|Creative Development for Artists, Writers and all Artistic Creativity|
Imagine you are preparing for a 100 mile walk along the most beautiful, awe inspiring of routes – mountains, lakes, coastline – it’s all there for you. Then something really weird happens. With an almost total lack of awareness you do the following:
- Make holes in your socks so you get blisters
- Drop pebbles in your walking boots
- Add four or five house bricks to your backpack
- Plan long, unattractive detours around the best bits, ensuring also that you double the walking distance
You set off on the walk and not surprisingly, begin to feel the pain. But despite being exquisitely aware of the discomfort, you are baffled and blind to the causes.
You feel the blisters but don’t see the holes in your socks. You are weighed down with tiredness but overlook the bricks you are carrying. You follow the detours but can’t understand where the lakes and mountains have gone.
Finally, after hours of slow toil you give up and decide that this walking lark really isn’t for you – or if you are the cussed, stubborn type – you joylessly reach your destination and then decide that walking isn’t for you.
Either way you know that you’ve given it a real good go (you have the scars to prove it), and even though deep down you know that walking is what you were truly meant to do, there’s no shame now in finding something else to do with your time.
Does that sound a little over the top? Well, if we take it as a literal tale then you’d be right. But take it as a metaphor for the way many of us pursue our dreams (creative or otherwise) and it becomes frighteningly accurate. The fact is though, that we all carry some negative, limiting stuff around with us, some of which we are aware of and much of which we have no idea about.
That ’stuff’ comes in all sorts of varieties:
- Negative inner voices
- Self doubt
- Poor self image
- Negative self beliefs
- Self sabotage
- Low self esteem and confidence
And from all sorts of sources:
- Childhood experiences
- Cultural background
- Parents and family
- Negative work experiences
- Toxic relationships – past or present
Of course, in the walking story you notice that it’s you that puts the bricks in your backpack and you that throws the pebbles in your own shoes – whereas in the list above all the stuff is coming from everywhere but you.
That might be a fact – but if you want to shed those weights and impediments you can’t afford to waste your energy on blame and recrimination. All that does is add to the weights. It puts you into a victim mentality that saps away your personal power. Look at it this way – if, in your mind, it’s all the responsibility of other people and outside sources, then you probably also regard it as their responsibility to relieve you of the burden, and that simply will not happen.
You need a much more Zen approach.
Like it or not, the stuff you have is yours now. For the moment, be accepting. Regardless of how you got those bricks and pebbles in the past, take responsibility for them in the present. Because no one else can deal with them, no one else can throw them away.
That’s the first big step.
You don’t even need to fully understand the nature of the weights you are lumbered with yet. Just begin the process of release. Because, to use another image, while ever you focus on blaming others you are like a beautiful balloon anchored to the ground – tethered to the past.
So let go and begin.