the first hurdle, but I've been catching up today! Thanks for those links. It's difficult to get round everyone at the same time as remembering to post, I'm finding, so I was glad to get a sprinkling from you. Lovely touch :)

Will go and look at a few more as soon as I've posted!

Thank you xXx

suzie q said...

oops! I didn't mean to be anonymous!
that was me :)

hugs, Suze xXx

Becoming Amethyst said...

Hey ~ and I thought (as usual) that I would be the only one resistant to asking for help. Thanks for sharing part of your journey, Leah. It's really helped to start shifting my resistance :-)

GeL(Emerald Eyes) said...

This post hits the crux of it for me. In fact, I started the book late, so I'm in week 2, but almost at week 3; however, back in week 1, when this beautiful and vital concept of "Believing Mirrors" was presented, this resonated with me far more than anything else (at that time of reading.) I will be sharing an experience from that eye and soul openner, in a couple of days.

I'm also often a loner (and very independent, but extreme independence is darn lonely and unhealthy.) To read of someone else who needed to reach out more (as we all should because of the amazing benefits), is inspiring, yet, I feel pain for you, remembering how awful those lows are. (I didn't suffer from depression, but it was also rock-bottom.) I'm sorry you went through such a tough time of getting to this place and hope that in the present is going much better for you. (It sounds like it!)

P.S. I'm sent Leah an email that I switched back to my main blog of "Emerald Eyes", b/c it's too hard to maintain two blogs. I'm sorry about the extra work for changing my link back.

Anonymous said...

I love it!
Just finished moving to a new apartment this weekend.
Unpacking & setting up my desk/creative space.
I've also made a separate "Finding Water" journal page off my blog, if you'd like to link it!
Just trying to find time to figure out the html stuff...thanks for explaining.

Elizabeth said...

Bleesing to you too, and thanks for the link to my blog... It really touched me and made my heart smile!
We are all doing well and I think we are all very brave, strong, loving people. I have a little support in my life, but have found huge support with this blogging group.
Love, Hope and Joy, and a multitude of blessings and support to you - you are a very special person,


lila said...

Thank-you for all of your support and encouragement!

Anonymous said...

I read a bunch of other blogs and finally started my "finding water" journey.
I am LOVING this!
Thanks for all the encouragement!

Jane said...

What an awesome post Leah! I think that the artistic side of me craves to be alone in my little universe. When I was little, I would play in my room for hours alone. I still need my down time to recharge my batteries. I can also relate to that bit of depression. Mine hit like a ton of bricks last year, unexpectedly for the first time in my life. It made me have to reach out for support and encouragement. Blogging and photosharing have become an integral part of my daily routine. I love the sense of connection with the world around me. As wonderful as my family and friends are, it's helpful to get myself even further out there in this on-line community. Hope you are having a great week. Happy Wednesday!!

martha said...

This is probably my biggest obstacle-asking for support-. I have made the list, and I am a loner. After fifty years of trying to fit in, I am ok with being supported by my husband and that is about it. Is this healthy probably not but it is the way it is.Maybe I am just being crabby form working too much. Still doing morning pages.

Sophie said...

I ASKED for help and it was
such a relief to receive it!

I have had so much fun popping around at our incredible group.


Laura said...

The date is Mar.15th, and it's almost 11:00am. I've packed my important stuff, water, camera, AW F.W. book and journal. Headed out to do my walk in the woods. Went 4 miles and made the big leap to have a breakfast at little coffee shop/deli. I walked in and there were these picnic like table to sit at and the music was lithauanna(sp) and the women/waitress were warm and lovely speaking there launage. I asked to be sitted in the front by the window and order a coffee and yes I said I would like to have breakfast. She walked away and I took off my coat and got settled in. Pulled out my book and started reading week 3. I can explain it how wonderful it feels to be reading words so comforting and welcoming. I really wish I could find some people I could sit with and have a really artist way group. But what holds them back it the MP's. So silly I know, Well I enjoyed a wonderful old fashion breakfast of homemade hashbrowns, two eggs and bacon. Now bread, even though I love it I passed on it this morning. So reading the pages I just ache for conpanion ship on this journey. So many artist I know but not many believing Mirrors. Well ones that I feel I can trust. So yes I feel alone but not lonely. I seem to fill my days quiet easily with good things for me to do. Ok critic is say I'm rambling a way here and time to stop. but really I'm home when I read JC's books.