Posts tagged #the artist's way

Your searing pain + the unnerving real reasons my book is so cheap

Your searing pain

You stall on projects that are dear to you.  You sometimes wake up feeling a kind of angst which you know has driven other great minds to suicide. You sense there's a huge disconnect between what matters most to your heart and what seems to matter to the rest of the world and that feeling of disconnect fucking hurts.

 

I know that hurt, and I know how to overcome it, a day at a time.  I've written a book.  It's called Awesome Your Life: The Artist's Antidote to Suffering Genius. And I don't mean "suffering genius" lightly as in "whininess." I mean "suffering genius" as in "life-threatening alienation and terror." It's an existential phenomenon that I take seriously. Dear, amazing friends of mine have murdered themselves via overdose or suicide because they couldn't cope with the pain of living with their own sensitive and visionary minds.

 

Because it is such a real and dangerous problem, the solution to the pain of suffering genius isn't easy. The book leads you through a difficult and harrowing hero's journey wherein you learn how to experience ecstatic joy and consistent creative flow by facing the trials and invitations of your unconscious. Only there's something kind of unnervingly weird about my book.

 

The weirdness is that my book is very cheap. 99 cents.

 

There are a lot of things in this world that cost 99 cents and suck.  Like "food" on McDonald's value menu. Or potentially toxic toys made in China. Or Justin Bieber's songs on iTunes, which my best friend Gloria inexplicably loves. My book, however, does not suck. It actually rather rocks, as these thoughtful reviews attest.

 

The unnerving real reasons my book is so cheap

So why, if my book rocks so stunningly hard, does it cost 99 cents? The answer has to do with my radical politics and pulse-pounding hope. Here, in no particular order, yet in a satisfyingly numbered fashion, are the shocking reasons:

 

  1. I want to live in a gift economy. So the book is a gift. There are books and programs for increasing creativity available online that cost more than a hundred dollars.  My book, I can say within all honesty and modesty, is thoroughly as good or better than these. It's the product of research and practice that cost me many thousands of dollars and years of work. I could charge $150 for the Awesome Your Life program, glittered up with a few audios and videos mixed in.  Maybe I'll do this at some point. But right now I love the feeling of offering something that's of very high value for a very low price. Merry Christmas, one and all!
  2. I really love the Occupy movement. 99 cent books for the 99 per cent!
  3. The book teaches that the point of creativity is the enjoyment and generation of the gift world, a state of grace in which needs are met without hardship. 99 cents is a price that allows the book to be available for most without hardship.  And if 99 cents is still a price that generates difficulty for you-- email me (sweetsongofjoy at gmail dot com) and we'll work something out.
  4. Many of my friends are broke brilliant artists, who live in their warehouse studios or with their parents.  I know how they struggle, and I wanted them to be able to afford my book.  Indeed, I want all broke brilliant people to be able to afford my book (see the point above).
  5. I'm interested less in money and more in readers.  I'd love for not only you to read the book, but also for all of your friends and your mom and the people you don't really like that much to read the book.  For $15, the price of a regular book, you could gift the book to yourself and 14 people you don't even really like that much! Thereby securing yourself excellent karma. Or, since you don't like them that much, you could just tell them to suck it up and buy it for themselves. It's only 99 cents, sheesh.
  6. The book shows you how to embody throbbing, extra-rational optimism.  I'm throbbingly, extra-rationally optimistic that I'll become a 99 cent Kindle best-seller like Amanda Hocking.
  7. The best books I ever read in my life I got for 99 cents at a thrift store. So I feel like returning the favor to the world.
  8. I don't like to pay a lot for stuff, and by extension, I don't like asking others to do so.
  9. Did I mention it's Christmas? I fucking love Christmas.

 

Yay!

 

There's a lot more empassioned empathy, raucous humor, and daring solutions in the book.  So why not buy it?

 

Love!

Carolyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letters to a Young Dream Warrior - Letter #1

 

Dear X,

 

You want to know: how do I thrive in the world while also realizing the deep potentials of my being which seem to have nothing to do with money-making and being respectable out there in the fray?

 

These are deep questions whose answers take us into the heart of what it means to be a dream warrior, to be one who works to realize the truths of the heart and the beauty of the imaginal realm on this physical plane even in the face of onslaughts from materialism, mechanistic science, and the whole paradigm of separation (a conglomeration of devouring joylessness which I like to call the Nothing).

