When seeking the muse, are you a good traveler, or do you insist upon knowing the outcome of your journey? Too often, we stifle our creativity when we refuse to enjoy the adventure and concentrate only upon the ultimate destination.
In I'd Rather Be Writing, Marcia Golub discusses this dilemma. "Some people tell themselves they can't write without a perfect beginning. They're looking for that opening sentence, that great scene, the bit that's going to bring the whole together. And so they can't start. But they can't get that beginning without actually beginning. There's no other way to say it. You start by starting. You give up your perfectionism. What has perfectionism done for you lately?"
Perfectionism as an excuse may mask a deeper problem: Have we accepted ourselves as creators? Is this why we struggle against our inspiration--delaying the creative process until we've learned more, become more proficient or the circumstances of our life change? There are times when it is hard to believe we are truly ready right now--but we are. At this very moment, we possess everything we need to be creative. Accepting our readiness brings the courage to let our creativity emerge; this, in turn, allows us to embark upon extraordinary journeys.
Deepak Chopra, in The Way of the Wizard, encourages us by comparing the creative process with natural forces. "Work subtly like water seeping deep into the earth. The water springing out of the ground today fell as rain thousands, even millions of years ago. No one knows much about the life of this hidden water, where it goes, what happens to it among the deep-hidden stones. But one day, released by gravity, it rises out of darkness, and, amazingly, the water springs up completely pure and fresh. If you sit in silence and listen for a few minutes, the words will begin to sink in. Let that happen, then let the wisdom do its work. Don't expect or anticipate any result, be but alert to whatever happens. Whatever happens is good."
Julia Cameron, in Vein of Gold, echoes his thoughts, advocating that we not only accept our inner wisdom but allow it to express itself over time. "While all of us might wish for fast and sustained growth, hothouse creativity, that is not the ideal. Forced creative growth, like vegetables that are artificially rushed, tends to have a flat, cardboard taste to it. There is something hollow, mechanistic, even flavorless in work that lacks the succulence of full germination."
"In order to succeed creatively, we must learn to be discerning gardeners. We speak of having the "seed" of an idea, and we need to take that image literally. For a seed to sprout and mature into a healthy adult plant, it requires both care and nourishment. The seeds of our creativity likewise require enough solitude and space to grow unhindered."
As gardeners, we are gentler with the growing plant than we are with our creative ideas. We don't expect the flower to bloom before we begin. We see the necessity for hoeing the ground, planting the seed, watering the earth and pulling the weeds. Though the work may be hard, we are still able to enjoy the tasks and the setting, all the while anticipating the beauty we are creating. Our creative garden deserves the same patience. Only then will our efforts bloom, bringing splendor to our world.
By Loretta Kemsley
Women Artists and Writers International
Writer, Editor and Editorial Coach
Loretta Kemsley's Personal Portfolio: Women's Writings
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