One thing I am never going to be able to do is give birth to a human. In so many ways, I am quite relieved about that. I have heard from various sources that it is horrific, amazing, painful, easy, terrifying, endless, sublime – the list goes on. And yet, in one sense, I have given birth multiple times. I have nurtured artistic projects, brewed up ideas, penned songs, drawn pictures, imagined stories, learnt and written plays, taken lead roles, written a musical score, recorded albums, played countless gigs and now finished my first book. These are my creative babies and giving birth to them has never been easy.
Artists like to compare their work to having children because in some ways, it is our own artistic inner child that needs to be nurtured and grown in order to be a functioning artist. Art is a creature that has needs and must be protected at all costs, given the right amount of nutrition, time and rest. It grows and becomes actualised even when we cannot see it. I would go one step further and include all creative thought, ideas and plans into this idea of giving birth. I believe we are all artists and create myriad forms and geometries whether we are aware of it or not.
From the obvious, such as making love and creating a baby, to the practical that entails gathering food and cooking a meal, to the purposeful which has an unlimited range of mediums, styles, commitments and seriousness, all the way through the inventive, innovative, ludicrous, hilarious, and momentous, to the fleeting art of every single moment we live. Art is life and life is art.
We bake cakes, romance each other, dream up futures, invent gadgets, design weddings, decorate houses, plan parties, figure out the next best step, weigh up pros and cons, decide which school our children should go to, invest money and choose jobs. What we consume is a choice that has consequences and consumption is not limited to food. The programs we watch, the books we read, the news we ingest and the peers we listen to all add colour and shade to our flame. We are sensual beings that absorb information and transmute it into ideas and perceptions that go on to create our individual realities. Perceptions generate thoughts which in turn colour our actions and contribute to our emotional state. We are shy, loud, confident or unworthy because of what we have experienced in our lives.
What I am driving at is that we are all creative. That is what it means to be human. Creativity happens best with the heart fully open and engaged but anyone can begin wherever they are. In order to give birth to our dreams, we have to nurture ourselves and increase the level of compassion we have. When I am struggling to create, I am missing some vital ingredients. It doesn’t matter whether I am working on a song or trying to find a place to live. If struggle is present then I know I am not nurturing myself.
Giving birth is hard. We meet with resistance and procrastination. We don’t believe in ourselves or our abilities. Often, we berate ourselves and allow the inner critic to dominate our thoughts. We talk ourselves out of the project, or the job interview. We criticise our efforts and return to watching the TV or mindlessly scrolling social media. These are coping mechanisms for not be able to face our lack of confidence. There is a disconnect between our creative self and our physical, manifested self.
My new book is being held back by my resistance to worthiness. I often feel alienated, ignored, without a voice. Yet writing is what I do best. It is the art-form that flows most easily from me. Note to Self is about revealing that inner artist. It is about creating bridges between our higher and lower self and allowing traumas to dissolve and creativity to flow and I am finding it hard to finish the project!
Having said that, I write this to give you hope. We only have to show up a little bit. Those small daily habits and steps join up into a beautiful journey and that is the point. Day by day I am growing and learning to love myself more. With each realisation and dawning moment of compassion that I have, I move closer to completing my next project. I talk to myself in better ways. I give myself space. I take time to meditate. I drink more water and allow myself to just be. I try not to think in grand sweeping gestures anymore. I know which direction I want to go and I concentrate on the next step. The baby will not be rushed. When it is ready, it will come.
We are at a time of great change within humanity. Old ways are being shown to no longer work. We are being confronted with our own demons. In the face of all of this, I have chosen to stand up in all my sovereign glory and explore what has been holding me back creatively and emotionally. I want to know what we can do to begin healing the tide of trauma within us and step into our greatness. August marks a month of creative exploration and is a sign of great majesty and grandeur. This is our window to our souls.
Create August Awesome! is my idea and challenge to show up to my own creativity every day for the month of August. It is a simple idea. Creativity can take any form, and take any amount of time. Any media, any discipline, the only condition is to have fun. No critics, no judgment of self or others, just a celebration of my own unique human quality of creativity. If you want to join me you are most welcome. I encourage you to share your projects anywhere you like using the hashtag #createaugust. Join the Facebook group, share on Instagram, blog about it, invite friends to some daily creativity. Let’s see what we can create together.
Matt Rivers is a singer/songwriter, musician, poet and writer of words. He is passionate about rediscovering our inner creative flow, adding love and beauty to society and looking after our wonderful, amazing planet.
Grab a free preview of his upcoming book Note to Self: Writing to Reveal Your Soul before it comes out in September.