Chapter XII

Don’t let those Bastards bring you down!

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“The rough translation, and expressly significant for artists is “Don’t let those Bastards bring you down.”

Don’t let those Bastards hunt you for having no money, for being too obsolete, too young or too foolish due to the will of wanting to be creative. Most especially, do not obsess over your inability to create, your lack of talent, of time and lack of audacity. As Nelson Mandela once put it “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” This is how and why we learn how to survive, and indeed we need to learn how to survive!

Quoting Julia Cameron in her book The Artist Way, “One of the most difficult tasks an artist must face is a primal one: artistic survival. All artists must learn the art of surviving loss; loss of hope, loss of faith, loss of money, loss of self-belief. In addition to our many gains, we inevitably suffer these losses in an artistic career. They are the hazards of the road and in many ways, it's signposted. Artistic losses can be turned into artistic gains and strengths – but not in the isolation of the beleaguered artist’s brain.”

Being an artist automatically makes you an idealist, however, when you realize things are never as they seem, that life does not cooperate with the way you think, this makes you most often become a martyr about such happenings. Therefore recharging batteries becomes essential in order to move forward and to eventually call for action. Never forget that you are at your best when you give yourself and what you have to others. You become a true role model, nevertheless just keep in mind that your too-muchness, your silliness, your painful, too eccentric, merely off-beat altruistic ventures may scare others, as this can easily become tiresome at times. Your original and inventive opinions may be seen as too dangerous, too progressive, and even though it is not your intention to came across as evasive, your possessiveness can sometimes diminish others around you. Artists are big fighters when their emotions are aroused. They are known for being impulsive, careless, reckless, foolhardy, rash and daring - all of this makes artists be regarded as dangerous, therefore society tends to bring artists down into the ordinary apparent reality. Too many creatives have faced far too much loss for centuries, they have been accused of being overly emotional, bitchy or stuck up. Too much space they take up… Throughout the history of mankind, several tortured artists have been shamed for their excessive wild streak, for their passionate-nature and extreme spirit.

According to Julia Cameron “Artistic creations are our brainchildren, artistic losses are our miscarriages. Woman suffer terribly, and privately, when losing a child who doesn’t come to be, and as artists, we suffer terrible losses when the book doesn’t sell when the film doesn’t get picked up when critics don’t quote or praise our paintings. The best pot shatters, the poems are not accepted, the ankle injury sidelines us for an entire dance season.” Those miscarriages may become “scar tissue that blocks artistic growth”. They are often “too painful, too silly, too humiliating in order to share and so to heal” when not acknowledged “they become, instead, secret losses”. All quotes from Julian Cameron´s book The Artist Way. That secret loses overshadow you, getting you lost in this illusionary rainbow that in fact is gone, gets you thorn, gets you lame, gets you in so much pain, it’s all in the frame. It’s the shape, it’s the prize of illusion never changing into something real. It drives you out of faith and you feel like you have no luck. Why me? You might ask yourself, as you never feel upset about what you imagine it to be. Emotions get activated from the same pattern and core beliefs, unconsciously made from those secret loses, those miscarriages that have been building up over time as a result of your fear and guilt. However what you believe to be the cause of your suffering is just the catalyzer of a momentary shit hole, an overwhelming mental and emotional state of too much mind which keeps wanting to hold on to that illusion, that rainbow that in fact is gone and won’t have peace as long as you keep on longing and holding on to your wounded childish heart.

Anger tells you that “ you should stop being caught in between this dream of action and fear of failure”. The action’s invitation calls out for strength. This is an invitation to test your capacity to hand over that situation. Either it is that person, that relationship, belief, or fear apart from the mind, by trusting that the same illusion that has rippled you will now be the very thing which comes to save you. You won’t let those bastards bring you down!

Illusion at its worst can tear you up. it dries you out, makes you cry, makes you cold and shamed, lying naked on the floor as Natalie Imbruglia wonderfully sings in “torn”. Now you might carry that cross from all your previous experiences, core values, beliefs, from fear, from guilt, shame or simply due to your too active self-destructive mind. It’s a tricky process with so much grief, such loss, and so many secrets loss. Secret losses that never change into something real are illusions that ultimately drive you out of faith. This lack of faith makes you "descend into the ashes". However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, illusion as faith might be the very thing that saves you, that pulls you out of the muck that has stuck you.“ Hope rises like a phoenix from the ashes of shattered dreams,” said S.A Sachs, In another word that light that you find at the end of the tunnel is hope, is pretty much faith and yet an illusion. The kind of illusion that will give you the will to fight for life. As the author, Rumi smartly quotes “you have seen my descend, now watch my rising”. Einstein told us that there is “no time or space”, as well as “happiness comes and goes” and that “life is merely an illusion” but as Emily Esfahani Smith beautifully points out in her Ted talk (there’s more to life than being happy). The truth is that “when life is really good and when things are really bad, having meaning gives us something to hold on to”. In this fairytale called life, which is also called an illusion, as much as the meaning is an illusion too. However, I'm convinced that this fairytale called life story tells the kind of meaning that steps beyond yourself - lifts you above the hustle and bustle of our daily life to make up your too active mind; your sense of self and ego fade away. Consequently, the same illusion that might make you flounder, the one that kills you softly when connected to a higher reality can also transcend you. This illusion is at last transcendence. Transcendence can come from "God", from a Goddess, the universe or whatever religion which may work out for you, but it can also come from appreciating art, through architecture, sculpture, painting, poetry, music, dance, astrology or through writing. Transcendence is whatever makes you lose the sense of time and space and here is where art is born and illusion plays its role. Pablo Picasso said that “Art washes away the soul the dust of everyday life” therefore for the good or for the worst, art and ultimately your secret loses, your deceptions, always force or compel you towards change. For instance, this illusion is no less or more than our imagination and this is where spirituality meets creativity and crosses over into forms of geniality, since it states those rare moments when you realize that you won't have peace as long as you keep on pursuing your human lonesomeness, perhaps longing for your wounded child or heart from within. Emily Smith believes that “Those transcendent experiences can change you and lead you to find the good that sustains you”, as long as you choose to free yourself from all the painful memories, from what you gain, what you lost and so forth. You won't change your story overnight, she says, it takes years and entails a painful process, but embracing that fairytale called life can lead you to new insights and wisdom as much as it might be what gives you the reason to live... That "staying alive" always starts and ends with love; “Love is the bridge between you and everything” don’t let those bastards bring you down “Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction”, that’s what Rumi would tell you.