Inspiration finds you, really, whether you’re looking for it or not. I mean, you can be looking for it, but you may find it somewhere you least expect it. “Just think really really really hard about it and then forget it,” Don Draper tells Peggy in “The Wheel”, season one finale of MadMen, describing his creative process.
My DreamLab class is going through the guideposts of Brene Brown‘s The Gifts of Imperfection. I was cruising along, loving everything that is coming together in my head about my life, all those tidbits in the mixing pot, and then last week – BAM – derailed.
Last week covered cultivating creativity, faith and intuition – all important markers that I’ve lost track of in the past 5-10 yrs. (Dang Saturn cycle.) I recognized the faith and intuition pieces immediately, turning them over in my mind to reintegrate. Creativity, though, talk about a shame trigger.
My experiences of the past 9 years have included so many art wounds that I can’t untangle them. Scratching the surface of those history-lines sent me into an emotional panic. Too much weight. The issue isn’t whether I think of myself as creative, it’s that I starve myself of creativity.
This week my therapist asked me about drug/alcohol addictions. My extended family has a history of alcohol abuse, but my immediate family has been addiction-free. She pointed out how my self-control has probably kept me from having any issues – since feeling even mildly out-of-control is terribly uncomfortable for me. Add to that the understanding that I’m predisposed to these pitfalls – I obsessively monitor my indulgences.
But not with art. Not with writing, blogging, photography, journaling, and especially, music. I hold back. I do everything else first. I have some warped belief that if I allow myself to do creative things, the rest of my life will be swept away in a tidal wave of irresponsibility.
So not only did I have DreamLab bringing me “art wounds”, therapy bringing me “addiction & control”, I tuned into this podcast from Karen Walrond. Honestly, previous times I’ve found her stuff on the web, I didn’t fall in love. This time, though, her voice warmed my earbuds and I was smitten. And now I find this post…
“All you need to do to be a writer is write. You don’t need to wait until you’re grown up, or go to university or anything. You just need to write, and write, and write. You need to make a point to keep on writing. Actually practice writing…
Later on, I was thinking about this exchange, and I realized that the same is likely true for just living life: I mean, it doesn’t take a diploma or a formal education to live, and there’s no reason to do anything proactively in life, really, if you think about it. You could just let it wash over you, and just reactively deal with circumstances as they come. However, it seems to me that the way to learn to live life best is to actually practice living — challenging yourself to do more, or learn more, and to be more, you know? Purposeful living.” ~Karen Walrond
None of that’s new to me – writer’s write, runner’s run – but again that theme of practice vs. perfection – that life is in the doing and the being and not the end results. That I’m drawn to creative blogs, photography, and journaling repeatedly, even though I’m not practicing it myself.
My perfectionism, my people-pleasing, my dissatisfaction seem to be ways that I muffle that creative urge.
Creating is the best way I can see to skirt around myself and make my way
throughon this journey. ~Glad for Art
Here I am 3.5 months later, still not really doing any of that, but it’s there. The urge to create, to express myself, to heal.
“If you decide to trade in your authenticity for safety, there are a few things to keep in mind. Your unexpressed ideas, opinions, and contributions will not just go away. They are likely to fester and eat away at your worthiness. You may experience the following: anxiety, depression, overeating, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment and inexplicable grief.” ~Brene Brown
Experiences in the past 9 yrs had me trading in my authenticity and controlling myself by withholding creativity. It’s a damaging cycle. I know the antidote is as follows, and I know it’s going to be an uncomfortable ride: as Jamie wrote here, I don’t need huge swatches of creative time, I just need creative time NOW.