Being an artist cracks you open.

 Just when I am going along, feeling like I’m in a pretty positive groove, life reminds me that my work is not done.  I come face to face with forgiveness again.  Intellectually I know that the situation isn’t personal, but it feels so personal.

You see, the creative person creates from their soul.  Their ideas are not born out of thin air.  They have sleepless nights, their mind waking them up at all hours.  Their thoughts come in the shower, while they are cooking, as they try to meditate or pray.  Their thoughts don’t leave them alone.  Creativity doesn’t turn on and off when we want it to.

Then there are the times that the ideas don’t come at all.  Times that we struggle.  Times that we feel creativity has left us behind for good.  We research, we practice, we study, we learn.  We turn inward and wait patiently for the answer.

The creative idea is finally born with a rush of energy.  We pour everything we have into the creative process.  We often work to the sacrifice of all else around us.

And then the fear creeps in.

The time has come to put ourselves out there.  We wonder.  “How will people respond?”  “Will I be good enough?”  “Will they love what I have given?”  “Will I be rejected?”  We take the risk and jump into uncertainty.  The innermost fears we collectively share as humans are repeatedly unearthed in the creative process.  Being an artist cracks you open.  It puts you out there for all the world to judge.

So when we see our work being taken, and our ideas credited to someone else, it does feel very personal.  Watching the praise fall elsewhere after everything we have given is difficult.  Letting go is not the easy way.  Does that person know how we feel?  Do they fully understand what they have taken?  Could they possibly know everything that went into what we have created?  How could they?  We can’t expect them to.  Chances are they gave no thought at all to what it took to create.  It is far easier to simply take.  We’re all busy.  We all have bills to pay and businesses to run.  We all share the same fear of putting our true selves out there honestly.  It is far easier and far less scary to simply do what has already been proven to work.  I get that.

Every artist has felt it.  I think every artist is nodding their head.  It will never disappear entirely from the creative process.  I see it in every creative industry there is.

And still.

And still.

For every artist there is a voice inside that needs to be heard.  That needs to keep creating.  That needs to share what we have been given with the world.  The artistic spirit never dies.  And it cannot be silenced.

We cannot keep our gifts and give them away.

So I will keep creating and keep teaching.  I will keep sharing and hopefully inspiring.  For anyone who is led to take, I hope that many more are inspired to find their own voice instead.  And when I get to that place again where I say, “I cannot forgive this. I cannot let this go”, I will know THAT is the place where my greatest lessons are to be learned.  So I will forgive.  I will remember that each person is in a different place on their way to discovering their own voice, just as I once was.  I will remember it isn’t personal.  And I will thank these difficult situations for teaching me where my wounds still exist.

“A creative person does not take direction from the outside. She does not imitate established forms. She listens within. Now she may survey the world. She may even study and scrutinize it. But then she internalizes what she sees. She takes it in and digests it. She considers it in the light of her own experience. She feels it. She owns it. She makes it hers. And then she gives it back. And what she gives is her vision, her unique perspective, her story. And if she is honest, others will respond to her, because they hear their story in hers.” ~ Paul Ferrini