Authenticity is the equivalent to undressing in front of a crowd. It means to be open, to be vulnerable, to know and really show yourself. Who you are, who you were born to be. Many times I catch myself hiding, putting on these masks that I don't like. A kind of protection, of expression. "And from what really?" I asked myself this morning again. I'm not sure, but maybe I don't need to know. Where does it come from, why am I like this? This fear? All that I don't have in creating, in expressing myself through my art. I feel like two parts of me are in conflict from time to time. The artist, in one hand, that expresses herself freely in different ways. The creativity and spontaneity that flow without control. Almost like a latent need to put all feelings out. There is no rehearsal, only that moment in time and space. The artist who is not afraid of talking about her art, to show herself, to put herself out there and sell her creations. And on the other side there is a fragile woman, who is not always willing to put herself out there. She who has some rough days, where she struggles with her own demons. Insecurity and fear of expression. An over rationalising human who is working on her own flow - in life. I guess we all have our battles. Some which are easier to win, and others that need a little more care. We all have the parts in us that can be better, that can be developed even further, that can be unleashed.
We are all born pure and free. Little creative humans who dance, draw, play, invent games and stories. Who are as authentic as a human can be. We undress in front of crowds without even thinking. There are no limits for absorption and expression. And then we start growing. Growing in size and un-growing in freedom. It seems that all this movement is unlearned. We absorve from our surroundings that we aren’t good enough. That life is rough and we need protection. That we have to be and choose certain paths in order to be safe and secure. We shut down, we forget to be connected to our essence at all times, in order to fit in to a model. To be accepted. Just to be. Instead of to live. To live our essence and our creativity.
Our environment encourages conformity and control - two concepts I perceive as prisons. We become afraid of letting ourselves loose. The fear that kills our freedom of expression and creativity, once we start telling ourselves “I can’t” “I don’t dare” “what will people think of me?” I am breaking free of this. And I found out that, by encouraging and teaching other humans to find their inherent creative confidence they had as children, I find my own courage to express myself in other ways. It is a win-win situation, that we can all (re)learn, unleash and live - truly and fully.
widen your spectrum
You don’t have to be Picasso or Monet at your first attempt of expressing yourself. Maybe you are not a visual artist, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t creative. Look around for the ways you area already creative. Grab a paper and a pen, and start making a list of the ways you already apply creativity in your daily life. When you only have a few things left in your fridge and you create a new dish just from that. When you mix and match your clothes in order to create your daily look. When you need to fix something in your home and don’t have the exact pieces needed. When you build up a spreadsheet from scratch in order to organize your working flow. When there’s a birthday coming up and you create a surprise for the loving human. Broaden your spectrum. The sky is the limit. Or not even that.
appreciate the valleys
We grow up in a surrounding of getting things right or getting things wrong. Just like that. Black and white. You either get a cheer and a reward, or you are set to punishment. What happened to all the valleys in between the mountains? Failure was presented to us as something bad, as a final destination, but as we were kids, didn’t we just get up after falling? Yes, sometimes a few tears came down, and that’s ok. But we did get up for a new game. The mistakes we make are not final destinations, but rather little obstacles that teach us to reroute. We learn by doing. We have the clarity of what really works, and what doesn’t. What we like and what we don’t. And we only have a true propriety to say so, if we actually experimented it.
Take risks and have a little faith in the process of doing so. Believe in yourself, believe that you can do it. That you are unique and have all the tools to make things happen for you. Whatever aim you have. Let go of the control. It does not exist. Of the vision of a result, of pre-conceived ideas and judgements. Get out of your comfort zone. That is when you will actually evolve and get in touch with yourself and with your creative side. Do things without a plan. Walk around the streets without a destination. Choose the path to walk through, just following your instinct in that moment. To turn left or right? It’s up to you. Change your route to work, try new foods, try out new ways of making love, experiment new behaviours and reactions, find out about other subjects of interest to you, broaden your spectrum of knowledge, meet new people. You can’t control others, but you do own yourself. Eat with your hands. Paint with your fingers. Write a poem. Or just write, whatever pops into your mind. You don’t have to show it to anyone if you don’t want to. But do it. Just let go of whatever is holding you back. “To create and to analyse are two different processes” says John Cage.
make yourself big
I always ask myself why we have this tendency of feeling smaller than the rest of the humans we see, watch, follow or are surrounded by. The grass always seems greener on the others side. But is it?
