As the sun goes down, I reflect on my day today. I awoke to the realization that I had no obligations. I had planned to go to Qi Gong, but then I realized I didn’t have to go, no one was forcing me (besides my inner critic, perhaps). And as I lay in bed contemplating my next move, I witnessed many shoulds and reminded myself, that even if just for today, I didn’t need to do anything. There was nothing I should or needed to do. A sigh of relief, and then, a predicament arose…A free day, I should write…wait no, I want to write….right?
You see, over the last few years, a new creative outlet has come out of the shadows. Writing, mmmm, the sweet ability to process, find catharsis, bring clarity to the jumble in my head, digest experiences that seem undigestible, muse about the world, philosophize, theorize, psychoanalyze. It has saved my life many times when I felt myself sliding into a deep, dark abyss of loneliness and hopelessness. So as you can see, I’m grateful to have this tool. And for awhile, I was just enjoying it, utilizing it as free expression, writing journals that I kept to myself, no expectations about my writing…but then, something shifted.
Maybe it happened around the time that I decided to publish a piece of my writing on Facebook. I can’t say for sure, but that sounds about right. I was surprised to receive such a strong, positive response. Many people resonated with the truth I had shared. And I started to think, “Yeah, my writing just might be worth sharing. It’s good not to keep it to myself if it could help another.” And this sweet, legitimate thought, lasted for another little while, until my grabby ego butted in and started to fantasize: What if I could be a writer…Okay, not just a writer because as someone who writes, I could inherently call myself a writer. No, I mean, what if I could be a prolific writer – be published, write books, poetry, articles, columns, be hired and paid to write, perhaps even live off of my writing…
As a bystander, this may not sound like a big deal nor a crazy idea. And it’s not, gosh that’s the dream, right!? To earn money, recognition, doing what we love. Sure, that makes sense. And the fantasy in and of itself is fine, it’s the effect it had on my writing that is not so fine. The issue that I see happening is that with this fantasy, my writing feels like it needs to be something. This free flowing force now needs to be captured, edited and worked. And not only that, but all of a sudden, it feels like another to-do on my list, sit down and write for many hours. And now, when I don’t write, if I don’t write, I feel like a failure, like I’m blocking my dreams from coming true. Now this fantasy that has taken hold, is gripping me, and pointing to my continuous inability to follow through. I focus on what I’m not doing, that I’m not making progress, that I’m not actually creative, or able to be a creative.
Cheers, to self deprecating thoughts. They’ll always be guests at our tables. And while many times I let them drain any ounce of happiness out of me, right now as the sun drifts below the horizon creating layer upon layer of vivid color, inviting me into my free flowing evening, I notice a longing to not write, instead to distract with tv shows or a movie, or reading, or even meditation…yes, that too can be a distraction. I recall how easy it is to assist others in their creation (I do assistant work for a few creative ladies right now), but when it comes to me sitting down and midwifing my own creativity, it’s way too easy to find a way out. And as I make the decision to ignore my inner creative, I see her pull back into the shadows, feeling neglected, feeling ignored. And I remember, that this part of myself, this part of my soul, can only thrive with nourishment. And that can feel like a have to or should but that the benefit of nourishing her is incredibly beneficial to my wellbeing.
So, maybe I wrote this article, because it saved me from drifting into unconscious sleep. And maybe I wrote it to remind myself that writing feels good and to not attach another meaning to it. And maybe I wrote it to remind you and remind me that creating is not easy. It’s never easy to sit down to a blank canvas or a blank piece of paper, it’s never easy to enter into a room full of people and create something out of nothing. But it somehow feels better, more alive, to try, to see what happens, to say to our inner creative, “I do want to know you and see you, please come out.” And like any new habit that we want to create, it takes a hell of a lot of effort to get the ball rolling, but once it’s rolling, it is smooth sailing from there.
May you feed your inner creator knowing that it is our direct connection to guidance, spirit, and love.