Surprising the inner critic with group art projects

Regarding my creative process, I welcome the conversations my inner critic instigates. [This is not the same voice that picks at my skull with negative self-judgment.  That’s another thing all together].

I have learned how to dance with the inner critic in my art process, welcoming its critique versus criticism, allowing mistakes, experimenting, allowing editing, willing the throwing away of crap.  It’s not about silencing the inner critic and pretending EVERYTHING I MAKE IS GREAT.  It’s about allowing its presence as a natural part of being a creative human.

The participants in my art sessions have ranged in age from 2 to 105.  And depending on the age group, the specific program, the vulnerabilities, the style of the students- the inner critics become vocal in varying ways.

Some inner critics are happy and healthy.  There is nothing quite like working on your own art beside a 5 year old who so naturally dances with their inner critic as they work– joyously creating while making decisions on color, shape, style.  Happily sharing techniques, insights, asking questions.

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My nephew Henrik’s latest book cover

But some inner critics are negative, detrimentally vocal and hurting.   When do some of us lose this joyous ability to dance with the inner critic?  When does it become an inhibiting monster as opposed to an ally?  How do we tame it?

Adults in particular struggle with perfectionism during my drawing classes.  That is why I don’t hand out erasers (the eraser can become a crutch, and the participant may spend too much time “fixing” as opposed to diving in to the process).  That is why I do a follow me technique so that we are all literally on the same page.

I have found an easy and magical way to create joy and surprise in my art classes that in turn surprises our inner critics– collecting and collaging the class’s drawing.

For example, last Monday, I facilitated my third session with older adults in Burnaby.  The group bravely dove in to the session.  My students quickly realize my exclamations of delight at what they draw are authentic- I get SO EXCITED about the way people make marks on paper.

There is a lot of laughter, a lot of concentration and dialogue, a lot of self-judgment and some express disgust at their drawings.  So how do we tame that inner critic so as to not wallow in self-judgment and crumple up our work and throw it into the recycling bin?!  How do I lift my students?

The real magic happens with we let go of our work, cut them out and create collages.  TOGETHER- the drawings become MAGICAL.  The class expresses surprise and delight and take ownership in the most delightful way.  One participant expressed her delight- “I thought my drawing was so bad compared to yours and everybody else’s.  But when I see it up there now in the midst of the rest of them, it looks so wonderful.”  On Monday, we created 4 panels (which will be embellished with feathers and embroidery and exhibited at the residence).

Session 1: OWLS

Session 2: Bunnies

Session 3: Hummingbirds, Ladybugs

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It has become a theme in my art teachings- collaging work as a group- be it on the streets or onto boards.  I just love it.

 

Our inner critic is surprised.  Our work as a group looks amazing.  And we are building CONNECTION.  By letting go of our work, by sharing it, combining it, we become a COMMUNITY.

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For I need to SPEAK FREELY. Without restraint…

So, I’ve been doing a lot of chatting in the past few days about my passion project: Molly- a true crime analysis:

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I’ve been chatting, speaking, blabbing, vomiting words with friends and family about it, at the dinner table, over the phone, even on the radio—

Check out my INTERVIEW about Molly- a true crime analysis from January 20, 2017 Radio Interview on ESSENCEtial Conversations CJSF 90.1 FM with hosts Rebecca Mears (catchingfire.ca) and Lucca Hallex (powersourcerer.com):

Somehow, I have NO PROBLEM chatting away here on this blog, sharing verbosity without fear—

And I have no problem, indeed it is my mission, encouraging others to speak as I capture dialogue of participants when I mind map and co-faciliate- I want to make it safe for you to speak freely—

 Then why- when I speak out loud, sharing my passion, does a voice inside my head try to shush me?  Why does this voice tell me I am talking too much?  Why is it telling me to not take up airspace, to not waste people’s time?  Who is that voice?   Why is it asking me to be apologetic?  Is it still that teen that wanders around aimlessly in my brain?

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Recall:

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But, on this weekend, of all weekends, as millions of women (and supporters) MARCHED- why would I listen to that voice?   What events in my past have trained me to listen to that voice at all?

