Or, am I ever on-track?? The laptop is working again thanks to a new router or modem or somesuch thing. Fortunately, RC dealt with whatever the problem was and now we are back up and running. So, I’m delighted to be able to once again write a blog post.
I am participating in a study group at church this fall based on the book, The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, by Julia Cameron. (I apologize for not putting a link for the book here – I seem to be encountering trouble as I attempt to do that. Google it if you are interested.) We read and discuss a chapter of the book a week. As the dust cover describes it, the book deals with the subject of creativity; and, “during the 12-week journey” readers will discover “the inextricable link between their spiritual and creative selves.” The subject of creativity in this book is not meant just for those trying to be writers (moi) or painters or sculptors or photographers, or whatever one might think of as being an artist; it is meant for everyone, as we all create in different ways every single day. I am finding the information very fascinating and thought provoking.
I eagerly read the next chapter of the book just about the minute I return home from our weekly group meeting. This next week the chapter includes a section about perfectionism that has struck a chord with me – so much so, that I just feel compelled to share the message as there are likely those of you reading this that just like me, suffer from trying to be perfect whenever you are creating something! I hope I can convey the message clearly and succinctly enough that you will have an aha moment like I did reading it. If you don’t get that from my writing today, pick up the book and read Week 7.
Here are the key points of Ms. Cameron’s ideas about perfectionism:
- Trying to perfect whatever we are creating and wherever we are creating (home, work, play, child-rearing, volunteer activities and so on) is not about making things perfect; it is a refusal to let ourselves move on – an obsession.
- Perfectionism causes us to lose sight of the whole – we get mired in the details of making something perfect.
- This is the one I like the best – perfectionism causes us to “correct our originality into a uniformity that lacks passion and spontaneity.” I can relate this one back to a comment my instructor made to me in a class about blogging – he said my work was “modest”. I don’t want it to be modest, I want it to be awe-inspiring!! My editing and re-editing in an attempt to make my posts perfect has likely caused me to be just a modest writer. I end up losing my passion and spontaneity.
- The perfectionist always finds room for improvement, thinking he/she is being humble. Ms. Cameron says in reality, this is egotism! Too much pride, maybe.
- The perfectionist has the notion that nothing he/she does will ever be good enough – we keep trying to perfect it.
- Perfectionists need to realize a normal part of creativity is letting go…as Ms. Cameron says, “do the best we can by the light we have to see by“.
Ms. Cameron posits that we cannot realize our creative potential if we are always trying to perfect everything we do. We need to take a risk – risk to not look like we don’t know what we are doing (that is my personal fear). We will never create anything if we say or think we can’t afford it, we are too shy, too old, too afraid to make mistakes, too afraid to try something new, etc.
Of course, perfectionism is all a mind-set…not necessarily easy to overcome when like me, you have spent several hundred years developing it (perfecting it really). My message today, mostly to myself –
LET IT GO…MAKING MISTAKES AND NOT BEING PERFECT IS OKAY!
I feel like I have just written a book report – and, in reality, I guess I have. Not sure if I have done the message of this chapter of the book justice (is it perfect??). I’d love to hear your comments on the subject of perfectionism; feel free to write something below.