In high school, I wrote a paper about Edgar Allan Poe, as somehow I had become fascinated with his stories as a younger girl, when I heard them on snowy nights by fire and candlelight, fascinated by how Poe wove a story and captured the full attention of the listener with his detailed psychological description of the human moment. It was a highlighted memory in my mind. Writing that paper flowed out of me effortlessly and I loved writing it. That high school composition received an F because the teacher was convinced someone of my educational level could not have written such an A+ paper, that it was way beyond my years and I must have cheated. Since my mother watched me write the paper, and since I knew I didn't cheat and also knew that I was channeling something unexpected even when I did it, I fought with my mother to get the grade changed. The teacher would only change it to a C. And the principal supported her to do that. The message I got was that if I really excelled at something, even by accident, I would be punished. I can't tell you how many times that one message sabotaged my willingness to unabashedly create in my life. It has also been one of my greatest teachers, reminding me that what lives inside of me has great value for me in how it makes me feel to do it, and that I am here to do what I love most, and that, maybe even by accident, something is created that flows out of me effortlessly and feels fantastic, and brings me Joy.
Our natural creative spark can show up in a kind of brilliance that is unique to us. It can move through us like a flash of lightning, surprising and delighting even us. And it can be the very thing that is shut down or programmed out of us as a child, rendering us deaf to its power and its intention. We can spend years, decades, our whole life, turning away from it, convinced that it was a single accidental moment a long time ago but it isn't meant for us, even though it felt so good when it happened. Yet is this single moment that is often the key to our deepest creative desire and purpose, and if we could just look through that keyhole in the door, and see to the other side, we would see a brilliant light beckoning us to explore that world further, that it is our special world to experience. That it wasn't an accident, it was an invitation. Then we just need to open the door and step into it. This is where our greatest Joy takes on its real life, its deepest meaning. This is where we experience our creative connection, which is both very personal and ultimately fully universal. For there is no person born who does not have a wellspring of creativity and innovation living within, waiting to be expressed.
One of the biggest justifications for not expressing creatively says, "It's already been done. My idea isn't anything new, so what's the point?" We ponder great inventors and scientists who presented groundbreaking concepts to change the world, and we tell ourselves that because we can't do that, we shouldn't do it at all. But what about the endless examples of artists, musicians, dancers, skydivers, mountain climbers, teachers, writers, scientists, chefs, Olympians, great leaders, filmmakers, architects, doctors, all who followed in the footsteps of what already had been done and just wanted to express what lived inside of them? We love them all, each adding their own signature to their chosen craft. So they became a part of a whole global community of those committed to a version of something, except that every single one of them has been unique. Every single one. If this were not the case, you would have only heard one folk singer, seen one impressionist painter, eaten a fine creole meal by that one chef, seen only one comedian, attended a ballet with one dancer. How boring right? And how sadly alone. No, it is in doing what we love, and then finding our voice developing and growing with its own particular life that is the most satisfying. It is the sharing of that with other likeminded folks who somehow have also tuned into that thing that we also love.
And then one day, even by accident, we create something that we had no idea we would create, and yet it happened. And we Love it! And it feels like we didn't even do it, except we did! And somehow it feels like it's never been done before in just this way. And this is how it works. If we just stay with it and love what we love, we will have a lifetime of creative joy.
Find your creative joy. Believe me, the world needs this now more than ever.
I leave you with a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love:
“Inspiration…appreciates being appreciated. Inspiration will overhear your pleasure, and it will send ideas to your door as a reward for your enthusiasm and your loyalty. More ideas than you could ever use. Enough ideas for ten lifetimes.” —from her book Big Magic
Thanks for reading...Melanie Hutton, Innertegrity.com