Eden Maxwell: Make Rejection Work for Your Creative Life
If you know your purpose and the value of your process, then nothing will deter you from your mission, your dharma.---Eden Maxwell
No matter what your art form or field of expression: visual arts, performing arts, or writing---one thing is for certain: you will encounter rejection. When you do, what is the most healthy and useful way to respond? Eden Maxwell, author of "An Artist Empowered: Define and Establish Your Value as an Artist—Now" offers these suggestions:
1. Know why you are an artist.
2. Know your purpose and the value of your process.
3. View rejection as a mirror that reveals truth about your dedication.
4. Confront yourself and this moment of awareness.
5. Use rejection as a moment of awareness, not a pool in which to drown.
6. Stay focused on results, but unattached to the results of your efforts.
7. A daily spiritual practice helps you keep life, art, and rejection in perspective.
Eden expands here on these seven suggestions.
Riehlife: Eden, talk about your approach to rejection in the arts. How does this relate to your spiritual practice?
Eden Maxwell: As a writer and a painter, I have been on the receiving end of both acceptance and rejection and each has its own set of issues.
Why am I an artist?
It all comes back full circle to the core question: Why are you an artist?
If you know your purpose and the value of your process, then nothing will deter you from your mission, your dharma.
Riehlife: What is the true purpose of rejection, in your view?
Eden: Rejection, as it turns out, isn't the bane most artists believe it is. Rejection is a mirror that reveals truth about your dedication; you are compelled to confront your own self and that is a moment of awareness.
Riehlife: How can the creative person learn from rejection?
Eden: If you are to learn from rejection, use the experience as a moment of reflection, not a pool in which to drown.
Should my art be rejected, I understand that if they could see it, could appreciate it, then they would. Also, a rejection from an anonymous party is no cause for faltering. I have seen great art ignored, and mediocre embraced.
Riehlife: How can the artist balance the need to have goals and yet to hold these goals lightly?
Eden: Having goals is good; wanting to share your unique gift is good; making art is good.
Keeping these desires in mind, I also realize that getting attached to any outcome is a self-made prison. Releasing your attachment to an outcome frees you to see other opportunities.
I strive to have no attachment in how a particular outcome manifests. I work; I create; I have faith in fulfilling my dharma; and my evolving strength tells me the Universe is handling the details.
So, no matter what is happening, I focus on the true goal, and the goal is this: understanding.
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