Visualize a treasure map leading to your creative dreams, or a specific project or goal. X marks the spot for creative adventure! Visit the Island of the Muses, sail the Sea of Ideas and catch a dream-fish or two, and set your course for adventure. There may be storms and squalls ahead — but know you are always safe here, and in control.
Name your creative demons. Do you suffer from procrastination, self-doubt, fears, and vicious Inner Critics? Let them be represented here as sea-monsters, storms. Picture your Inner Critics as a band of roving pirates, bent on hijacking your confidence, your inspiration, and your time. In this way, you can learn to deal with these pitfalls, and avoid them in the future.
Set sail on a sea of ink, and cast your nets for a dream-fish. Consult your map, and steer your course towards your goal. On the way you will encounter obstacles, so take a moment to meditate on the ways you will deal with threats to your creative soul-work. Think about the parts of your life that don't serve or support your creative soul-work. What stops you from living your most joyful, juicy creative dreams? Lack of time? Fear of rejection? Stress over money? A rampaging Inner Critic?
Rejection letters, bad reviews, botched assignments, and other creative crises can be a serious blow to your confidence. It can be tough to bounce back from artistic failures and mistakes but you must persevere. Take a moment to think about how you can become more resilient, and triumph over these obstacles. Creating a treasure map in your mind can help you see your artistic journey at a distance a very helpful perspective when skies grow stormy and the waters are rough.
With the right perspective, you can see these obstacles for what they truly are necessary steps along the creative path, which every artist must overcome in order to grow and thrive. Seeing the true nature of these pitfalls will allow you to navigate even the stormiest of seas.
Examine, if you dare, yourself and those around you. How do you support your own creative journey? Are there any ways in which you sabotage your work? Do you avoid expressing yourself when you have something important to say? Do you have any bad habits that pull your time away from creative pursuits? Addictions, fears, doubts, procrastination, lack of time and energy, stress all of these factors can play a role in your creative journey. Take a moment to identify these, and then represent them visually on the map.
What about your friends, loved ones, and colleagues? Your community? Do they support and inspire your work, or are they a destructive, negative influence? On your artistic journey, you must learn to steer clear of these hazards and obstacles. Learn to recognize the signs, and figure out how you're going to deal with these distractions.
Danger! The Swamp of Procrastination lies dead ahead. Don't get bogged down here. As you steer your ship south, a band of roving pirates appears, disguised as your friends. They're going to steal your time and you've got an important deadline coming up. Tempting as it might be to climb on board and sail away from your responsibilities, you've got to steer clear of their ship until that project is done.
Screen your calls, put your email on auto-respond, and batten down the hatches until that big project is done. When you've worked through some of these challenges mentally, it's much easier to deal with them in real time. What challenges you, blocks you, steals your time? Add these hazards to your map so you can deal with them, and leave only when you have visualized yourself achieving your goals and living your wildest whirlwind dreams. You may return to your dream-ship any time to sail these waters again, or when new hazards and challenges arise.
Next: Expansion Guided Imagery
©2011 Molly Anderson-Childers and Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.
Create a treasure map of your creative landscape. This project could be represented with a painting, a collage, or a simple sketch in your journal. One fun way to extend the project is to create ancient-looking paper to work on. Before you start to create, brew a pot of strong tea. Allow to cool in a large sheet pan. When cooled, dip sheets of thick paper into the tea for a few seconds. Hang to dry. You can even scorch the edges with a match, or drip more tea in different spots to give it an authentic look. When your map is complete, keep it in a prominent place to inspire your work and encourage you in dark times. The only true compass is the heart. Your creative work is a beacon, guiding you home.