Do you ever do (or not do) your creative work and then judge it (or your experience) somehow?
Oh – that is SO good! Or, geez, what a bunch of crap this is?
Either one of these thoughts can send us into a spiral of not working. We’re afraid to mess it up! We’re afraid of how bad we suck!
A no win situation.
Learning to not judge our outcomes is one of the benefits of learning how to work without making comments, on our own or other student’s work, which is the one studio rule in all of my workshops.
But this takes practice in not judging the outcome. And like all sturdy practice, it will take us deep, the more we practice.
Before we can make a positive meaning out of something, it helps to question our negative meanings and assumptions. This is advanced psychological and spiritual work that can be hard to do when we are really attached to a certain outcome.
This is where suspending meaning and simply practicing a certain way comes in handy.
Which is what we do in Creative Practice Studio. We’re suspending meaning and practicing with intention.
My whole schtick on creative practice is a result of my former life as a musician, with years upon years of practice with my instrument. My other big teacher of practice has been meditation and prayer, studied in just about every type of spiritual lineage out there.
In both music and meditation, there is no assumption made that on the first day you try playing the instrument or sitting upon the cushion that you’ll be able to actually play the instrument, or sit still. If you’ve ever practiced scales, while listening to a damn metronome drone on, you know what I mean.
Music playing and meditation both have long periods of discomfort before there is much reward. This practiced knowledge has served me as a writer and visual artist, too. And yet. It’s something that requires…constant practice.
Why do we expect ourselves to create masterpieces, or compare ourselves to masters, the first time we attempt journaling, or writing, or painting, or anything new we want to make or learn?
Because we forgot about the practice part. Or never really knew how to practice meaningfully.
Maybe Yes, Maybe No, is a good attitude to have toward our work and our effort. Especially draft work, and definitely whenever we are learning something new.
Spiritual traditions are chock full of teaching tales and parables. As I wrote this for you, I kept thinking of a story I’ve heard from many different teachers, while sitting cross legged on the cushion, probably wondering when the next meal break was.
I found a beautifully told version of the story for you. Press play and close your eyes, or watch – it’s beautifully animated.
The story has different names, like Maybe, The Farmer, or Maybe Yes, Maybe No.
If there is a written version you like or know of, feel free to share a link.