Instead of marching Saturday morning here in Vancouver, I was busy finalizing my latest section of Molly.  I knew that for me, working on Molly was the “march” I personally needed to do for myself- to fulfill this commitment I have made.

So shush, wandering teen, you shush.  For I need to SPEAK FREELY.  Without restraint, constraint.  I deserve it.

“Continue to embrace the things that make you unique even if it makes others uncomfortable. You are enough. And whenever you’re feeling doubt, whenever you want to give up, you must always remember to choose freedom over fear.” – Janelle Monae at Women’s March on Washington, January 20, 2017.

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Check out:

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I’m back in a stall- some kind of school washroom… #dream #innercritic

I used to have a recurring dream— it started in my adolescence and continued into my early 40’s-

I would dream that I was getting ready for dance class and changing in a public bathroom stall– it would be at a university pool, or at a community centre, or at a school- but it would always be the grossest toilet stall– and I would try to get my pink tights on without getting them dirty on the gross, disgusting, piss and shit and hair covered floor.  Anxiety sweat dripping off my forehead.

This dream repeated for years and years.

Then suddenly, one night, I had a dream that I brought a bucket of hot water, a cloth and a big bottle of Pinesol into the stall and I scrubbed that stall spotless.

And I never had the dirty bathroom dream again.

Until two nights ago.

I’m back in a stall- some kind of school washroom…  I recall someone had called me disgusting, so I ran into the stall to hide and, yes, to change.  I’m barefoot, and the floor is not only covered in shit and piss and hair, but now also oozing with a brown sludge, slimy, slippery mother-fucking sludge.  And I just slip and slip and try to hold myself up and whisper, please, oh please, please, oh please.


Basically, bathroom dreams may be addressing your need to relieve yourself emotionally and/or psychologically. [source]

I know the inner critic/child has been reawakened lately.  The little girl inside has been loud.  And looking for love.  She’s nagging at me, tugging- clouding my ability to think straight and she seems to not want to trust that I am on the right path.

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Everyone has an inner child but the majority of us remain oblivious to what it is.  Whenever we miss out listening to our inner voice we have a tendency to encounter trouble and face conflict.   After we know about our inner child, we are responsible for our own mess and, consequently, start to clear our own mind.  This is a message of this dream, that it is time to clear away the old, to make way for the new.   If this is a repeating dream, then inner work with our inner child is a necessary part of one’s life.   When one is too busy, or disinclined, to heal ourselves, that’s when the dirty toilet dreams start to appear. [source]

So I am taking more time to clarify and ensure that decisions I make now and directions I take are best for me.  To just take a breath and follow the heart.  I will sit down in the muck, hold my inner child, and listen.  Then it is bath time for both of us and reintegration.  And I will remind her that I am pretty spectacular and deserve good things and success– and that I won’t deny her or shush her, but love her and embrace her and maybe she’ll finally trust me and open doors for me to sustainable and sustained success.

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Pastel on wood (interpretation of Anders Zorn’s Une Premiere)

 

“I put myself back in the narrative…” and ugh- LOG JAM. #innercritic #onwriting

On the gross creative process, the ugliness, the inner critic, the log jams, the writing…

Log jam.  Log jam.  After feedback FEEDBACK from multiple sources that I should be in the story and I try and try but log jam log jam— Why does the creative process halt when I do that?   I place myself back in the narrative and use first person but get triggered and the inner critic wakes up.  AWAKES.  And I feel gross and numb.

I transcribe a video from 2004- 12 years ago now-


and I am reviewing my research to that point sharing WHAT and HOW I found out what I did- and hey, it’s fascinating as to HOW—

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— but I am gross.  Inarticulate. BORING.

Molly– if you are leading the way- HELP ME TRUST AGAIN.  Why can’t I trust that?  I can take the time I need?  But there is no more time.

I put myself back in the narrative… I try to make sense of your thousands of pages of writings.  You really do write like you’re running out of— time. – Eliza, Hamilton the Musical (Lin Manuel Miranda)

Related:

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And so, the vulnerability shakes set in…

Hi.

