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Woo Hoo … got my Creativity Cards in the mail this week!  Each one in the collection of 64 cards contains a quote from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, offering insight, inspiration and creative direction. Whenever I’m in the mood (it won’t be daily) I’ll pull a card at random and share my reactions.

The Comment Box

I hope you’ll use the comment box to contribute your insights.

… TODAY’S CARD …

Perfectionism … an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole.

Yikes! An ironic beginning since I’ve been consciously working at getting ‘unstuck from the details’ most of my adult life. I remember being about ten years old when this pattern of unrealistic expectations began. I was sitting at the kitchen table drawing a daffodil over and over until I threw the pages in the coal stove weeping softly as they burned.  Any overt display of emotions had serious consequences in my house back then. All this self-induced pain because someone said it was nice, my naïve internal code for not good enough. When nothing is ever good enough, nothing ever satisfies.

The Root of Procrastination

Perfectionism is the root of procrastination. Procrastination sucks the life out of motivation. A new painting or writing project can trigger my ‘getting started fears’. It seems overwhelming, or rather, the details do. I leap into the piece with passion but still get that overwhelming shaky-gut feeling that it’s a waste of time, or a dumb idea or the worst, that I don’t have what it takes to pull it off. Oh the power of that inner critic when fueled by perfectionism!

But Wait … there’s more help!

indexI’m learning to shush my ruthless self critic thanks to another book. My body spent decades wrestling with the physical woes of the perfectionistic nonsense my mind generated (migraines mostly).

In the early 1990’s I discovered a great book to help those who need to be perfect: Perfectionism: A Sure Cure For Happiness (see link below). The book is addressed to anyone, like me, who is caught up in the illusory pursuit of the unrealistic and unattainable standard of perfection.  It presents a clear understanding of perfectionism’s causes, manifestations and effects paired with proven suggestions and techniques leading to awareness and recovery.

This morning I ordered a custom canvas to be stretched in preparation to do my biggest painting ever (38″ X 58″), and I have butterflies in my tummy. Ten years ago I would have called back and cancelled the order. Hell, I probably wouldn’t even have ordered it.

Sources and Resources: