Editor’s note: This is the 7th installment of a weekly 13-part series. If you would like to join Jessica on her journey, we suggest getting hold of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity or checking out Cameron’s online video course. Best of luck!
A few years ago, I was stuck in a job that made me pretty miserable. Yet, I had somehow convinced myself that I had to stay stuck in that place because it was the “responsible” and “adult thing” to do. My heart, however, was screaming something else. I knew that what I was doing for a living was not making me happy.
But why was that? What happens to us when we grow up? We equate being an adult with putting away the joys of our youth. We think that work means sacrifice – that it means stress and deadlines and carpal tunnel syndrome. We think that in order to support ourselves in any sort of reasonable manner, we have to give up our artistic aspirations. We must deny ourselves the little luxuries of life that give us pleasure in order to make what we deem to be more fiscally responsible decisions. We think that way of living is noble.
At this mid-point in The Artist’s Way course, you’re probably in one of two places: 1) Super jazzed, energized and refreshed as your Inner Artist Child emerges, drying off its damp wings in the glow of rebirth, or 2) Panic mode. Fight or flight has kicked in. This is harder than you’d thought it’d be: the emotional highs and lows, the daily renewal of the mind as self-doubt keeps trying to punch its way back in. Perhaps you’re finding it difficult to believe that this is at all possible, living a life of artistic freedom. “Maybe later,” you say when it’s time to write your Morning Pages. Or, “No one else really gets this.” It’s lonely sometimes. Maybe all of the time.
But don’t give up. If you truly believe, even a little bit, that you derive the most joy from your creative pursuits, press on. Life is too short.
Eventually, the choice to leave my job wasn’t mine to make anymore. I packed my proverbial box of belongings – desk knickknacks that suddenly had lost their meaning – and took my pink slip home. Sometimes when we try to hide from our destiny, it finds us anyway – the hard way.
The easier way is to start by taking those little leaps of faith. Once you begin to see the possibilities that lay before you, instead of telling yourself, “no” and “I can’t,” do something that you actually enjoy – however small it may initially be. You’ll be surprised at how things start naturally falling into place.
And in case you forgot, doing this course is a step forward. Keep moving ahead; don’t look back. Allow yourself the luxury and freedom to create, play and enjoy life. Follow your bliss.
Read the first six installments of this series:
- Unblocking the Inner Artist
- Of Monsters and Champions: Let the affirming begin!
- A Case of the Crazymakers
- The Power of Breaking Down Boxes
- The Flow of Letting Go
- The Trouble with Being “Good”