As you may know, I’ve been fully immersed in process in the last month or so- working on my book presentation for my agent to shop around, and I have LOVED the process, trying to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s.  Exciting to be at the next stage.  Ready to share.  So ready.  But let’s be honest- there is still a safety in the preparation.  The not quite ready for prime time mode.  The holding back to get it right.

Safety because it is still just mine.

And I’ve been enjoying working full days in my PJ’s and torn cardigan and worn out socks, wearing a scarf made by a dear friend, counting “pennies” (nickels now I guess), eating “poverty sandwiches” (which are very tasty, by the way- rye bread from No Frills, toasted, with No Name mayo, Spike spice and a generous topping of spinach leaves).

But the time had to come.

Shit or get off the pot.  So finally releasing the private presentation, sharing with a particular list of people for feedback, has been liberating and exhilarating.  But there it is… UGH… the old vulnerability hangover, as Brené Brown calls it.

The shakes.

What does it look like from in here?

Do this for me- wrap yourself completely in a blanket, preferably in a room with a window, preferably daytime, so it’s bright out.  Huddle in a sitting position or lie down- now just expose one eye.  Look to the light.

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Look out at the world from this place.  Listen to the loud beating of your heart and feel the acidic pit in your lower abdomen.  The endless self-attacks and doubt.  That’s pretty much me right now- or my frame of mind at least.  Oh yes, I know, I know, I KNOW that

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. – Sylvia Plath

I have done so much self-work, and gathered so much support around me, yet the racing mind is back.  Oh my God, what have I done?   The what-if questions.  The fear of failure.

Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound. – William Goldman

So what has happened since I started sharing the presentation?

The feedback has been incredibly positive.  Wow.

Truly!

And I’ve tried to share with a wide variety of reader types.  And I’ve received some great and valuable suggestions, which I am working on today.  And I have the greatest support from my agent.

But I want to be real about this feeling.  It is SCARY.

It’s the life of the artist.  Or just simply the human condition, I suppose.

I’ve got to take my own hand and pull myself out of this, if I truly want it.

Do I want this?  All that lies ahead- even if what lies ahead is HUGE AND GREAT?!  

Yes!

I look to my guides.  What are they saying, experiencing?

Aligning with this cosmic energy and really feeling my vulnerability and frailty. Embracing it and being clear for it so I can properly navigate it and not cause any added self suffering is challenging but I’m determined to ride this spiral wave into the depths of my own insecurities and come out with a renewed perspective centered on gratitude and a deeper sense of self love. I know there is a divine reason for being this empathically sensitive to everything around me. Sending love out to anyone being challenged right now with loneliness or feelings of unworthiness and to anyone being tempted by old cycles that don’t serve their highest selves. We really are in this together, all connected, all one, so I know I’m not alone when I feel this way. Blessings to us all. Faith, love, community, and courage will get us through this! Through anything! One love! – Terry Tsipouras, November 29, 2015

Ah, Terry.  Ok- that makes me feel understood!  Terry Tsipouras always posts the most soul-touching wisdom just when I need it the most. Deep gratitude for this magical human being!

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So I take off the blanket:

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Gather the affirmations!

If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”  – Vincent van Gogh

I look to the birds!  The herons are back on the roofs on neighboring buildings.

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Head high!  Invite it in!  Be ready!  Enjoy!

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it should be a nightmare, but somehow, it isn’t. Instead, I am filled with curiosity…

I am a bit lost these days.  Spinning in place the last few weeks.   I know the spinning comes from diving into the past for a certain personal project.  The triggers pull the rug out from under me.

And so I freeze, bite my nails, feel exhausted.

Yet at peace… strangely.  For I am ready.

I know that the spinning in place also helps the inner critic inside me to rise, causing me to over-think my current book as I prepare a presentation for my agent.  I find myself wanting to succumb to self-doubt.

And so I freeze, bite my nails down to the quick, feel exhausted.

Yet still at peace.  For I am ready.

And I am taking care to take care.  Reminding myself to stand in my successful self.  To remember to trust that magic.

Yes- to TRUST.

To just LIVE.

