"Whaaaaaaaaaat have I done?" I am crying aloud to myself. I signed up recently for Leah Piken Kolidas's Art Every Day Month challenge @http://creativeeveryday.com/art-every-day-month that starts on November 1st. I guess I am having buyers remorse, and I have not even purchased anything. Maybe it should be called "creativity remorse" in my case. I am telling myself that I am very creative and that I should not have to worry about a 30 day challenge to make art every day. If I really think about it, I do a lot of creative things every day and Leah mentions that those creative things can be defined as broadly or as narrowly as you would like; anything from making a creative dinner, finding a creative way to save money, taking a creative outing, or just producing creative art. It's all about just recognizing and honoring that creative aspect of yourself everyday. I should be able to do that right?...then why is it still scary to me?
Riding the Roulette Wheel of Fear Again
I am reminded again of my sketch from my last blog post. How often this idea of fear creeps into my life. In response to my confession to her that I was a bit afraid of this new challenge, Leah wrote, "Fear is a good thing." She suggested that this might mean that the challenge is important to me and that "I might be at my creative edge, which is exciting". I guess the truth be known, I am both afraid AND excited to begin something new.
I have listened to several people over the years tell me to just "Do It Afraid", which is a concept that others make sound far easier than it actually is to accomplish. This shortened mental affirmation appears to reflect the essence of another quote that I have visited periodically during my life. Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman of great courage and strength once said "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing that you think you cannot do." I can not say that I would consider creating art every day a "horror" in itself, but my fear always revolves around failure or not "getting it right".
Listening To My Own Inner Voice and
Listening to my own small "innerspirit" soul voice...and not "The Inner Critic's" voice that is always shouting louder to be heard, is something that I have to consciously decide to do each time that I set out to do something that makes me feel "butterflies in my stomach". I need to take more stock in some of the things that have told my clients and students over the years when they have experienced these feelings. I tried to make a mental list today of what some of those encouraging words or concepts were, since usually they came to me during the moments when someone was stuck, a group was staring at me with paint brushes frozen in their hands and terror in their eyes, or when someone was complaining that they had no artistic talent and lamenting that the things that they drew or painted never were any good. Here is the mental list I came up with to reflect on as I undertake this new month long art challenge. It comes from some of my favorite quotes, concepts that were shared with me by my own mentor/teachers, and from my own general stumblings through my art and life journey.
- Do you know what FEAR stands for ? False Evidence Appearing Real. (I always loved that one)
- Everyone is artistic. We are born with the gift to create. When I give a 6 year old child a piece of paper and a brand new set of 64 crayons, you do not ever hear them say that they are not an artist or that they cannot draw. That is a learned concept. Someone, several someone's and/or society have told you that you are not artistic, it's just not true.
- "Fear is the prison of the heart." Anonymous
- "Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared." Eddie Rickenbacker
- Art is subjective. The concept of what makes "good art" and who is an "artist" are society created paradigm's.
- Remember the Impressionists? Monet, Cézanne, Renoir, Gauguin, etc? No one would discount that they are great artists and as such, their paintings hang in world class art museums. During the Renaissance, these artist's were denied the opportunity to show their work in the prominent french "Salon" which was the most well known and elite art show of it's time in Europe. They were not only denied for many years in a row, but they were told that their works were not any good and that they would never be successful. This certainly is something to think about.
Lastly, when I am really floundering and I need to make life a little lighter and let the anxiety lift, I take a long, deep breath in and long, slow breath out and remember "A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she's in hot water." –Eleanor Roosevelt. That one always makes me smile.
What things do you fear? How have you handled the fear or what tools/resources have you used to help you to cope with your fears? I would love to hear from you.