Today isn’t any other day, you know. – Lewis Carroll
This week a little book bumped into me in a ‘used stuff’ store. Serendipidously, it was exactly what I needed to read, as is wont to happen with me :) Oh so wise Julia Cameron, who wrote The Artist’s Way, and Vein of Gold, writes about boundaries in our love relationships and friendships. How sensuality and creativity are essentially the same.
I urge you to read for yourself but here is an excerpt from chapter five of Walking in This World (the Practical Art of Creativity).
“As artists, our sexual energy and our creative energy are very closely intertwined…when someone who ignites our creative imagination crosses our path, that person is a “fuse lighter.” Our creative engine kicks over. We suddenly have things to say and long for new ways to say them. We say them in paint, in dance, in poetry, in sculpture. We suddenly “come alive to the possibility.” We are galvanized. People ask, “Are you in love?”
In a sense, we are in love—and we are also in love with our own artist, who is suddenly mirrored back to us as exciting and adventurous, powerful, perhaps even dangerous. We experience more energy. We burn the candle at both ends, staying up late to work on a project. Getting up early to grab an hour at the easel, like a stolen bout of lovemaking on the way to work.Creative energy and sexual energy are both our personal energy. Our use of them is private, and to pretend otherwise is debilitating and abusive. The two energies are so closely intertwined, they may be experienced as nearly identical. We conceive children and we conceive creative projects. Both energies are sacred. They spring from the same source, our inner core. Our creative energy, like our sexual energy, must not be squandered. And yet, we are often asked to do just that.
As artists, we must be alert to what people ask us for and reward us for being. Our partners and friends do condition us into behaviors quite unconsciously. We must be alert to what they reward us for with their thanks and reciprocity. And to what ways they are withholding and manipulative in their lack of approval and generosity. These things condition us, and they are also the conditions in which our art will or will not be made.
Festivity breeds creativity. Rigidity breeds despair. When our high spirits are straightjacketed in the name of virtue or discipline, the vital and youthful spark in us that enjoys adventure and is game for invention begins to flicker like a flame in a draft.
Creativity responds to nourishment and warmth. If we are forbidden to be childlike—told perhaps that it is ‘childish’ or “selfish” – if we are urged to be too sensible, we react as gifted students do to an authoritarian teacher—we refuse to learn and grow. Our considerable energy is channeled into resistance and over time solidifies in to a hard-to-penetrate shell of feigned indifference.
The universe is alive with energy. It is fertile, abundant, even raucous – so are we. Most of us are high spirited, humorous, even pranksterish with the least encouragement. What is lacking for many of us is precisely the least encouagement. We buy into the notice that life is dreary and difficult and something to be soldiered through. We tell ourselves, “Oh, well, what did I expect?”
The truth is that as children, many of us expected much more. We had dreams and desires and inklings of delight and full-blown passions. We practiced ballet in the living room, we sang wildly, we loved the goo of finger painting. We loved, period—and love is a passionate and energizing force. In order for our creativity to flourish, we must reclaim our right both to love and be loved. We must be a little nuts about ourselves, about our notions, our whimsies, our ambitions.
Instead of chiding ourselves or allowing ourselves to be chided into “adult” solemnity, we must regain our right to be goofy, earthy, even silly. In lovemaking we speak of “foreplay,” and we must allow ourselves to play at the things we love. This means that if our partner is restrictive, we must get a little clever at daring to be ourselves in private. Instead of yanking on the bootlaces and asking ourselves to get better, we need to loosen up the shoelaces and take off the shoes, and wiggle our feet in the green grass of earth.
Creativity is sensual and so are we. As we celebrate rather than repress our passion, we are rewarded by more passion and that is the fuel for art.”
Thank you, Julia.