courageous


Last month I wrote, “more on this next month,” in reference to my recently self-published photo book titled ‘XI.’ Here is the more…

A little over a year ago I was offered a challenge during a 15 minute dyad coaching in a CTI course I was assisting. The challenge was to embrace and explore my creativity by embarking on Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way journey. I committed to download the book right away and make a note in my calendar to start in the New Year. January 2018 rolled around more quickly than first imagined and there it was, a calendar reminder to start the Artist’s Way.

Despite the inertia that set in during the days, weeks and months after the powerful energy of that coaching moment, the accountability to the coach moved me to lean in and let the practice take me wherever it wanted me to go. I had no idea what I was really getting into, but I took a deep breath and launched head on into the 12 week discipline of daily pages, artist dates, and tasks designed to move me out of fear and into wonder and imagination.

16 months later… I wrote and printed a photo book and actually let people see it; I made mala and put them for sale in the boutique at my yoga studio. I created a presentation and photo slide show of our trip to Europe and actually gave the presentation to all the employees at my company. And, I am proud to announce the design and publishing of a new page on my website, called visionART and the launch of my Etsy store called visionART11!

I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’. In it there is a passage that perfectly sums up the journey into new, unknown, and unproven places.

“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder…”

Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome…

--Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Gilbert reminds us, “you have treasures hidden within you – extraordinary treasures – and so do I, and so does everyone around us. And bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think so small.”

Gilbert proposes that ideas are "disembodied, energetic life-form" that are separate from us and swirl around waiting for a willing, open, and courageous human participant to engage with them, take them on and bring them to their full earthly manifestation. That was my experience in creating 'XI.'

I am so thankful for the coaching that inspired me to cast aside the doubt and fear and let these ideas take hold. It has been quite a ride. I have at least 4 other project ideas that have yet to see the light of day (that’s a whole other topic in ‘Big Magic’), and I now know I will launch them or some other wonderful ideas when they and I are ready.

Now my turn to challenge you to let your artistry any kind of artistry shine through. Get a coach, read a book, take a class, do your art and you will discover the courage to lean in and there you will find the Magic.

What would you create if you had the courage? What are you waiting for?

photo by Lynne Harris Bernstein © 2019


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