But it’s hard.  It is a weighty time.  Especially in the fall.  The anniversaries come quick this time of year- like Dad’s death October 25, my kitty October 29, Molly’s suicide November 6…

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My mother- today.

My mother. My God.  7 years ago- today.

So much to process there.  And that is certainly a large part of the personal exploration I am on.

I acknowledge the umbilical cord.

I adore my mom.  Miss my mom.  Fear my mom.  Love my mom.  Learned so much from my mom.

As I go further and further back into the past (more on that journey later), I am gathering clues and connecting the dots as to why I am who I am, made the choices I have made, found myself in certain situations, found myself powerless at times, why I am drawn to the therapeutic work I do, why I am drawn to researching crime, why I am drawn to my main character, Molly- why Molly chose me

So much of it all is intertwined in my relationship with my mom.

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Mom’s unfinished tapestry…
And so I’m spinning in place.

Yet at peace.  For I am ready.

And I feel it is key for me to try to UNDERSTAND all this– at least to acknowledge and explore, for that may, just maybe, make my spinning stop.

I am so much part of Molly’s story and to write it- I need to know why.

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I recall all of a sudden, a childhood dream!

I believe I may have been at age 5 or 6 (before moving to Canada). I know I was very young at the time.

In the dream, Mom and I walk along a gravel road in the middle of a large field. Large empty lots on either side. In the distance- mountains. The lots are empty, unkempt, and overgrown, with knee-high beige dry grass. We are on a single gravel road in the undeveloped giant field, and the road ends as a cul-de sac.  There are no buildings.  In fact, I don’t see any buildings anywhere.  It appears that the lots sit empty, but will be used some time in the future.  The centre of the cul-de-sac has a roundabout island, also overgrown with 6-foot tall grasses- some green.

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As the dream unfolds, the action loops- we sometimes walk along the right, counterclockwise around the cul-de-sac, or along the left, clockwise… the gravel road and our direction of walking points north.

As we walk around the roundabout island, I am holding my mom’s hand. I am about 5 years old.  I feel like I should be scared.  We continue to loop- walk down the road again, walk around the roundabout island.  I am still holding my mom’s hand.

Finally, we come across a rotting corpse. A human corpse.

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Photo: public domain
The events re-occur again and again. Looping. We walk, we walk, we come across the corpse.

The dream is recurring within the dream.

I am aware that it should be a nightmare, but somehow, it isn’t.  Instead, I am filled with curiosity- as long as I hold my mom’s hand.

The corpse shows decomposition, maybe several weeks old.  Teeth exposed.  I am not scared.  As long as I hold mom’s hand.  I crouch down and look closer…

Was that the first moment I heard the calling to investigate the silent voices of the dead?  To peel back the human psyche to search for clues between the lines, to not take any clue for granted?  Was the dream an awakening of the curiosity gene I inherited from my mom?

It was my first look into the dark side.

I am still on that path.  Spinning.

Dedicated to my mother Karin September 17, 1936 – November 8, 2008 and my father Roar August 8, 1930 – October 25, 2012. And my sweet cat Violet who passed October 29, 2014.
Dedicated to my mother Karin September 17, 1936 – November 8, 2008 and my father Roar August 8, 1930 – October 25, 2012. And my sweet cat Violet who passed October 29, 2014.

Connections and Creativity: The Inner Critic at the Centre for Peace Feb 23 #yvr

We had a fantastic session on January 26, 2015:

CONNECTIONS & CREATIVITY USING VALUES, MINDMAPPING and AUTHENTIC NETWORKING

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Announcing our next Connections and Creativity session:

THE INNER CRITIC

Buy tickets at EVENTBRITE

Laura Mack and Kat Thorsen invite you to experience a deeper connection to self, tap into your creativity and connect with others at a truly authentic level in their new series: Connections and Creativity.  Laura and Kat share tools and practices with you, in an experiential format that will enrich your personal and professional lives.  And, if you value FUN, then this is the right event for you!

Welcome to Connections and Creativity!

 —

February 23, 2015

CONNECTIONS & CREATIVITY:

THE INNER CRITIC, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

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On February 23, 2015, we will be gathering at the Centre for Peace at the corner of Burrard and 16th from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM to dive deep into the exploration of The Inner Critic.

