“Creativity suffers under great scrutiny from ourselves or others.”
We are moving into the first full moon of October. In ancient days this was a very auspicious time. This is a time believed by some when the veil between the two worlds thins and the souls of those who have passed over enter our world. Sometimes these souls bring messages and sometimes the fae and other otherworldly creatures taunt and torment us unsuspecting humans. It is a time of magic and a time of change.
I am being haunted. I am being haunted by my Creative Spirit. It does not need a full moon to haunt me. It has been doing it without any auspicious signs for quite some time. It wants me to communicate with it, have a heart to heart conversation, perhaps even embark on a project of some sort. But I always have an excuse: I am too tired; I have a headache (oh yes, there is a sick irony here folks); I don’t have time; I have to do laundry; I have to go to work; I have to stare mindlessly at movie trailers and Ray William Johnson on the internet.
One of two things usually happens when you ignore a spirit of any sort. Either it becomes extremely angry and starts throwing things or it starts to lose its power because no one is paying any attention to it.
I think my Creative Spirit is sitting on the fence right now. I think it has its bag packed and can’t decide whether or not to throw it at me or hit the road.
I know I am not the only one feeling this way about not having time to nurture the fire within my soul. I have actually had more than one conversation with more than one person who is experiencing the exact same thing. At the end of the day, there does not seem to be enough time/energy left to do the things that we really love. Maybe those creative outlets are writing or drawing, making jewelry or making 3-d sculptures out of paper.
All I know is that I stare at my project table and sigh every night. I come to the computer, intending to write something either in blog or book form and I sigh.
It sounds horrible. ***S**I**G***H***. It sounds like a haunted spirit. It sounds like something that needs to be exorcised.
The truth is my sweet lovelies is that it doesn’t need to be exorcised, it needs to be EXERCISED.
There are a bazillion books out there about how to ignite your creative fire, find your creative self, live the artist’s life you always wanted to, write and publish your first novel, become a famous poet. Let me tell you, I can stare aimlessly in a certain private library, in a certain house, on a certain lake in Camden, South Carolina and shout the titles out to you. Yes, I own them. But let’s be honest. These lovely little tomes are not making me a hot, fresh cup of java and pushing my butt out of bed at the crack of dawn to write a chapter before I have to be at work. These sweet little pages of good advice are not redirecting me to work on the half-finished necklace or barely started sculpture when I want to sit down in front of the computer and sip green tea and look at my friends’ photos on Flickr and Google people at random. They sit quietly on the shelf sighing. A god awful sigh if I do say so myself.
So what to do? Just go with it and wait until the mood strikes and then communicate with the Creative Spirit? Maybe never finish anything and just let it all sit there half-finished and half-baked? Or maybe get to the bottom of the issue and figure out a solution?
Ooh, now there is a novel idea.
Novel, yes, scary as hell, quite possibly.
The truth is, I realized why my Creative Spirit is haunting me. I realized today in a crazy epiphany while I was driving across a very misty swamp on my way to work what that problem is.
I am intimidated by my critics.
And the one with loudest and most upsetting voice was me.
For those of you who know me, you will not find that hard to believe.
But nevertheless, the standard obstacle for any artist of any medium is listening to our own inner critic. Because in our mind, that inner critic speaks for everyone everywhere.
The criticism is usually the same. No matter what we do, it will never be good enough. If we are wasting our time creating any “art,” we better be able to sell it; and how on Earth can we sell it if it is crap? Why bother?
Oh, that thingy you just made, don’t show it to anyone, it’s not good. That little sketch, how awful, destroy it immediately, the head is not in proportion to the body. You call that a poem? Save it on the computer with a password so if you are abducted by aliens tomorrow no one, I mean NO ONE, will ever know you wrote it and make fun of you.
Any of this sound familiar to any of you artists/creatives out there?
Okay, here is a crazy idea.
It is so crazy that the voices in my head are yelling at me as I try to type it.
What if it doesn’t matter?
Who defines if it is good?
Go back and read that.
Here is what defines it:
Did you feel the “spark” when you were creating it? Did you lose yourself as you created it, formed it, thought about it, wrote it, shaped it, or designed it on the computer? Did you smile once? Did you feel at peace? Did you lose track of time? Did you not want to stop? And when you were done, in that split second before that critic jumped in and started berating you and your creation, did YOU like it? Did it make you smile? Did you feel like you had created something?
That’s exercising your Creative Spirit.
Creativity and Art are not about producing something that you can sell or show or show off. We are so conditioned to believe that we need validation by outside sources to believe that what we create is of value.
That, my little butter beans, is a bunch of crap.
What we should measure our creativity and art by is how it makes us feel. How it ignites the fire in our hearts and souls, how it makes us come alive.
If it makes you feel alive and passionate and happy then you will want to carve out the time to do it. You won’t feel tired or have a headache. You will want to embark on it because it helps you connect with the perfect and the divine with you. It opens up your soul to all the possibilities of beauty and light and love. That is what our Creative Spirit wants. It wants to see the light and it wants to express all that is beautiful within you. It wants to be loved.
Tell the critic to have a seat. Make it a martini in a fancy, artsy glass and tell it to chill out.
Break out the Ouija Board for your Creative Spirit. This could be a canvas and paints, a camera, a computer design program, a typewriter, a journal or hell, even a scrapbook. Open up your heart and mind and communicate with that Spirit within you. Exercise it! Not Exorcise.
Stop *sighing* and pick another verb like writing, drawing, singing, dancing or coloring.
Don’t be haunted by what you wanted to do and never got to. Instead be possessed by the Spirit of Creativity and live your dreams. There is magic in them there dreams, go out and find it!
And when you do, share it with everyone and be proud of it. Because whatever it is – it is as beautiful as you are!