 

First, let's consider your dilemma.

 

Everywhere you turn you find there are gatekeepers: for employment, for education, for anything.  The main thing the gatekeepers seem to want from you is that you agree with them and the world they've created-- and not just a token agreement, but a permeated, soaked-through agreement.  They want you to be as saturated with their ideology as the balls of dough in gulab juman are saturated with sugar syrup. They want to see evidence that your whole life and soul is devoted to it, to them, to the Nothing.

 

At interviews, in applications, the gatekeepers come up close and breathe you in deep.  They are smelling out how much of you is theirs.  If they find an off-note, a fragrance of dissent or noncompliance in your being, you see yourself shut out from the shelter of their institutions and their money.  If you are a dream warrior, as you are, they certainly detect it and recoil in fear.

 

So they've sniffed you and you didn't pass the test.  They could sense the stirring of wakefulness in you, the aura of resistance and questioning that you've tried to repress.  They rejected you despite your best efforts to fit in. Now you don't have access to their credentials; their money; their approval.

 

Is this terrifying? Yes.  But less so if you remember that the institutions and the money are losing power anyway.  The gatekeepers can't even afford now to shelter the ones who have soaked themselves completely in compliance.  There are people being turned down for work and education who have denuded their lives and souls of everything but what the gatekeepers said they wanted-- and now these people, too, are turned out into the cold.

 

At least you have not done this great violence to yourself.  At least you kept the truth and beauty alive in you, you have fostered it and nurtured it-- so you are not the most unlucky.  You still have this wealth, and this -- though it may not appear so at the moment -- is very great wealth indeed.  Perhaps most valuable of all is your love.  Your love which is not sentiment or romance but rather a form of wise vision, the perception of your heart.

 

The intimations you have of magic and loveliness, of wonder and agonies, these are precious and these will fuel your life in the new world that you are about to help bring forth.

 

Right now this is hard to see.  Right now you are full of bitterness.  "I wanted a job," you think. "I wanted to support myself. To contribute.  Now what do I have? What can my perception of loveliness yield me but a handful of poems that no one will want to read? What will magic get me but more scorn and abuse?"

 

More than anything, though, it astounds you that the people of our world do this to themselves: that they demand of each other and of us only the boring, the utilitarian, the violent, or the prurient.  Not given to violence or extremes of lust, you sought to cooperate by offering the utilitarian.  But you could only go along with it for so long: leaping through the hoops they set up-- and now you find yourself unable to leap anymore.  Your leap failed.  It failed not because of your vice but because of your virtue: your soul is too thrilling, too rich, too deep and too broad to be limited to the prescribed tasks of business as usual.

 

Now you have a choice of what to do. It seems to you like you only have two choices: Try again to please the gatekeepers and win this time or just be a failure and a burden, someone who lives on the edges of society, someone who goes mad.

 

It seems like winning or losing are the only possibilities.  You either fool the gatekeepers and reap their rewards or you land flat on your face and get nothing.

 

But there's a third choice open to you.  You could choose neither to win nor to lose but to surrender completely.

 

What does surrender look like?  It looks like leaving the game altogether. And what does that mean? It primarily means to stop understanding yourself in the terms of the game.  This is internal work.  This is dream warrior work.  It is very far from being easy and it takes constant vigilance.  But it is work which from the first day you undertake it ignites an enormous shift in your experience of the external world, a shift which only snowballs more and more rapidly.

 

In order to stop understanding yourself in the terms of the game, you have to give up feeling the least bit of shame, self-pity, or resentment for your present condition.  You must learn to take your sense of self-worth not from success or loss within the game but from your own sense of the strength of your heart. You must become willing to offer love and celebration to everything that seems to oppose you or confound you.

 

Does this sound easy? Are you ready to say to me, "But I already am proud of who I am; I already know that I am right and that the system and the Nothing are wrong." Dear brother, I would reply that you have not truly let yourself know this if you are still suffering, if you ever feel low or conflicted.

 

When you are fully in your power, when you are replete with joy for the truth that you are, you will feel no trace of this doubt or reservation about yourself.  You will not worry that your inability to garner success in the external world up to this point reflects some secret defect of your own being.  Instead you will see with crystalline clarity the fact that any difficulty you've experienced up to this point has not been your fault at all but the fault of the nightmare that all the sleepers are projecting, the nightmare of separation and scarcity.