This exciting 2.5 hour interactive gathering will examine the the question:

 HOW IS YOUR INNER CRITIC LIMITING YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LIFE?

During the evening, we will take you through a series of delicious tools that guide you to:

• Define “The Inner Critic” as it means to you

• Reflect on those definitions in group

• Use humorous and profound creative expression tools to ask your Inner Critic:

Who do you think you are?

 Shift your thinking as you address your Inner Critic with compassion

• Take away action plans to build on your new relationship with your Inner Critic.

We will provide you with all the supplies you need!  Tea will be provided.  We encourage you to bring your own snacks!

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Laura Mack is a business consultant, facilitator and writer.  She has a broad understanding of both the rewards and challenges of entrepreneurial life as well as the corporate and non-profit sectors. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with ‘netweaving’, actively connecting those with similar interests and activities.  She also is a volunteer facilitator of restorative justice with the North Shore Restorative Justice Society.

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Katarina (Kat) Thorsenis an artist, craftivist and therapeutic art facilitator, passionate in her belief that art can heal and build connections.  Kat specializes in arts-based programming for at-risk youth and young offenders.  Her interactive art events and street art encourages participants to become part of the creative process.  Kat’s own artwork can be found in private collections in North America and Europe.  She published her first book, Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Artin 2013.  Her next book is a true crime analysis in the form of a graphic novel.  Kat resides in Vancouver, Canada.

Connections

TESTIMONIAL FOR CONNECTIONS AND CREATIVITY:

Kat and Laura bring together a wealth of experience from two very different but wonderfully compatible approaches to coaching and facilitation. They create a welcoming and safe space and draw on their passions of netweaving and creativity to encourage participants to engage with each and together explore the workshop content. Very inspiring stuff! I recommend these workshops to anyone open to learning a bit more about themselves and others as they build some useful life skills in a group environment. – James Thomas

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INNER CRITIC Series Part 4 of 6: CAUTERIZE #journalexercise

The inner critic is always worth a revisit.  I have broken the series into 6 parts:

1. RANT

2. JUDGE

3. INVESTIGATE

4. CAUTERIZE

5. TEASE

6. EMBRACE

Each exercise starts with a journal entry and/or mindmap.  Then we look at the emotions that come up as we share openly.  I encourage you to experiment by sharing your thoughts in the comments here.  Share your rants and judgements.  Judge me freely; judge yourself.  It’s all good.  Let’s demystify.  Let’s take off the mask.  Let’s remove the hesitation.

INNER CRITIC series part 3 of 6: INVESTIGATE

In PART 1 we ranted without hesitation.  We let the ugly out.  We then identified certain emotions that came up.

In PART 2 we dug a little deeper into the emotions that came up, laying out the evidence for judicial review.

In PART 3 we examined the facts to get to some truths.

You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.

― Iyanla Vanzant, Yesterday, I Cried

Sometimes the truth can hurt.  Sometimes pulling off the scab can reveal a wound we are not always ready to address.  So today- let’s slow down.  Let’s cauterize the wound.  Write, mindmap or draw out what this means to you.

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Pick an animal symbol that resonates with you today.  Research it.  What lessons can you learn?  This is good brain gym.

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REMINDER:

You are worth of love and belonging.

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INNER CRITIC series Part 3 of 6: INVESTIGATE #journalexercise

The inner critic is always worth a revisit.  I have broken the series into 6 parts:

1. RANT

2. JUDGE

3. INVESTIGATE

4. CAUTERIZE

5. TEASE

6. EMBRACE

Each exercise starts with a journal entry and/or mindmap.  Then we look at the emotions that come up as we share openly.  I encourage you to experiment by sharing your thoughts in the comments here.  Share your rants and judgements.  Judge me freely; judge yourself.  It’s all good.  Let’s demystify.  Let’s take off the mask.  Let’s remove the hesitation.

INNER CRITIC series part 3 of 6: INVESTIGATE

In PART 1 we ranted without hesitation.  We let the ugly out.  We then identified certain emotions that came up.

