“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read the lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths.”
The tyrant of perfectionism, conspirator behind many an abandoned project or idea, mandates that something is only worth doing if done perfectly. I suspect it is a common immobilizer among creative types. Artists of all kinds among the most courageous people I know. But there can be a dark side to spending time around really talented creative people. While I can be at once thoroughly inspired by the work of those who I admire, the nasty comparison-making mind (that evil dictator of not-good-enough) sidles up to my budding passion and trumps any notion that what I have to offer could be much more than the equivalent of a grade-school art project next to what has already been put forth into the world. Everyone has already done what I want to do but they have done it right and best and my efforts could be little more than amateur or cute renditions.
But the thing is of course, I have seen some really amazing, original, gorgeous grade-school art projects unequaled in their idiosyncratic beauty.
Here is a secret that I’ve stumbled upon: art is not about the artist. The inner critic comes in when we equate the thing that is created with the one who creates. It is not. Art is something that we participate in bringing forth: the thing that wants to be born. True artists create for the joy of being part of the process of bringing something into the world that wants and needs to be expressed.
Art is what happens when you chase the up-welling feeling. True creativity is what happens when you follow the hunch that won’t leave you alone, the idea that makes your heart beat faster or stirs your insides and won’t quit. Its that little buzzing that sometimes you wish would leave you alone because you don’t know how, don’t have time or because its HARD. It pushes you to go to fearful places sometimes. It really complicates things. To go down the rabbit trail that beckons to you beyond reasons that even make practical sense, this is the risk of living an artful life. I am not speaking of just musicians and painters and writers. Every life is a canvas and everyone is a creator. We create every day with our intentions, our actions, our words, our plans, our choices. It is easiest to allow each of these to be dictated by others or the society in which we live. But to give space to our deepest intuition, to take individual account for our how time and energy and focus are spent in regards to our deepest held values and desires – this makes things really messy. It demands that we shift and open and live much more dangerously.
Creativity is our spiritual process.
When something inside wants to get born, we get out of the way and get ready to be uneasy and unsteady and unsure. That’s when we see the process is perfectly imperfect. To be brave is to jump in without knowing where the bottom is. It is to potentially look foolish and contrary to what our culture would have us believe – there are far, far worse things.
Like living an entire life without experiencing the thrill of being fully alive in all your imperfect, messy aliveness. I believe the whole point of being here is to explore our relationship with our creative power. To take the adventure and mystery of being human, find the spark of magic within it and make something beautiful and meaningful. We are compelled to create not only to leave our mark upon the world but to commune with Something much bigger than ourselves. And that – far more than recognition or accolades from the external world – is what feeds our souls.
If I may be so audacious, I think it just might be the way to ….. happiness.
Kathleen N. McGuire, PhD says “Pay attention to what brings tears to your eyes”. We pay attention because something wants to unfold. Its not up to us to know the outcome or anticipate what it will look like to others. Maybe its just for you. Maybe it will move something for someone else. We may never know what we miss out on by stifling that urge because of fear. But we will miss something. And the world will miss our artful contribution because maybe someone has done or said it before but no one… no one…has said or done it the way you will.
It took me a long time from the conception of this blog to actually publish it and a long time after that before I actually shared with anyone. The fear-mongering overlord kept me captive with the belief that what I had to say would sound silly, that it would be disorganized and in cohesive, it would sound self-aggrandizing or foolish. Or worse….I would go back and read posts 6 months or a year later and realize I sounded less than witty or smart as I thought (God forbid!) and that I should have said something else, something better, something more profound. Which – lets be real – is probable.
But that’s not the point. It’s my art. No one has to approve it.
An unknown author once put to words:
“Courage is looking fear right in the eye and saying, “Get the hell out of my way, I’ve got things to do.”
2 thoughts on “Get the hell out of my way.”
Pingback: DIY. | uncharted ground
Pingback: The Siren Song. | uncharted ground