 

When next I write, I will tell you my own methods for reaching and maintaining this condition of repletion.  In the mean time, I ask you to begin by hurling a strong refusal against all the voices that tell you that you have failed and you are wrong.

 

Refuse to accept any judgment which would say to you that the gatekeepers' rejection of you signified that you did not try hard enough or did not do well enough.  You did exceedingly well. You preserved the fragrance of beauty and truth in your being.  You are our hope for a future that is truly, radically different from the present.  You are winning at a level that those who are still asleep in the nightmare cannot comprehend.  You, O Dreamer, are perfect.

 

Love, Carolyn

 

 

 

 

 

An Open Love Letter to Creative and Brilliant Men

Dear Creative and Brilliant Men, I'm lucky to hang out with you all the time-- at parties, at meetings, at home (that's you, my wondrous partner).  I see you doing your thing out in the world-- researching, performing, building, teaching-- and I notice the skepticism and shaming you endure from society in general, from family, and from the women in your life (sometimes even me).

We tell you to stop playing around, do something serious, bring in the cold hard cash. ("Why don't you do right, like some other men do?")

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2f40eQcYXk

("Why don't you get outta here and bring me some money too?")

Please don't listen.  Please be you.  Please make and do insane stuff that dazzles me.

I look around and I notice that a lot of the creative recovery material out there is geared toward women and focussed on fostering the divine feminine.  Of course that's incredibly important-- but I just want to say that my divine femininity needs your divine masculinity in its full force-- whether you're my friend, my lover, or just some guy whose show I go see.

I need you to be out there and in here with me relentlessly playing, pushing the edges, stalking strange prey.  I need you to be cheeky, cocky, and totally out of my control.

Whenever you do this-- whenever you inhabit the glory of your playful masculine nature with no apologies and no shame (something that's very hard to do in an age where masculinity is constantly caricatured as base violence and lust) you invite me into a dance and give me freedom to deeply embody my femininity. I can relax. I can surrender.  I don't have to be managing everything.  Your strength and verve can make me forget myself-- and in doing this, put me in touch with the well of pleasure at the core of my being.

But this isn't always clear in the moment. Sometimes I resist. I might give you a tight-lipped smile and shake my head in disapproval.  I might nag you about making more money. I might not look like I'm totally thrilled when you spend the weekend on an esoteric research project instead of taking me out.  I could act like I don't care that you've got mad skills when it comes to painting, rapping, laying labyrinths or making robots.  Like I'm not impressed. Like I'm not delighted.

But the thing is-- I am, totally.  And whenever I don't show it it's only because I'm stuck in my own nonsense fear and grumpy neuter adultness.  Be patient; keep burning; keep flashing.  Your strength and commitment to your purpose is irresistible, intoxicating, liberating.  It opens me, melts me, kills the dead parts of me.  And leaves me so glad that you're my friend, my lover, or the dude who's show I'm seeing. Because fuck knows I need to be opened, melted, killed-- again and again. (The ladies of Heart know what I'm talkin' about).

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXOO7QVHgXs

("He's a magic man, mama!")

So if you're feeling tired or discouraged or bedraggled today please don't give up. Don't give in to the pressure to be normal. Don't stop. Keep on. Please push harder and venture more wildly-- for my sake and for that of all the women you love, dear magic man.

Love,

Carolyn

 

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Technicolor Galaxies and Burst Stars- Inspirational Crack

I just spoke to the sweet folks at NASA this morning, working on getting their permission to use images from their Chandra X-ray Observatory for my book.

I want to encourage my brilliant readers to take some time to look through the whole big collection of these images on flickr. They're the most astounding images of outer-space I've ever seen.

 

 

I bring these to your attention because I think they're first-class high-grade inspirational crack.  What do I mean by that? Well, looking at these images is addictive and hypnotic in that good way. I can't stop looking at them.

 

When I'm viewing these jaw-droppers, I think about how there are forces out their in the universe (I like to think of them as the Divine Wow but maybe you want to say "physics") that made them-- which is the same energy that creates you and me and everything.

 

I'd offer that these images are some fresh evidence of the universe's genius at work-- a genius that we're free to tune into and partake of by practicing spiritual principles.  Doesn't knowing that get you a little high with wonder?