In PART 2 we dug a little deeper into the emotions that came up, laying out the evidence for judicial review.

If you judge, investigate. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Today let’s carry out a systematic or formal inquiry to discover and examine the facts of so as to establish the truth.

Go back to your mindmap:

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Focus in on one particular branch/emotion.

I chose:

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Create a new mindmap around the branch you decided to focus on and in a stream of consciousness way, elaborate on your investigation. [Ideally you do this for every branch of your Part 2 mindmap.]

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We often shy away from digging deep as it may expose truths we are just too scared or too tired to address.  We tend to doubt ourselves.  Our abilities.  Our freedom to express openly.

But have fun with it.  Is there some kind of truth/lesson that comes up as you address that emotion that resulted from your Part 1 rant?  Is there something new to learn?

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 Truth: A lot of my issues simply come from a need to control that which I could never and never will be able to control.  

It is by doubting that we come to investigate, and by investigating that we recognize the truth. – Peter Abelard

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REMINDER:

You are worth of love and belonging.

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Inner Critic Series Part 2: JUDGE #journalexercise #mindmap

INNER CRITIC SERIES PARTS 1-6:

The inner critic is always worth a revisit.  I have broken the series into 6 parts:

1. RANT

2. JUDGE

3. INVESTIGATE

4. CAUTERIZE

5. TEASE

6. EMBRACE

Each exercise starts with ajournal entry and/or mindmap.  Then we look at the emotions that come up as we share openly.  I encourage you to experiment by sharing your thoughts in the comments here.  Share your rants and judgements.  Judge me freely; judge yourself.  It’s all good.  Let’s demystify.  Let’s take off the mask.  Let’s remove the hesitation.

INNER CRITIC series part 2 of 6: JUDGE

In PART 1 we ranted without hesitation.  We let the ugly out.  We then identified certain emotions that came up.

My emotions that came up:

• Self-blame

• Shame

• Anger

• Laughter

• Empowerment

• Embarrassment

Draw your words on a mindmap:

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IMG_1571Now dig a little deeper and address each branch and bubble on your mindmap.

JUDGE:

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Judge judiciously.  Research.  Look up quotes that pertain to the emotions that came up for you.  See which emotion feeds the other.  Are there themes?  Judge them fairly and freely.  Let’s disclose and weigh.  Let’s let the facts speak.  Bring in all the evidence.  Voir dire.  Are we ready for the investigative stage (Part 3)?  Prove that you are able to only consider the truth.

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REMINDER:

You are worth of love and belonging.

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INNER CRITIC series part 1 of 6: RANT! #journalexercise

I have visited and revisited the inner critic here on my blog again and again.  The inner critic is a good friend of mine.  And also a pain in the ass.

Recall the journal exercises in  “TAMING THE INNER CRITIC” JOURNAL EXERCISE REVISITED

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But the inner critic is always worth a revisit.  I’ve been mulling over this particular journaling series and weighing what it is I’d like to share with you and why.  And to do it in a new way.  So I have broken the series into 6 parts:

1. RANT

2. JUDGE

3. INVESTIGATE

4. CAUTERIZE

5. TEASE

6. EMBRACE

Each exercise starts with ajournal entry and/or mindmap.  Then we look at the emotions that come up as we share openly.  I encourage you to experiment by sharing your thoughts in the comments here.  Share your rants and judgements.  Judge me freely; judge yourself.  It’s all good.  Let’s demystify.  Let’s take off the mask.  Let’s remove the hesitation.

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INNER CRITIC series part 1 of 6: RANT:

As always I share myself here freely.  This was a rant I wrote on the weekend.  I was going to delete it.  Was going to cross it out.  But instead, in the spirit of allowing me to VOICE what churns inside, I will share it.  Then in the spirit of this exercise, I will share the emotions that come up for me.

JOURNAL EXERCISE: RANT WITHOUT HESITATION.  DON’T WORRY ABOUT AUDIENCE. OR ABOUT COMING OFF AS ENTITLED OR WHATEVER.  EXPRESS FREELY.  LET THE UGLY OUT.

