If you don’t enjoy the doing, then do something else …

AND SO: here is a post bordering on New-Age claptrap, I still hope it can give some sense

For some of us starting new things, changing direction, entertaining new ideas –  stirs fear:

As children most of us are encouraged to believe that our life should somehow fulfill the expectations of others, that we will (or should) find our satisfactions as they have found theirs. Rather than being taught to ask ourselves who we are, we are schooled to ask others. We are, in effect, trained to listen to others’ versions of ourselves. We are brought up in our life as told to us by someone else! When we survey our lives, seeking to fulfill our creativity, we often see we had a dream that went glimmering because we believed, and those around us believed, that the dream was beyond our reach. Many of us would have been, or at least might have been, done, tried something, if…

If we had known who we really were.

― Julia Cameron


As mentioned in my last post, I do not subscribed to an idea of the self is a pre-existing entity, and so I do not agree in Cameron´s notion of who we really are. But she has a really good point regarding whose version of ourselves we try to fulfill. (The only thing that might actually be worse than searching for my own original self is searching for the others/society’s idea of my original self).

Change doesn’t only stir fear in ourselves: Who am I now? Where is this going to end???, it also tend to disturb people who know (or think they know) us.

But as Virginia Woolf once told us:

A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living

If you don’t enjoy the doing, then do something else …

In the brilliant book Art and Fear we are told:

Making art can feel dangerous and revealing. Making art is dangerous and revealing. Making art precipitates self-doubt, stirring deep waters that lay between what you know you should be, and what you fear you might be. For many people, that alone is enough to prevent their ever getting started at all — 

Yet viewed objectively, these fears obviously have less to do with art than they do with the artist. And even less to do with the individual artworks. After all, in making art you bring your highest skills to bear upon the materials and ideas you most care about. Art is a high calling — fears are coincidental. Coincidental, sneaky and disruptive, we might add, disguising themselves variously as laziness, resistance to deadlines, irritation with materials or surroundings, distraction over the achievements of others — indeed anything that keeps you from giving your work your best shot.

What separates artists from ex-artists is that those who challenge their fears, continue; those who don’t, quit. Each step in the artmaking process puts that issue to the test.

― David Bayles, Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Arti says:

    Have you watched the doc. “David Lynch: The Art Life” (the full length of this video excerpt)? You’ll love it. 🙂

    1. Sigrun says:

      No – not yet: THANK YOU!

  2. haywardhelen says:

    This is lovely, Sigrun. I concur completely. Now to face my fears! Helen

  3. “Fears are coincidental” is a profound statement, I think.

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