A Conversation with the Creative Unconscious.

As an INFP, I love doing a variety of things, and can multi-task like a champion. To paraphrase from the description of this personality type, INFPs never seem to lose their sense of wonder. One might say we see life through rose-colored glasses. It’s as though we live at the edge of a looking-glass world where mundane objects come to life, where flora and fauna take on near-human qualities.There are others like us out there – who become interested and adept at a variety of things and like a new puppy happily jump from one thing to another. We are also multi-talented.  And sometimes we have to stop and back up, and sleep.  The following is a dialogue, in a Dear Abby kind of way,  that I shamelessly stole from the SheWrites blog Creative Catalyst and revised it to fit my own conversation with my creative unconscious:
Dear Creative Unconscious:
 It’s only the first week of the academic year, and I’m feeling swamped already! Is painting and gardening and mentoring and facilitating workshops and training volunteers in addition to pastoral counseling a dodge from my main work as a writer? Is it a secret wish for failure? Or a fear of success?- Swamped in Memphis

Dear SM:
 That depends on your motivation and how you manage time and energy. Does fear not being enough lead you toward distraction? More practically, are you over-committing yourself?
SM: I don’t want to say no when someone asks me to do something, but I certainly say it plenty. I want to help people.  Do you think this is the unconscious pursuit of something?
CU: Wholeness, as I see it. But there is only so much of you to go around. Your quest leads to fragmentation rather than wholeness.
SM: I want to feel that expressing myself as a writer is enough. I want to feel worthy without having to add another layer—say, becoming a hero for the downtrodden before I can be a worthy writer.
CU: It’s a bitch to be an artist in our linear world! Be careful not to internalize judgments from well-meaning volunteers, family and friends. Sure, it’s okay to be the writer you are without another layer. You don’t have to prove yourself to feel worthy. Layering springs from a creative impulse and is a quest for richness. Simpler is easier. But now all the richness, wholeness, and layering is a part of you and your writing. Do not renounce an iota of the richness yet continue to focus. Do what you can without going crazy.
SM: How can I know if I’m sidestepping commitment, or avoiding success? What if I am unconsciously afraid of success?
CU: Ask yourself if some fear leads toward your seeking distraction.
SM: If I were truly committed to my writing, wouldn’t I do something like go on a month-long writer’s retreat and dive deep into myself?
CU: Not necessarily. You don’t have to prove yourself by undertaking extraordinary steps. Staying home and doing your work is enough. However, I love the self-guided writing retreat idea! You could even volunteer during your retreat! Does mentoring, your secondary interest, feed your primary writing interest? If so, you’re on a path that will serve your work.
SM: Oh, yes. For me, the smiles and words of the girls in writing workshops embody the rhythms and richness of language. I know that mentoring helps reduce my stress. It makes me feel alive and healthy (as does painting). Plus, it’s fun to be in community with women. Even when we speak different languages, writing unites us.
CU: It’s rejuvenating— your personal Fountain of Youth.
SM: Yes! But how can I tell when studying with a good writing mentor myself will help me, and when it’s more of me hiding from what I know?
CU: Take stock of what you know now. You are wise. Do you need to know more in order to go further? Claim your authority, and just do it. Perhaps later you’ll benefit from a mentor, or another class, or another workshop.
SM: My new resolution is to focus on my writing in the coming months Instead of spinning off in so many different directions.
CU: Focusing your prodigious talent and energies makes perfect sense. Go easy on yourself, and let your work flow.  Say “No” before you say yes. It’s easier to change your mind.

What are you thoughts on the fear of success?

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