Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Personal Space

Dug into my library and pulled out WALKING IN THIS WORLD: The Practical Art of Creativity, by Julia Cameron, and renewed my aquaintance with that volume by looking in the table of contents then turning to the chapter that addresses my current dilemma. Chapter 5 is "Discovering a Sense of Personal Territory," and made me cry to read it. Section 1 is "Sexuality vs Caretaking" and explains one of the reasons I've been so down lately. I quote from the book: "Creative energy and sexual energy are both our personal energy. Our use of them is private, and to pretend otherwise is debilitating and abusive. In point of fact, the two energies are so closely intertwined, they may be experienced as nearly identical. We conceive children and we concieve creative projects. Both energies are sacred. They spring from the same source, our inner core. Our creative energy, like our sexual energy, must not be sqandered. And yet, we are often asked to do just that." Ms Cameron goes on to say that, as artists, we should respect our own need for personal space and not let others--no matter how much we love them--steal that energy from us on a continual basis. She gives us permission to say, "No, not now." In the following chapter, she adds, "Contrary to mythology about us, artists are generous, often overly generous [ain't that the truth!]. We listen to others deeply, sometimes too deeply for our own good. We are susceptible to their hurt feelings and their pouting when we withdraw, and so sometimes we do listen to them even as our creative energy ebbs out of our own life and into theirs [yup!]. This creates exhaustion, irritation, and, finally, rage. It's not that we are unwilling to share our time and attention. It is that people must give us the courtsey of listening accurately to our needs about when and how we can do it. We may have huge energy stores, but they are our energy stores and we have the right to determine along what lines we want our energies to flow. For this reason, we may need to draw more boundaries than many people, and those who love us must be conscious that unless they can respect this, they are not a freind at all." So, even though I'm supposed to be responsible for my day-job 24-7, I think I'm going to start saying, "Hey, guys--I'm not answering the telephone any more from 7-9 on weekday mornings; and if you don't like it...grow up, please. I need my space."


Blogger Constance said...

Hey KC,

Good mini review. Very interesting concept. I've played with meyers briggs and other personality type identifiers, but none really touch on the problems of being an artist, writer, etc. Which is why when I have to go from work to a meeting, I tend to get snarky. No decompression time.
I think you do need to set boundaries, or work will consume you.


12:12 PM  
Blogger KC Heath said...

It's hard to shift gears with grace. Sometimes I think I need a transmission overhaul. One more thing to run through that filter in the mind that is supposed to strain thoughts before they become behavior of which we don't approve. --sigh--

1:48 PM  
Blogger Constance said...

You really need to invest in a few video games like Halo. *g* Slaughter aliens and suddenly the world rights itself again.


4:45 PM  
Blogger KC Heath said...

I have other things that work for me... I've never been into games of any kind--probably because I was an only child.

Right now I have this really fantastic book I picked up at B&N that has loads of pictures in it and great science explanations for the pictures. My muse is simmering...

9:27 AM  

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