“We teach best what we most need to learn.” – Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
Today what I most need to learn is how to make space for the activities that are aligned with my true north — making art and sharing this journey of discovery — instead of constantly bumping that practice out of my present moment for one of two (or both) of the following reasons:
1. The gravitational force of doing everything else — trying to weave a web that makes it look like I have it all together in work and relationships — has been so strong for so long that it often feels physically exhausting to do something that might interrupt my status quo, including turning off Netflix, going outside, or breaking out some art supplies instead of checking my email for the 8th time in a one hour period.
2. I’m terrified of what my life will be like if I focus more of my time and energy on the things I love and desire. I know what it’s like to feel fine, to feel okay, to feel dissatisfied, to feel resentful.
Feeling at ease, experiencing pleasure without stealing it, living more consciously in the flow of life — prioritizing creativity and service, communication and communion — is uncharted territory.
I’m reminded of this famous passage from A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
So, as excruciating as it is to face my self-centered fear as I embark on more fully being myself, I’m committed to inviting small shifts into my way of life because I know that’s how deep and lasting change occurs.
When I create I feel so much more connected to myself and my spirituality and my capacity to be creative and useful in my professional assignments. Yet I often get scooped up by the fear that I must do all work connected to my clients before I do anything else and that is a fallacy that doesn’t serve anyone. Following are a few things I’ve been keeping in mind as I lean in to showing up to my art practice.
Foundation: Since the autumn of 2013, I’ve devoted my life to getting well. There wasn’t a chance that I could create anything satisfying or useful when I couldn’t sleep longer than two hours at a time, keep down more than a rice cake for lunch, or show up consistently in my relationships. Learning about Reiki, developing a daily mediation practice, procuring green drinks every day, and learning to trust that the Universe has my back, is the groundwork that I’ve been building slowly and steadily to prepare for this next chapter of life.
Priorities: I watched Marie Forleo teach about how to distinguish between urgent vs. important tasks (which I highly recommend if anything I’m saying here resonates with you). Since then I’ve been setting alarms for anywhere between five minutes to one hour to attend my art practice before I greet my email each morning. When I feel creative, healthy, and like I’m contributing to life with my natural gifts, I’m able to show up with more gratitude, flexibility, and internal resources to any experience I encounter. It’s simple and obvious and I’m ready to remember that more often.
Reality Check: Gabby Bernstein says, “This has nothing to do with me. I am a mirror for the light and it’s my job to share it.” If I want to make drawings, videos, quilts, jewelry, paintings, and songs that are of any use to me or you, it can’t come from my ego. The good stuff — the heart centered, funny, true, stimulating, teary, tender, comforting, connected stuff — comes through when I remember that I’m a channel for the Universe to express through me. It’s my job to keep that channel clear, to de-clutter my life and take my vitamins, to show up with blank paper, markers, and a prayer to get out of my own way and to be useful.
What I’m offering here that I so dearly need to learn myself is: Make the art, make it now, let it come through, prioritize creation over compulsory tasks, it will make every thing, relationship, and experience I encounter more authentic, grounded, and beautiful. Don’t put it off. I’m here to create and share. And so are you.
My second great big forever old and always current lesson for myself at the moment is to lean into loving my life and myself now, as is.
Loving myself as I continue to watch Friends marathon style (because I finished re-watching 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, The Office, and The L Word) for the zillionth time in my life even though the drama projected on the show isn’t the reality I want to create in my life anymore. It’s alright. In fact it’s my job — my holy assignment — to love myself anyhow, to love myself through it.
And also, maybe, to set a timer soon to remind myself to draw a little, dance a little, and go meet someone at a cafe for hot lemon water.