I am writing this because I used to feel like I was the only one who feels this way. And I am now 100% certain that I’m not.
AND when we find that out…that we are not the only one…and ALSO that OTHERS thought THEY were the only one…..a whole bunch of little candles get lit…and what used to seem so dark now is light….and it’s not so scary….and not so confusing…and there’s nothing to feel ashamed about anymore. Because…it just IS….and it doesn’t separate us anymore, but it unifies us. That is soooo awesome.
I am finding that when I am in my creative cave, trying to let a new product line, or class, or a new phase of my marriage, or a serious issue with one of my children…..whatever sacred thing it is…..when I am in my cave of creative solitude trying to let something sacred be born creatively, it is a kind of difficult that has no words.
I used to not talk about it because it all felt so unexplainable…and so sacred/ridiculous/out-of-control. Embarrassing even. Humiliating sometimes. Because….when something is trying to be born….an idea….or something sacred….it is sort of all-consuming. No one seems to want to talk about it…..mostly I think, because there are no words. It doesn’t always feel good…..and then you have to explain/defend yourself to others why you are dedicating so much of your life and energy to something that is difficult and sometimes does not feel good. I have found that I hate having to defend myself. Especially when I am trying hard to just live as authentically as I can. When I am doing exactly what my deepest truth is telling me to do. But sometimes…..special people just need to know what the heck is going on with you. They wonder why you are doing what you are doing……
Well….the answer is because sometimes you can’t NOT do it. When an idea or a sacred something creative wants to be born…….it won’t let you NOT let it be born.
I used to think I was the only crazy person who dealt with this dilemma. So…I just didn’t explain my long bouts of creative isolation or brain-fogginess or distraction.
Then, I started to talk to a few of my creative friends and found that as women…..we are always trying/needing/feeling-called to birth SOMETHING. It is part of us, part of who we are….maybe it’s the same for men. I just feel like we are always on our way to creating SOMETHING. And sometimes we just try to hide that part of ourselves, because we think…WHO AM I TO CREATE ANYTHING? But, it still calls to us.
Some of us keep trying to resist it for years and years and years or even just for weeks or months….and truly, it is the worst kind of misery…..way worse than the uncomfortable parts of sitting on bed rest with your idea, nurturing and letting it be born the way it wants to be born….whether it’s a collage or a book or a song or a room needing to be decorated, or a journal entry or letter, or a marriage or a cake or a garden or a scarf to be knitted……or a class to be taught or a home to be built or a new life to be remade.
When we resist it we are miserable.
Sometimes the creative bed rest need only last a few hours, sometimes a few months….sometimes even longer….just depends.
And we get phonecalls and emails and text messages that say “are you mad at me?” or….”why haven’t you called….” and we just don’t know how to say……I am in the middle of growing something sacred and it hurts and it also is beautiful and wonderful and exciting and real, and it is taking all of the energy that I have right now…………
and we don’t know how to ask…..”can you be patient with me? will you still be there when I can get up and get going again? When this thing is born?”
So we get up and do things that we shouldn’t be doing right now. We put our sacred something at risk to get up and do things that are not the most important things right now….things that satisfy the guilt we feel when we don’t know how to explain that right now…for this little short time, I am doing the most important thing that I know to be doing….I am letting something sacred be born.
We have to start letting ourselves go on creative bed rest. It is short…it is not forever. Most importantly…we have to let EACH OTHER go on creative bed rest and not get testy with each other when we have to decline invitations, or when we can’t return phonecalls or emails for a bit…..when we can’t do extra things…..it is temporary…but we must allow each other that. We all have a need to be creative. We need to allow each other that need.
AND THEN….when the beautiful sacred creative thing is born….we need to feel safe in sharing it with the world. We need to cheer each other on in the whole process, and then treat each other’s sacred something with sacredness and respect.
And most of all….we all just need to not really care too much what other’s think of our sacred something. Because that is not what it is about……it is about letting it be born, then loving it exactly how it is, protecting it as fiercely as we can, and then letting it have a life of it’s own……no matter what the critics have to say.
We need to not have to feel afraid of what others will say or do if it is not good enough……..or if it is SO GOOD that it makes others feel sad or jealous or angry or whatever……..because sometimes…..OFTEN TIMES….the thing that wants to be born just HAD to be born…..and it is not in our control. We did not create something to be better or to turn heads…..or to impress or to be judged in any way. So if it is NOT GOOD ENOUGH or if it is TOO GOOD……..we are scared to share it once it is born. And many times, it was born FOR THE VERY PURPOSE TO SHARE WITH OTHERS….to bring JOY, BEAUTY, TRUTH, KNOWLEDGE, HAPPINESS, PEACE and UNDERSTANDING to the rest of us. Sometimes what is wanting to be born in us has NOTHING to do with us……..and we have to let it go out and have a life of it’s own.
Again…whether it is a song or a poem or a photograph or a painting or a meal or a novel relationship or an event or a solution to a problem. Sometimes we are the only way for it to be born….and if we did not stop and listen to that calling…it would never be born…..and someone, somewhere needed that EXACT thing….and that THING, that creative masterpiece was BORN with that purpose in mind.
…and then we knew it was worth it.
I write this to tell you to stick with it. I write this to tell the girl in Colorado who is writing a novel that you might not ever know why you have felt so called to put everything aside in your life aside from your family, and live in this deep loneliness, to finish it……but that you know that you MUST…and that it will be worth it! .And you are not alone!!! And the clothing artist angel girl in Texas who pours her heart and soul into every beautiful masterpiece creates for the world because she wants everyone to feel her love and that’s how she shows it…I write this to the sweet beautiful artist in California who sits in her house making art videos to teach thousands across the world how to make art online…even though it’s so lonely sometimes, because she can’t NOT do it….it is her calling. I write this to the heartbroken soul in Florida who just keeps making art….night after night….because it proves to herself that she is listening to her soul….and because she CAN’T NOT make art…..it is healing her. I write this to the young grandma in Melba, Idaho who pours over every cookbook looking for the PERFECT recipes to feed to others so they know how loved they are. She can’t NOT…..it is one of her callings. I write this to the songwriters and the gardeners and the knitters and the jewelry makers and the painters and the yoga instructors and the dancers and the singers and the comedians and the quilters and the teachers. To all of us who are called to CREATE (and I believe this is all of us)….WE CAN’T NOT.
AND WE MUST LET EACH OTHER.
WE MUST HELP EACH OTHER.
So if you must do it, you must. And some days it won’t feel good….and that is ok. Some days you will doubt yourself…and many days others will doubt you. Some days you will feel guilty and many days others will attempt to make you feel guilty. MANY days you will not understand and MANY MANY MANY more days others will not understand.
It is ok.
It has to be born.
Let it be born.
We need your light, your creativity, your unique contribution to the world.
YOU need to let it happen.
pass it on….pass on the love, the encouragement and the appreciation to every artist you know……
Read more about this in THIS POST.