I have officially arrived at the halfway point of this wonderful creative experiment. After 7 weeks, I can clearly see all the ways that my creative process has improved. And while I still face the same difficulties, such as fear, resistance and procrastination, I'm always learning new ways to overcome them. I don't say this a lot to myself, but I'm really proud of everything I've achieved since the year started.
I realized that a lot of the habits and disciplines I included in this experiment, have always been interesting to me. In fact, at different phases of my life, I implemented these habits to varying degrees of success and failure. Looking at the big picture, I can see that on some level, I was always preparing to become the person I am today. And this version is preparing for future versions to come, always growing and changing. I think that I'm trying to build a well oiled machine that can withstand the unknown and the moments in between when the world isn't particularly fair and life is unusually difficult.
Personally, I wouldn't recommend implementing multiple habit adjustment at the same time. I wouldn't recommend this experiment to anyone, not in the way that I did it. This is intense, and drastic. I realize now that I took on too much. Maybe I really believed I could do it all, or maybe, and this is the more likely scenario, I'm just too hard on myself. I'm not only my worst critic, but I'm not the best manager in my one-woman-creative-enterprise. And while I say this with kindness and in the spirit of observation to implement positive change, I really do take on more than I can handle. I always have.
I’m beginning to see that modes of change don't matter. Only intention and movement do. As long as you know who you are and what you want out of this earthly experience, and deciding to create change in yourself and subsequently the world, simply taking the first step already has you ahead of the curve. The how doesn't matter. I don't think it ever mattered. There are thousands of books and theories on change and self improvement, pick one and try it. I see the timeline of my previous experiences, and while I don't know how I got here, I clearly arrived at the place I planned for. Call it persistence, call it luck, or even resilience. I don't think it matters at all. If someone swears by this method or that one, don't take it too seriously. Just do what works for you. Listen to your gut. If your gut isn't speaking to you, please get to know it. If there's one thing you're going to take from my creative living experiment, if there's one thing you want to implement, it's this. Build a connection to your inner voice. Everything else is just noise.
For weeks, I was sitting with fear, resistance, self-criticism, jealousy and perfectionism. And it's very incessant. I've dealt with it the only way I know how. I continued to create. I loosened my hold on the idea of keeping a daily routine. I let myself play. I allowed spontaneous moments to push away the routine. I told myself, every time I forgot, that I am an artist and that creativity is the natural order of life. I can trust myself and the foundation I've built all those years. I'm telling myself to try something new for a change. I'm telling myself to surrender and let go. I'm telling myself to stand in my own power, and to roar like the Leo that I am. There will always be doubt and fear, and I simply have to accept it.
I want to delve deeper into the previous paragraph, but I'm not sure how to do that exactly. I don't think that I can talk about creative living, without talking about the other 50% of negative emotions and thoughts that most of us carry around. Part of me feels like talking about my own experience infringes on my privacy, which I hold dearly. While the other part doesn't even want to examine my experience or look too closely. Writing is hard. Writing is very very hard, because you're constantly battling your inner critic. I wrote many versions of this blog. This is the most honest and deep version yet. I'm sure if I kept going, the self examination will get deeper and deeper, the writing will get harder, and the blog will inevitably get better.
At the end of week 7, I want to welcome the next 5 weeks of this creative living experiment with openness. I want to acknowledge my struggle to maintain balance. I want to acknowledge that I'm a workaholic. That my hunger for knowledge and new experiences is insatiable. That my ambition clouds my judgment. That fear and doubt will never leave me alone. That I will never be able to control certain things. I want to acknowledge that I fully accept all of the above. That I will continue to lead my life with purpose, love, and creative joy. And maybe, just maybe, I can find it in me to handle fear with love and care instead of resistance and frustration. Maybe that's what it means to be courageously authentic.
I consume a lot of content on most days, and when I find something that helps center me, I want to share it with the world. I hope you find something in these for yourself.
- The Book "Letting Go: The Pathway to Surrender" by David R. Hawkins
- A Talk by Liz Gilbert on the phone app Insight Timer (the app is free) - Facing Fear with Compassion by Liz Gilbert