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Shelley Klammer : Creatively Persist

Creatively Persist

By Shelley Klammer

Birthing Creative Will

"The truth of the matter is many of us are not very strong. We are often timid, fearful and apprehensive — quivering in the shadow of life's pressures, or cowering before those who abuse us.

Because of our psychological weakness, we are unable to cope with life's circumstances, which prevents us from moving forward and finding our true potential. As a result we become world weary and fatalistic believing we are helpless victims of an existence that is determined to crush us." — Roy Posner

I did this drawing several years ago and I thought it was about anger but some of my readers thought this drawing displayed a beautiful strength of will. I must say I would now agree. This drawing very much illustrates how I feel these days. It is as though I have a fiery strong creative will birthing in my being.

The Creativity of The Light and the Dark

I feel very connected and trusting these days to the creative interplay of dark and light energies and the enormity of how we all have everything inside of us. We are all part of the grand interplay of light and dark. Anything that is left unaccepted inside will be experienced "out there" in the world.

This summer I have been reading an excellent book on creativity by Peter Clothier called Persist [read excerpt]. He writes about "the survival of the creative spirit that rewards only a lucky few." I am quite lucky in that my "day job" is quite creative. Yet for the past few years I have been dealing with an intense workplace bully who judged and criticized my work on a regular basis.

In the past I would have just quit at the slightest provocation, but my work has felt meaningful to me on many levels. I work in one of the few fully equipped and government funded art studios for the elderly in Canada. My work environment is bright and visually beautiful. As much as I dislike the rigors of a unionized hospital environment, it is one of the good places in the world.

When I first started coming up against the criticism I felt defensive, angry and victimized and I could not see myself in the interaction. At first the criticism all seemed so unfair and wrong. But something else was at play. There was something infinitely more creative and much deeper to look at.

I took the time to see how my inner life corresponded to my outer life. I realized with great surprise at how hard I was on myself internally. I found that I was easily shamed. I found that I was highly sensitive to criticism. It devastated me. I found that I bowed and bended to the winds of opinion and that I cared way too much about what other people thought of me.

As hard as it was to face my inner voices, my goal was to heal this pattern of judgment and criticism within me and without me so I could rightfully move forward in my life. As I integrated my inner life with my outer life I asked the same question again and again — "What part do I play in this drama?" Approaching any situation in life with such creativity and accountability is always an act of perseverance and dedication.

Persisting with Purpose

Peter Clothier writes, "Of all the disciplines involved, I think persistence is the most important and possibly the most difficult. There will inevitably be many distractions and many disappointments as I work, any which can weaken my resolve. Persistence is a rejection of distraction and and excuse that comes along and a return of my attention to the task at hand. It's a refusal to be deterred from the purpose I have set for myself. It is a quiet insistence on the pursuit of this particular goal."

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