We all agree that anyone who reads a book is a reader
But do we also believe that……
Anyone who picks up a pen is a writer
Anyone who picks up a paintbrush is a painter
Anyone who moves to music is a dancer
Anyone who takes a video is a film-maker
Anyone who plays an instrument or sings is a musician
These last two may be starting to cause a little anxiety but if we now change ‘writer’ to ‘author’ and ‘painter’ to ‘artist’, the stress levels will really escalate for most of us.
If you are anything like me, I would never have been brave enough to use those words when I described myself but I actually engage in all those creative pursuits on a very regular basis. Many of us have been conditioned to believe that only the very elite are worthy of using those tags but why? The rest of us may have been led to believe that what we are doing if we don’t identify with that elite group is kind of meaningless and just passing the time! We’ve also possibly passed those notions onto our children as parents and teachers.
Why are we so fearful of opening up to and identifying with our creative sides? Perhaps it’s time we acknowledged that these creative pursuits are helping us on our life journey. There is so much judgment that surrounds our creativity and there needn’t be! I believe we all have creativity within us and that fear is holding us back from using it. In some mediums (it was art for me) we aren’t even brave enough to try, in case we don’t produce something amazing. Judgement around creativity is heavily focused on the product but it is the process of exploration that actually leads us to be in the moment and to mindfully connect with ourselves. It allows us to know ourselves, to be ourselves and to eventually use that self-knowledge to live a life that reflects who we are.
For me, it was in a particular stage of my life experience that I discovered the joy, the freedom, the exhilaration and the self-knowledge that exploring with art brought. When I truly came to believe that it was safe enough to try anything without judgment, I gave myself permission to engage in art. I was invited to attend an art course, I accepted and I’ve never stopped. It has allowed me to truly open to myself and connect with myself. I find it interesting to reflect that I would never have previously accepted the invitation but rather used my ‘old story’ that ‘I'm not artistic so I couldn’t possibly do that and I’ll say no’!
I'm in love with the book, The Artist’s Way. The author Julia Cameron opened my eyes to how we use the the notion of success as opposed to the notion of fame as indicators of our worthiness as artists! She argues that any period spent in creative work that allows us to open to ourselves, to be in the present moment, to feel positive about how we’ve spent out time, is success! Fame is when we require recognition from others for that success! If you want to feel free and open to explore who you really are, then let go of judgment – your own and others and give yourself permission to explore your creative side in whatever form that is meaningful for you.
Being introspective, relying on our own intuition and allowing our real selves to shine allows us to move forward in whatever we choose to do without the pressure of seeking the approval of others or ourselves. We can always feel success if we allow ourselves to believe it’s a possibility and a reality. That is something we can share with our children!
If this idea interests and excites you, we still have a couple of places left in our self-discovery circle this Saturday in Brisbane. We’ll be using some of the tools that have helped me on my own self-discovery and self-reliance path. One of them is what I call ‘experimental art’ that focuses on process and not product, on connection with self and not judgment from others. This path is never ending, there is no finish line but that is what life is about after all – the journey! Above all I want to find home within myself and I can't do that unless I know myself.