“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.”
— Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
A few days ago, in my post Clearing the Creative River, I shared about the books I rely on and recommend most to support creative practice.
Today’s quote is from the spiritual book that I recommend most for anyone struggling with creative expression: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön.
Here is a fun thing you can do with this book:
Any time you see the word “meditation” or “sitting”, substitute those words with whatever word describes your art form: painting, writing, playing the piano, dancing, drawing…etc.
Try this, and see what wisdom emerges for you.
At live workshops, I’ve read aloud to students out of this book, doing just this thing.
What I love about this method is that it is somewhat random – especially if you flip to any old page, and that you are getting advice about your creativity from a fresh source.
The idea is that we aren’t going about solving our problem directly. More on that coming up in this series.
This is not just a book for meditators or Buddhists. Not at all!
It’s not just for when things have fallen apart either.
It’s for whenever you lose confidence, feel like crap, or feel your work is just a big piece of…crap.
When Things Fall Apart is a highly readable, often funny (you can get that from the quote I chose), and very practical book written by an ordinary woman and mother who went on to become a Buddhist nun, became a popular teacher and writer, and founded a monastery in Nova Scotia, Canada.
Today’s Journal Prompts:
The negativity that gets the better of me is…
The feelings I’d rather not explore are…
If I exaggerated those feelings, made them really big, then…
I’m afraid to explore my feelings about…
Sometimes our negativity gets the best of us in more subtle ways.
Like when you’re humming along following the trail of your creativity, and then, BAM! The voice of Why Bother comes up and threatens to derail you and your best intentions.
I just love how personal growth pioneer and author Jennifer Louden dives into this vital question of WHY when it comes to creative acts — for herself, and us, in her article, Why You Creating Stuff Matters.
DIY Binder Journal (aka Lazy Journaling)
Last year when I offered the first 30 Day Journal Project, I found that having the prompts printed out in advance helped me get right into my journaling for the day.
Secretly, I’ve thought of this as my Lazy Journaling approach.
Fill-in-the-blank, and your done.
So I made you nice versions of the very same layouts I’m using for my own journaling.
After I made these for myself, I prettied up the design so you could use them, too — and not just in a ring binder.
Also included is another layout included for cutting and pasting into an existing journal.
Get ALL 30 days of prompts & quotes (plus one bonus day) with 2 different layout designs.
FLOW: PRINTABLES | $12
So. We’re on Day 15 of the 30 Day Journal Project.
Midway through a creative project is often when the rubber meets the road. Or the shit hits the fan.
We’re put to the test in some way.
Do you notice that you’re being tested in some way? Or just feel crappy?
I think of all of this as signs we are on the right track.
Forging new territory is never comfortable, is fraught with uncertainty, and will always challenge us.
Consider yourself in very good company here.
This post is part of the 30 Day Journal Project.
Our theme for this year is: FLOW.