When was the last time you were brave in your creative life?
Maybe today you were… or will be.
Our creative lives ask for our courage. In fact, they demand it.
Now, there are days when that’s anything but true, when our creativity shows up like that proverbial lamb, when we’re happily crafting at our kitchen table, when we’re making a special dinner and everything’s turning out just so, when we’re out in our garden enjoying the blooms. I love those days. In fact, I’m smiling just thinking about them.
And then there are other days. The days that are a slog or the days that are a struggle. The times when we just can’t get it to work or make it go. There are hair-pulling, nail-biting, tears-welling days. I’ve had them. Lots of them. If I had a penny for every time I’ve been discouraged or hurt or scared in my creative life, I’d have a veritable field of treasure. I’m just imagining the dragon that would be guarding the inestimable wealth of those piles!
So why do I do it?
I mean, why, why, why put yourself through this torture? Are all of those magazines lying when they show creative life as women laughing together, red rain boots on their feet and yellow balloons in their hands, paint on their fingers and sparkles in their eyes?
It sure doesn’t feel like that when my yarn’s tangling or I can’t hit that note or one more rejection letter arrived in the mail.
It doesn’t feel like that when nobody comes to my blog or my show or my party.
It doesn’t feel like that when I’m frightened half to death of stepping on the stage, sure that I am going to lose my lines and that clearly I look fat in this dress.
If art is so healing then why does it tear us up like this?
Because art is powerful.
Because sometimes being torn up means discovering something important inside.
(And sometimes being torn up means this isn’t the right teacher, the right environment, the right practice. Though sometimes it is.)
Our creative lives grow us.
It’s in the DNA of creativity to grow, to become, to evolve, to unfold, to unfurl. And that takes us again and again and again to our edge. It only stops when we do. And we can. We can pause when it gets too much. We can go outside and look at the stars. We can breathe. We can cry. We can go back to bed. We can pace ourselves.
What we can’t do is deny ourselves. When we stop, full stop, something in us starts to die. Our lives start fading. We start graying out. For a while we may run on the steam we’ve created and then, after a time, we forget that we created at all.
And that’s not okay.
You are meant to grow, to make something, to share something, to say something, to dance something, to believe something. Sometimes there will be balloons and rain boots. And sometimes there will be tears.
But tears don’t get in the way of your creative life.
They are there to remind you that you, my dear creative heart, are not only a frolicking lamb but also a lion.