Hiding is part of the creative quest

I’ve been thinking about hiding.

The ways we hide as artists, as adults, as parents, as people.

Why do we hide from the things we most want? How is it that you can have this epic thing you’ve been wanting to do for ten, twenty, thirty years and somehow you never do it? The book of poems you want to write, the album you want to record, the country you want to travel to, the house you want to build, the children’s book you think you could dream up.

I coach artists through the creative process, so I have seen first hand how we all get stuck in these expectations, these fears, these stories that lock us in place.

I’m also an artist myself, and I am very familiar with hiding from the work I’m most called to do. I’ve done it before, and I’ll certainly do it again. I’m probably doing it right now!

I’ve carried around a lot of shame around hiding, but when I look back, I see no cause for shame.

Hiding is part of the creative process. It’s part of the hero’s journey – avoiding the call to action, trying to find some way to not embark on the great quest that calls to you.

We hide because it’s scary, and it’s hard, and it’s easier to avoid hard things than it is to face them. It’s easier to get pulled into other people’s projects, other people’s needs, other people’s agendas, other obligations than having the courage and tenacity to make space for our own projects, our own needs, our own vision and voice.

It’s absolutely understandable to be scared, to hide – and it is also absolutely possible to build up the muscles to face your fears and get out there and do it anyway.

So today, right now, let’s spend a moment noticing what we are hiding from. Notice those thoughts that are running through your head, take a deep breath, and sit with them instead of pushing them away.

Let’s think of the great heroes, real and imagined, who hid from their gifts and their demons as long as they could before they turned and faced their destiny.

I’ve been thinking about Sansa Stark, the hero in Game of Thrones (maybe the ONLY character on that whole freaking show who got a satisfying arc from start to finish but more on THAT another time).

One of the things I love most about her character’s growth is how it took a loooooooooong time for her to step into her power, to become an active agent. For many seasons I was impatient with her, dismissing her as passive and weak, a pawn.

But I was wrong. She was hiding for a good reason. She was hiding because that was the best way to survive, and she was slowly, patiently gathering the skills and the strength she needed to step out into the open.

I love that watching her grow helped me look at myself differently, to value the parts of myself I have dismissed in the past.

I’ve put together a video on working through your creative fears and blocks and guess what my first recommendation is? Accepting hiding as part of the creative process. 

If you want to see what my other recommendations are you can watch the video (or read the transcript) by signing up here: get the HOW TO UNDO A CREATIVE BLOCK video

And wherever you’re at in your creative quest, whether you are hiding or crossing a bridge or facing a monster: I wish you strength and courage!

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