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MY JOURNAL ENTRY (unedited):

Do we always need to let go?  To trust the universe?  I’m kind of sick of it, honestly.  All this accepting, trusting, allowing.

Yet I am also tired of fighting for what I am worth and tired of trying again.  Tired of the signals that want to prove to me I am incapable.  Tired of talking.  Tired of digging deep.

Tired of this:

“Here’s another idea.  Let’s try this.  Oh, it didn’t work?  That’s OK.  Let it go.  You tried too hard.  Let it unfold.”

BLAH

Why does a watched pot never boil?  BOIL DAMMIT.

Or maybe this all means, I actually haven’t dug deep enough.  Tried enough.  I’ve been digging.  I’ve been trying.  But maybe I’ve been too much of a pussy.  Maybe  I have no idea how to let go. Maybe I don’t really believe I am worth more than $1800/month.   Asch.  BLAH BLAH BLAH.

In 2015, I want to MAKE MONEY.  I want to be able to say- wow- I deserve this for I believe I am worth this and my bank account reflects that.  

I don’t want my current salary to be the proving of my theorem that I am incapable of being paid more.  I don’t want to depend on my kids.  I don’t want to check the mail box anymore for hopes of scraps.  I no longer want to be proven that “you know, really, creative arts and youth work don’t deserve to receive more- yeah… you do great things, but isn’t the goodness of it the real reward?”  I don’t want to hear about budgets and lack there of.  I don’t want accolades for work well done while still having my heart in my throat about not being able to pay the rent.

I don’t want to chase.  I want it to come to me.  I don’t want to ask.  I want to receive!

I KNOW WE ALL STRUGGLE.  I don’t want anyone to struggle.  I know the world is a beautiful and horrifying place.

Yet, stop.  

I remember to breathe.  To pat myself on the back for journaling it out.  To remind myself to trust, allow, expand…

Ah, fuck it.  What do I know?

I look around and am reminded of my beautiful, messy creative life.  I savour it.  You know, I love that I am a messy creative that struggles.  I love that I affect people positively as they awaken to their own possibilities.

I wouldn’t change anything about the journey that brings me to this moment.

OK, breathe.  I am grateful.  But I’ll just go check the mailbox one more time.

EMOTIONS THAT RESULT AS YOU REVIEW : WHAT COMES UP FOR YOU AS YOU READ BACK?  WE WILL ADDRESS THESE IN PART 2.

MY EMOTIONS:

• Self-blame

• Shame

• Anger

• Laughter

• Empowerment

• Embarrassment

REMINDER:

You are worth of love and belonging.
You are worth of love and belonging.

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Sacred Contracts Journaling Exercise Part 4a of 8: what is your true nature?

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SACRED CONTRACTS JOURNALING EXERCISE SERIES

PART 4a OF 8

WHAT IS YOUR TRUE NATURE?

We are tapping into our calling, our purpose, our joy in this SACRED CONTRACTS journal series.  It is inspired by Caroline Myss.  The journal series is  an experiment on my part, and I welcome you to join along.

Recall Part 1: Future and Present where we took time to look at where we would like to be, and where we are in this moment.

In Part 2: Where are your energy leaks? we focused on our body signals and biography makes biology. 

In Part 3: What Masks Do We Wear? we examined the masks we wear to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.

Today we examine our true nature.  What is it?

What does true nature really mean?

Is it tapping in to the inner child‘s endless appetite for curious exploration?

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Is it the strength that resides deep within our heart, that resonates with our authentic voice?

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Is it the idyllic peace of enlightenment as we connect fully with the world around us?

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What does TRUE NATURE mean to you?

Write for a few minutes or draw it out.

For me, my true nature is the scared, overwhelmed teenager within that wanders around in the hallways of my brain.  She’s torn and worn, and used and bruised.  And she’s always there wandering.

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But I accept that.  I accept her.  I love her.  She’s what makes me me.  She keeps me on my toes.  She’s in my laughter and in my heartache.  She’s in my tears and in my soul’s eye.  She’s sensitive and creative.

