The Distractions of Being Creative – Part 4
The last part of this series has taken a few months to finish and it seems apt that the subject is really the reason why it has taken so long. I have explored strategies for moving into silence, listening to our hearts and feelings, choosing a state of being before acting, and being vulnerable enough to create using our feelings. This is where the true magic of creativity lies and where we should be able to gain some momentum. But what happens if we stumble as we begin? Or even half way through a project? I am going to discuss recognising our ego voice, the inner critic, and how to embrace it and move through the resistance of this powerful distraction.
My inner critic has been the biggest distraction of them all. In many ways, I think it is the only distraction any of us face when deciding to consciously create within our lives. It does not matter whether the creation is a piece of art or attempting to manifest within our lives using universal and natural laws. All the other distractions seem to line themselves up on the command of our inner ego-critic.
It pays to understand a little about our ego. It is our envelope of perception in this world. It is our vehicle, our body, and our limited perception of the world. It is a lens we can choose to look at the world through or not. It is based on what we have experienced thus far and is hard-wired into survival mode. The ego operates from information it has gathered over time, from perceptions, beliefs, habits and paradigms learnt at home, school and culturally. Our ego is highly impressionable and susceptible to fear, whether real or imagined. It can often take its cues from mob-rule and mass opinion. It is essential for us to live because it is the mind-body we ride around in, but just like a car, it operates better when it has a good driver.
What do ego-based distractions look like?
The ego can be scared of what it doesn’t know. This fear of the unknown can grow quite big. It can stop us before we even start. It is easy to chat to people and to ourselves about creating great things but quite another to engage in positive visualisations, habits and actions. We might notice the wind has blown out of our sails. We are excited about a project and we get everything prepared, sit down and BAM! Nothing there. Fear of success, fear of failure, fear of having to change our daily routine just a little to accommodate our passion.
The ego can talk us out of action. We can start writing a poem, a journal, a song; we can start sketching, singing or dancing and we catch a glimpse of ourselves and our work. We feel stupid all of a sudden. The work seems futile. We call ourselves useless, untalented, unworthy. The inner-critic begins judging us. It is not a nice voice.
We can block ourselves before we have even started. I have heard this a million times from a million people, including myself. I can’t sing. I can’t dance. I can’t draw. I can’t cook. This is an immediate block to anything. Who says you can’t? Well I tried and I failed. In almost all cases like this, people were told when they were young that they could not do a thing. The seed of disbelief was planted long ago and grew into a great big wall. The wall of course is not real. Everyone is capable of anything. Failure is a part of learning. But the seed was planted. The ego believed it and we have created a belief and perception to which our actions then match.
Comparison is a big one. The ego compares our half-finished projects to a complete work – often from a master. Most artwork requires editing. Songs need polishing, as do dance moves. Paintings can be weeks or months in preparation, books drafted tens of times. Yet we compare our first attempts to grand works and judge ourselves not good enough. Famous art has been years in crafting. We just want to get started and enjoy ourselves. For the sake of having fun!
The ego, our mind, will operate straight out of the subconscious if we are not consciously choosing to be engaged in our hearts and the present moment. We tend to react to situations in a knee-jerk fashion based on previous experiences. All of these things together can leave us procrastinating. Feeling the fear of vulnerability and judgement and not acting at all. I find myself here so much and I constantly have to work to undo the inertia.
There is a way out. When we begin to get quiet, calm and centred, our attention becomes more present, we become aware of our whole body and the beat of our heart. In scientific terms, the heart becomes coherent with the brain and more information flows from the neurons in the heart to the brain itself. Our breath deepens and we begin to see a bigger picture.
We have an opportunity to line up our energy with our creative dreams. We can sit in silence and imagine taking part in and completing original creative work. We can imagine what it feels like. The feelings of participation, achievement and completion. As we allow feelings of positivity to enter us, we can sit with that energy and let it flow through our bodies and minds.
Suddenly we wonder what all the fuss was about and begin taking inspired actions again… if we can increase the flow of creative energy and excitement and then act upon it. We can see solutions to problems and will be operating from a more conscious and connected perspective. Heart-centred awareness is the solution that humans most seek. Heart-centred focus and visualisation is the way through the fear. It is the salve for our limiting ego-voice. Hug the ego. Make it feel safe by expanding your heart… and get creative!