If you've been following me, I think you'll start to notice that I've started to do things differently. This is going to continue, in every possible way, anyway, that supports me in expressing- as fluidly, efficiently, honestly, effectively, and powerfully- what I feel I am meant to express. I'm sure I'll explain more in coming posts and what not, but for now I'll just give you a brief intro to today's post.
What I'm sharing today is a personal message I sent to a friend who asked a great question. I feel like one of the best parts about what I do as an artist and a coach/mentor/teacher/facilitator/what-evah-you-wanna-call-it is the opportunity to have amazing, meaningful, useful conversations. And I have many of these conversations in the form of emails; I feel like I do my best thinking when I'm writing responses to great questions or when I'm engaged in a fascinating conversation.
I want to share more of these conversations with more people. These are the conversations where I feel most at home in my heart and like I am, potentially, most useful.
I might not always have something to teach (and I don't want to be confined as always being the teacher or coach), but maybe something here will affirm what your heart or your gut has already been telling you. Or maybe it will spark a question or make you realize you know something or have a position you didn't know you had. Maybe you will just feel like you are not the only one thinking these things, dreaming these dreams. Maybe you will know you are not alone.
I do hope there is something useful here for you.
The following is part of the message I received:
"You are an artist, first and foremost, yes?
And your coaching training and skills...and the support you seek out, like, for example, this workshop you participated in is in support of your art, yes?
I have come 'round to this for myself. That my art and self-expression must come first. And that all the rest of it is in support of that.
And then there's this from Elizabeth Gilbert, re motive:
"Oh, and here's another thing: you are not required to save the world with your creativity...."
If I am mistaken, let me know."
And then my response:
So great to hear from you!! And your question is timely - because I've heard it argued for both sides- should you make art for self expression or to help others, and I read and loved Liz Gilbert's book "Big Magic"*, but I guess when it gets down to it, I do believe that we are all essentially one, and a cell expressing itself fully and healthily and robustly is good for the cell and good for the body as a whole. Does the cell have to think about motivation? I don't think so...(but we are just now learning more and more about the individual "intelligence" of cells), but if it helps us as humans to have one motivation or another, then I say "whatever works to set you free until you're off and running and you no longer have to think about it, your intended nature becomes second nature."
There are aspects of making art that feel entirely like "ME ME ME!!!'" to me, though ironically it's in this delicious self-forgetting way- I feel like I have God's full presence and then again, like I don't matter at all (in the most liberating, sublime way). And there are also times when the intersection of other people and my art feels like one of the greatest gifts I could ever have-to create something that connects and is useful to another, that helps another be uplifted and better off. But even if I didn't have those gifts, I know I'd have to make art anyway.
To your question about how I'd identify myself, that's also timely. I've had plenty of time and cause to think about that. And while this answer would get an F from the marketing coaches/experts [because I'm being too broad, not specifying a niche], I know fundamentally what my life is about- and sometimes the best medium for translating that is painting, sometimes it's poetry, sometimes it's writing a novel, sometimes it's coaching, sometimes a conversation, sometimes preparing a meal, sometimes the way I dress or dance, and almost anytime it can be just the way of being with someone.
I think I've almost driven myself crazy at times trying to "define" it because defining confines. That's so the wrong answer as an entrepreneur, I know, but I'm coming to understand that's what's best for me is the understanding that I'm always an artist (or artist-mystic if you want me to get REALLY specific) and part of the amazingness of that is the freedom- I get to make it up as I go! I don't know if that helps at all, but let me ask you- do you feel you have to choose? Xoxo
PS- another thing to consider, I know of countless artists/authors/creatives who have had an amazing positive impact on my life, and there are certainly countless more who have made many things about life I love but they are anonymous to me. Their creativity was a gift for which I'm grateful. Their creativity makes life more worth living. Do I require them to have had the intention to help me? Does it help me less if they just created bc they needed to? Then, on the other hand, you have people who created terribly destructive things. So, the question of motivation /intention is a good one. But going back to the cell analogy- a healthy cell doesn't express in a way that is unhealthy for the body...
*Big Magic is Elizabeth's Gilbert's latest book and for those who haven't read it, I highly recommend you do! And what I'm referring to here is a part in which she talks about creating for your own sake and not because you are trying to help humanity. That's a really quick and dirty explanation that doesn't do the book justice, but for our purposes here today, it will get you through. Again, I'd encourage you to get the book- whether you consider yourself creative or not, you will be glad you did. Your mind and self will grow. I don't agree with absolutely everything, but that makes complete sense to me as there isn't just one way for all people. But I do feel it is a special book, it's not just regurgitating what everyone else is talking about when they talk about "creativity" in the mainstream, and I've implemented many things she espouses since reading it. I didn't bring many books with me to London in my one suitcase, but I did pack Big Magic!
So, there you have it! The first letter post - I have (no joke) hundreds and hundreds of pages of correspondence like this, so I'm sure it will not be the last!
Thank you for reading and have a beautiful weekend!