I created a chalkboard for the new year, a Joseph Chilton Pearce quote:
To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
I spotted the quote on Instagram, and it resonated with me because I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means to live a creative life. Certainly, for me, it's about art since that's how I make my living, but it's about so much more than that too.
Deepak Chopra says that every time we reject an old way of thinking or a habitual response, we are tapping into our most creative selves, imagining and then manifesting a new way of being in the world. In effect, we are, in those moments, creating and recreating ourselves.
The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.
During the month of December, inspired by a friend's Facebook post, I made three lists for 2019: a list of things I didn't want to do, a list of things I did want to do, and a list of things I need to do. In creating the list of things I want to do, I noticed something interesting. There were things I wanted to do but I didn't want to add them to the list because they feel scary to me - big projects that are full of parts I don't know how to do (yet). I would start to write them down, and then stop, suddenly full of what-if-they-don't-pay-off angst. What if it doesn't turn into a book? What if no one wants to buy it? What if it turns out I suck at this thing I've never tried? What if I throw this party, and nobody comes?
But I'm thinking that fear is exactly the thing that prevents us from leading the creative lives we dream of. The answer to all my anxiety-ridden, what-if-I'm-wrong questions is this: I'll learn, and I'll leap forward.
I have, on purpose and by accident, reinvented myself so many times already, finding out what I love to do by trying a lot of things I didn't love first, often finding success through an unromantic process of trial and error. Sometimes it's painful; I'm not gonna lie. I hate being a beginner, and I hate failing, and I hate discovering that a path I thought would be wonderful isn't at all what I imagined it would be.
The thing is, I got to this place by experiencing all of that.
I'm still working on what I think it means to live a creative life. It has something to do with art, and something to do with shedding dead weight, old ideas, and bad habits. It has something to do with losing my fear (or doing things in spite of it), but I think it's mostly about the slow, steady process I seem to be in - quite by accident - of falling in love with the artist inside me. The one who is unconcerned with whether or not her art is good enough, but is entirely consumed by her desire to just keep making the hell out of it.