Unleash the Artist Within

On our recent show, Eric Maisel taught us to “unleash the artist within”. More than a directive, it also happens to be the title of one of his more than 50 books.

Creativity is a broad subject, and one which Dr. Maisel has made his message for more than 30 years. It was then he noticed the lack of psychological help for performers, musicians, writers, artists, and the like. Artistic personalities have some particular issues with sadness, anxiety, and loneliness. Before Dr. Maisel began his work, there was little help (besides medication) for them.

We often use “narcissism” as a negative word describing individuals who seem self-centered and egotistical. However, Dr. Maisel suggests there is a good narcissist – the person who wants to make a difference in the world or life of others by using his/her particular “voice” – be it art or music, etc.

Creative personalities are often eccentric, leading to an area of study Dr. Maisel referred to as “anti-psychiatry”. He believes pharmaceutical companies are “bombarding the airwaves with a certain view” regarding behavior, and that “childhood has been diagnosed as a disorder”.

“Sadly, zero attention is paid to original personality. We all come into the world with our own sense of sadness, stubbornness, obsession, exuberance, etc.” and yet we are medicating kids because of who they are.

When relating the beginnings of his own childhood, Dr. Maisel described himself as “curious”, and was quick to comment “I’m still the same today”. He talked of family members, such as his parents who were a steady influence for him; but that, like most of us, he had a few relatives who were “batty.”

The conversation turned to the process which artists and creatives can take to “make meaning” in their purpose(s), rather than trying to “find meaning” in life. He cautioned that only a percentage of the work we do will be good, and we can me demoralized when our creations are not successful, or valued. Although this can be anxiety producing (especially when creativity is your livelihood) “YOU CAN’T SKIP THE STUFF THAT DOESN’T WORK”.

Dr. Maisel highly recommends a “morning creativity practice”. He gave reasons for this process, which he uses seven days a week. (Remember – he’s written more than 50 books!)

  1. Consistent practice provides a routine of productive thought.
  2. “Sleep thinking” happens in REM sleep, and your brain is providing you answers as you sleep. By spending your first awaking moments each morning on “output” rather than “input” you’ll have more clarity in your creativity.
  3. When you can “make meaning” first thing in the morning, then the rest of your day will change, knowing the real work has been done.

Brilliantly, Dr. Maisel used other phrases during his time with us:

  • Self-Talk – as long as it serves us
  • Affirm our abilities, and the belief that we matter
  • Don the mantle of “Meaning Maker”
  • Life has purpose(s) for us
  • Creating is lonely, but it’s noisy in there
  • Productive obsessions
  • Ceremonial bridge
  • Toxic criticism

You’ll benefit from hearing his interview with us, and you can listen at your convenience by clicking this link: Dr. Eric Maisel

Be sure to tune in to Life Mastery Radio with Todd Alan every Tuesday at 10:00 AM pst.

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