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Goal Setting and Resistance in the Creative Process Discipline or Willingness?

 

Guest articles > Goal Setting and Resistance in the Creative Process Discipline or Willingness?

 

by: Barbara Bowen

 

As an artist and art career consultant, I encounter goal setting issues daily. When it comes to goal setting for artists, the word "discipline" can present problems. Webster defines the word in these terms: a systematic method to obtain obedience; submission to rules and authority; punishment intended to train or correct. For many of us, whether we are artists, in related art careers, or in other ways deeply involved with the creative process, discipline is like taking a dose of caster oil. Admonishing ourselves into action, we "force it down" in the attempt to fuel our creativity and reach our goals. But this approach is problematic.

Discipline is born of resistance. In itself, resistance is not negative, and is certainly not a character flaw. In fact, it is an inherent link in the cyclical chain of one's creative process. In life, we all must move through varying degrees of resistance in order to make space for the kind of creative inspiration leading to that delicious natural high we call "flow." As we learn to move through resistances effectively, we find ourselves developing creative momentum, an important ingredient for goal setting and for reaching goals successfully.

Why then, does discipline so often fail us? Why does it bring on a tangle of inner conflict, stress and guilt that hinders momentum and flow, or even stops our creativity in its tracks? I believe the answer is that discipline is often applied in opposition to resistance. When we oppose our resistance, we compound tension and perfectionism. We get mired in expectations and focused on outcomes, and thus, we miss the joy of creating in the moment. The discipline that was intended to bring mastery and success in our creative process, in fact, brings discontent and fatigue.

Since the word "discipline" is highly charged in regards to the creative process, I prefer to use the word "willingness" to help describe a new approach. Willingness can be cultivated, with patience. It takes a little time, but the rewards are great, indeed. In a state of willingness, our tensions loosen and our creative joy increases.

Here's how it works:

In goal setting, often resistance sets in. When it does, we choose to call upon the "awareness mind." The inner eye simply observes the resistance: non-judgmentally, creating a soft "container" for it. Like a meditation in motion, the awareness mind accepts resistance with no struggle. Ironically, acceptance of the resistance will loosen and melt it. We push nothing away. We gently shift our focus back to the task at hand, while allowing the resistance to dissolve. We waste no time pushing it away, and we avoid a draining struggle. The resistance is allowed to simply float off and dissolve on its own.

As we practice this shifting process, we notice resistance floating off more easily and more often. It no longer devolves into a pesky demon that gains control over our creative endeavors. Conflict, life stress and guilt begin to fade. Goal setting in our creative process becomes easier. Resistance is replaced by more and more calm, and more flow. We begin to recover long lost pangs of creative inspiration when we wake in the morning. In our career, we define the word "success" on our own terms, we become empowered to take action, focus, and let go of outcomes. We surrender and engage with our creativity, moment by moment. If we stay loyal to this practice, one day we will notice that the discipline associated with goal setting in our creative process has become...our willingness.

 


Article by Barbara Bowen of http://www.GatewaysToCreativity.com - the definitive source for Art Career Help. Contact Barbara with your questions about creativity and creative art career coaching. She would love to hear from you.


Contributor: Barbara Bowen

Published here on: 16-Nov-08

Classification: Creativity, Development

Website: http://www.GatewaysToCreativity.com

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