Sunday, January 12, 2014

Happy Thoughts 365~ #5 ~ Challenging the Inner Critic & Tapping into Creative Glee

"My best IDEAS have always been HAPPY accidents"

When I decided to start my Happy Thoughts 365 project, I had no idea how difficult the first couple weeks of 2014 would be! I've experienced a lot of sickness and dark moods, and I can honestly say my heart isn't bursting forth with Happy Thoughts in a semi-depressed state. The cynical, critical part of my nature which believes it is so wise whispers, "Why would you waste your time engaging in such a fluffy topic? Get your head out of the clouds in the real world, which is full of pain, problems and suffering."  But the more I engage in adding the "happy thoughts" to my blog, the more I feel the cloud of depression lifting, and the "inner critic" is silenced.

Besides a hard-nosed cynicism, the "inner critic" has a secret weapon of choice: cold perfectionism that squelches the happy inner creative child. Julia Cameron once said:
“Perfectionism doesn't believe in practice shots. It doesn't believe in improvement. Perfectionism has never heard that anything worth doing is worth doing badly--and that if we allow ourselves to do something badly we might in time become quite good at it. Perfectionism measures our beginner's work against the finished work of masters. Perfectionism thrives on comparison and competition. It doesn't know how to say, "Good try," or "Job well done." The critic does not believe in creative glee--or any glee at all, for that matter. No, perfectionism is a serious matter.” ~from Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance
This reminds me of the evil White Queen in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. She creates a frozen world where it is "always winter, and never Christmas." Essentially she has removed the lighthearted joy and feasting from Narnia, making her subjects conform to rigid standards of her cold ideology. Perfectionism is the same cruel master that tries to freeze the warm, creative impulse flowing inside of us. 

In order to overcome perfectionism, we have to be willing to not only do terrible art, but also embrace some of the "happy accidents" that happen along the way. If you start to hear the inner critic raise its ugly voice, remember the words of Bob Ross:

 "We don't make mistakes; we just have happy accidents."
Let the ideas flow. Sketch your ideas, and don't try to edit them immediately or toss them in the trash can. Give yourself room to BREATHE and experiment. And allow yourself to feel creative glee. :-)

Enjoy this video featuring Bob Ross. I pray it opens up your childlike faith and imagination. 

"Let's build a happy little cloud. Let's build some happy little trees. There are no limits here. Start out by believing here (your heart). "