Even if you never consciously grapple with these questions about your true nature, certain circumstances will require you to pay attention. Life delivers you a series of challenges in the form of small and large good fortune, as well as petty and great misfortune. In the struggle to learn how to respond to the resulting joy, pain, and confusion, you are repeatedly challenged to seek and to act from your essence.

Dharma Wisdom

 

“Taming the inner critic” Part 5 #acceptance #dialogue

Taming the Inner Critic PART 5- coming to a place of acceptance

Now that you have built a relationship with your inner critic, it’s time to sit down together and have an honest dialogue.  Stream of consciousness.  Let go of defensiveness.  Stop fighting.  Stop giving it all the power.  Accept the role you play.  Accept the gifts it brings to you.

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Recall Taming the inner critic PARTS 1-4:

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“Taming the inner critic” journal exercise revisited.

PART 1:

With your dominant hand write all those nasty things your inner critic hacks away at you.

With your non-dominant hand, tell the inner critic off, tame it, write positive things about yourself.

This exercise allows those racing thoughts to purge out on paper with the hand you usually write with. Forcing yourself to write positive with your other hand, brings out the inner child who does not judge, allows you the time to slow down and concentrate. IT’S BRAIN GYM!

All you really need is the courage to be yourself. Your real value is rooted in who you are, not what you do. The only thing you need actually do is express your real self to the world.

~ Steve Pavlina, Personal Development for Smart People

PART 2:

Dance between taming the inner critic and it taming you. Allow it to guide you and also shut it up. Control it and let go. Be a bitch with it and befriend it. The critic has a life of its own, and needs its voice, but do not allow absolute power.

… Alas! though bards make verse sublime,
And lines to quote,
It takes a fool like me to rhyme
About a goat.

Robert William Service

PART 3:

Just sit in front of your journal and breathe. Now start drawing (or writing) without thought. Where does the journey take you if you release the obstacles the inner critic tries to place in your way?

PART 4:

Self-harm and inner critic exercise (with Jennifer Lyons).

Reflect on the reason we inflict pain on ourselves. Find a partner and sit and chat about your own versions of the inner critic. Chat about self-harm and what it means to you and hear and make note of how your partner expresses him or herself.

Numbing self… Am I alive? Am I real? Do I exist? Eliminate the pain by numbing self… The numbness becomes intolerable… Regain control by inflicting pain… Escapism… No one can see the pain on the inside, so make a physical manifestation… Invincibility… Regret… Shame. Guilt. Anger… Push those that care away as they don’t deserve to see your shame… The blame, shame game… Triggers and coping skills… The feelings are real…

Draw the human figure.

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Play with the image, cut it out. Glue it in your journal or on a board and process the inner critic around it.

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Jennifer processed with her usual full-on creative self. Always such a joy to watch.

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By Jennifer Lyons

It felt like I had to write for this process yet I also wanted to draw. This frustrated me initially. My writing within the piece reflects how I interpret how people see me. How I see my insides. I envision it uglier than what actually comes out. My perception is harsher.

– Jennifer Lyons

The Goat and I. Taming the Inner Critic Part 2. #arttherapy

Recall: Taming the Inner Critic Part 1

It’s been an interesting few days, dancing between taming the inner critic and it taming me.  Allowing it to guide me and shutting it up.  Controlling it  and letting go.  Being a bitch with it and befriending it.  I realize the critic has a life of its own, and needs its voice, but not absolute power.

… Alas! though bards make verse sublime,
And lines to quote,
It takes a fool like me to rhyme
About a goat. 

Robert William Service
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Friday night journal exercise: taming the inner critic. #arttherapy

With your dominant hand write all those nasty things your inner critic hacks away at you.

With your non-dominant hand, tell the inner critic off, tame it, write positive things about yourself. 

This exercise allows those racing thoughts to purge out on paper with the hand you usually write with.  Forcing yourself to write positive with your other hand, brings out the inner child who does not judge, allows you the time to slow down and concentrate.  BRAIN GYM!

China marker, felt pen, coffee, acrylic

All you really need is the courage to be yourself. Your real value is rooted in who you are, not what you do. The only thing you need actually do is express your real self to the world. 

~ Steve Pavlina, Personal Development for Smart People