Sidenote: yes, this hyper connected, social media thingy going on has a big effect on that. Everyone seems to live the perfect life. Does that resonate with you? Well, they are not perfect. Perfection does not exist. And maybe they amazing, but that doesn’t mean your life isn’t awesome.
By comparing we end up criticising ourselves and forget to really appreciate everything we have and are. We are spending so much energy watching others and worried about what they will think, that we end up shutting down our own potentials and achievements. It is ok to aspire for more, but don’t be too harsh on yourself. Your efforts are worthwhile. Don’t be afraid of what people will think. There are 7 billion humans in the world, someone will fall in love with you and your ideas. You just gotta believe in yourself, and put your self out there for these humans to find you. You are worth it, and you are more than enough. Say that out loud, say it to yourself in the mirror. And feel it. Really feel the power of it. You are all of that. And even more.
be brave and vulnerable
The conventional image of the starving artist living in a garret dominates our culture. To use our creativity as a tool is seen as a path to poverty and obscurity. However, creativity is an expression, it is the making of something that comes from within, in whatever application and form. Isn’t that brave? I mean, who can actually turn from inside out, share and exhibit its own self like that out to the world? That is showing yourself. That is vulnerability. The more we dedicate time and part of us to it, the more it means something. The more we might fear the judgement. To be open, to put it all out there is to actually be very courageous. It’s not a weakness, it’s a brave act. As Brene Brown says, vulnerability is not a fragility, but rather a strength. So just put it out there. Put yourself out there. And when people talk about you, or your work, hear the compliments and forget about the insults, ‘cause you had the balls to truly show yourself, and man I’d take off my hat (if I was wearing one) for that. It’s not always easy - trust me, I know - but it is definitely worth it. And once you are out there, hold on to that feeling and do it all over again. Stay tuned.
“And when am I ready to start?” I say: “Why not right now?" I don’t believe in creative blockages, I only see the fear to start. To let go of everything you are doing and just jump into it. I see that as procrastination. To put other things as priorities. The fear that kills creativity. Rather than anticipating results or problems, fix a time and make a commitment with yourself. Show up and work. Make it happen. It doesn’t matter how much you are hustling with, how many items are on your to do list, take a time every day for it. Put it out, and you can always go back to it later, edit it, rewrite it, repaint it. It’s really about turning motivation into real motion.
get into flow
Use your creative brain to generate a wealth of ideas, don’t let your rational side tell you that they are not worthy. Put one idea onto the paper - or whatever surface you have in mind - and use that as a trigger for new ideas. Use the flow in your favor. Start making connections, taking your own limitations out of your way. Brainstorm and lay down your ideas in front of you. And only then you stop and you get a closer look, what is worth developing more, or maybe not at all? Let your rational and analytical part step in. But instead of letting that feeling of “oh it’s crap” settle in, be really critical and point out the exact elements why that idea is not good enough. Be specific. It’s about the facts and not your personal emotions.
And remember it’s ok to start with small steps. Feel your pace. And move on from there. One step at a time. When you start feeling a little more comfortable, try another pace. It’s like going for a run. You probably wont run 20km on your first attempt. You start with three, then five, then maybe seven or eight km. And so on. Feel and respect your own time. You are not competing with anyone. There is no finish line. Work in getting stronger and more confident.
Exercise your weird creative muscles.
Start, act, reroute, repeat.
Every single day.
Every single experience.
Every single moment.
Breath in and out.
If you wan't to read more about creativity applied to different parts of your life, I invite you to check out my blog, co-created with some other creative humans :)