I am currently in the middle of a wonderful week long art workshop with the magical Laurie Doctor at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM. I will write more about the retreat soon, but for now I wanted to share a raw experience that is an important part of my journey. Laurie has been my teacher for a long time, and is therefore onto all of my shenanigans, the day 2 freak outs notwithstanding! Every time I dive into an intensive like this, I lose my marbles on day 2. Yesterday was no exception. I know Laurie saw it in my eyes, and quickly swooped in to "talk me off the ledge" as she jokingly called it. She has a way of bringing me back into my authentic self and out of the critical headspace I can get myself into. She also has a way of helping (gently forcing :-) ) me to slow down and connect with myself and my muse more deeply. I often go too fast, I admit it. I do it in many areas of my life, and sometimes it is not a healthy choice and keeps me from connecting with myself the way I know I want and need to. This is part of why I so badly need my creative practice in place. It is also why I need teachers like Laurie who can truly see me and my challenges and therefore keep me honest as I deepen my practice.
My technical experience as an artist gets me into trouble in workshops, because I am very good at skating on the surface and "faking" it, all the while seeming like I am making authentic art. I am not proud of this, and it is not intentional of course, but it is nonetheless an avoidant tactic that has taken hold over the years. It usually rears its ugly head when I am faced with vulnerable times like being in a week long intensive with other amazing artists . It is scary at times and not easy to do the real, hard, gritty work that is required to make honest art. When I am truly connected in my creative practice, this is easier than when I am distracted by other endeavors and by my monkey mind. The rewards for this awareness and dedication to disarming my shadow are why I do this work though. It is like being born again and again to stay honest and committed to my creativity.