Last night I decided what I was going to blog about today. Just before jumping on the WordPress page to post, I saw a tweet from the beloved Shawna Marie. I went over to her Blog Talk Radio Show Page and although she was already 15 minutes into the show – she was speaking about the EXACT subject of my post today at PRECISELY the moment I joined the show.
She then invited me to call in and the ensuing conversation was nothing short of inspiring. Click here to listen to “Staying The Course”.
As mentioned in an earlier post, I started reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron again last week. The reading for the first week addresses the subject of “monsters” or those things that frighten us, crippling our ability to be creative.
One of the exercises if for us to think back on those people and situations which indelibly printed a message of fear in our minds and hearts.
Since this is my third time reading the book, I’ve always come up with the same stories and after chatting with a fellow writer (YES, you ARE a writer!) and member of this group, I had an epiphany.
Each time when I previously read the book, I thought of my mother. She modeled a life for me during my teenage years of self-sacrifice. However, it wasn’t balanced and self-sacrifice turned upside down is the doorway to abuse. Self-abuse, by not taking care of your needs, not fulfilling your purpose, not living up to your dreams leads others to believe that you don’t matter, you are not worthy and they will begin to treat you in such a way. It may not manifest itself as abuse, but, the truth is that Jesus did not call ANY of us to martyrs. While it is grand and noble to spend every waking moment of our lives in servitude to others, a few hundred years ago, we would have referred to that as slavery, and rightly so.
Previously, I focused on the things I had been told, that crippled me with fear about writing. This time, I focused on the things that weren’t said, but modeled for me. I thought more about the experiences that left an imprint and an aversion to fun and making my dreams a reality.
I believe, as Julia Cameron that we are ALL born creative beings. I know this, because we were created by a God who said “Let there be” and there was. We were, more importantly, created in his image and his likeness.
Have you ever noticed that babies, often before they can talk start to hum and sing? Do you remember being a child and drawing pictures so your parent could hang them on the refrigerator? Perhaps you were a child who loved bedtime stories and even made up a few of your own?
What happened to that inner child?
Some where along the way, you were told or shown that being creative was just for play. Having fun was not nearly as important as the drudgery of work. By the time we enter elementary school, our “recess” or play time gets reduced so significantly that our inner child begins to view it as optional and not a necessity. We move on to having “play dates” only on the weekend and the stage is set. We understand that work is drudgery and a necessary part of our lives. We have to learn to make time for play.
Play has been defined as enjoyment of activity. Why are we taught that in order to make a living we need to pursue activities that we do not enjoy?
Something within us is damaged. It slowly begins to wilt and wane.
IT’S STILL THERE. You’ve heard that whisper, you’ve felt that urge. You haven’t told anyone how excited you REALLY get when you walk into a bookstore. No one REALLY understands how you can anticipate the next chord or the next lyric to a song you’ve never heard before. You are ashamed to admit that just walking into the paper section at Staples gets you excited. The smell of paint and the site of a brush makes you want to escape on canvas. You keep your mouth shut at times when you have so much more to add to the conversation.
UNLEASH IT. It’s not dead. Go to a movie ALONE. Go to a concert ALONE. Pull out a pen and paper ALONE. Open up a sketch pad and draw something ALONE. Whatever it is that is stirring up in you as your read this – take some time TODAY to do it ALONE. DO IT TODAY. Whatever you want to PLAY, I’m giving you permission to do it! (NO TAKE BACKSIES!)
Once you have done it ALONE – then write how you felt. I know it sounds corny, but, I want you to write how you felt in the moment of HAVING FUN and doing what you wanted to do. Remember when you were a kid and came in the house after playing with your friends? You just HAD to tell someone. No matter how busy your mom was cooking, you felt like you would BURST if you didn’t share your joy with someone else. Come to momma – even if you need to write it on the blog under a fake name. It doesn’t matter.
Now, just because you know you need to capture the moment, don’t FORCE the moment. Don’t set out to write a complete story or finish an entire painting. Whatever your play activity is – the most important thing is to have FUN – I want you to capture the FUN, not necessarily the activity.
So it doesn’t matter what you do or how much of it you do. Do it as long as it’s FUN! Even if you only write a paragraph. Even if you didn’t complete your sketch. Even if you couldn’t get to a concert, so you just listened to your favorite song on FULL BLAST and sang out loud in the shower while your spouse went out to the store! Capture that moment!
And then, I want you to make it a habit, for the rest of this week, to read what you wrote. Reflect back on the moment. EVERY DAY, when you wake up in the morning, go into the bathroom or another private place – READ THE NOTE and look in the mirror. Feel the smile on your face. Shed tears if you must. But, I need for YOU to relive THAT moment as often as possible. EVERY NIGHT, just before you go to bed, relive the moment. If you post it here – come back, I promise, if you post it here – I will come back and encourage you daily. JOY IS CONTAGIOUS!
DON’T SHARE THE MOMENT WITH ANYONE ELSE! If you MUST share it, come to this blog and share. But, don’t share it with anyone that you see on a daily basis.
Watch what happens.
Meet me here next Sunday and share the results. I want to celebrate YOU and celebrate with you. Then we can take the next step together 🙂
Let’s SMASH those monsters together 🙂
Thanks so much to Jeneen for the chat yesterday and for being willing to work with me in monster slaying!
Thanks so much to my sister from another mister, (JESUS!) Shawna Marie for keeping me inspired and focus!
My goal for today is to PLAY!!!