‘And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.’ – Anaïs Nin
I saw this quote this morning on the very beautiful facebook page belonging to the Paris Dreamer. It is a wonderfully soft way of saying that eventually, our creativity will bubble up inside us and demand to be heard. Micheal Beckwith says it another way;
The pain pushes until the vision pulls.
I think he is talking about our spirituality not just the urge to create, but it’s all related. The universe is this great creative force that birthed everything we see, feel and experience (and a whole bunch of stuff that we can’t see, feel or experience as humans!). Creativity is our birthright, our default mode. In my opinion, we are here to experience the world through our senses, and what better way to feel EVERYTHING than to create. To sing, to write, to play music, to paint, to cook, to plant a garden…
When we’re kids we create for fun, for the sheer joy of it and it often looks a lot like a mess. This is how we work things out, how we learn, how we figure out what we love.
And then one day, as Elizabeth Gilbert says, we start to demand something from our art. We ask it pull its weight, to maybe help with the rent. We wonder if it could make us rich and famous… Things start to get weird because making art has a way of making us feel all the ‘feels’, not just the ‘good’ ones. Anger, sadness, betrayal arise as we evaluate and judge our art and more often than not, find it wanting. The truly brave, those who keep making, through all the ‘feels’, know that its worth it in the end, but how many of us stop making or suffer badly from the slings and arrows of putting our creative projects out into the world… The stinging critique from the gallery, the 1-star review on Amazon, the ‘so-what-is-it-anyway’ comment from the family.
That’s for those of us who ship our stuff, who manage to overcome the self-doubt and inner critic. Some of us never put anything out there; it’s too scary to put our babies out into the world, we say. I love everything I paint, I couldn’t bear to have someone say something bad about it. We’ve all felt this way! That’s why when Elizabeth Gilbert says that our art gives birth to us, not the other way around, it is such a revelation!
I’m going to repeat that; Your art gives YOU life, not the other way around! Each time you create something, you GROW and change. This may apply to your art practice only at first glance, but if we let it, it can flow into our life outside the studio too. We just have to release attachment to the outcome. I look at it this way; your art is your gift to the world. You can give anyone a gift and it’s up to them how they treat it, but once it’s given, it’s not yours anymore. If others like it, well that’s a bonus, but you can’t control their response. Just drop that love-bomb and keep on walking!
Now, it’s a bit trickier if you are determined to make a living from your creative work. This is when you need input from the outside world because if no one is picking up what you’re putting down, you’re not going to have much income flowing in! I’ll write more on this tomorrow!
If you haven’t read the book BIG MAGIC, do it now!
The podcast of the same name is excellent listening, too, although it’s a couple of years old now. But the lessons are the same.