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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Dancing with your trolls

I’ve been getting a big response from my last video, Dancing my Question, so I thought I’d try dancing with my trolls.

Trolls are what I call those negative thoughts that go on a loop, those critical inner voices that start in on you and won’t let up. I call them trolls because they are stubborn, they have that dogged ability to not let up or leave you alone. I’ve got lots of different creative ways I work with trolls (which I’m going to be talking about in my free webinar, FREE YOUR TROLLS, and which we spend a lot of energy on in my creative magic workout) — but this was a new idea for engaging them, so I thought I’d make this quick video about it and share it right away: karaoke with your trolls!

Something I’m struggling with lately — there’s this little troll that’s like ewww ughhh nobody likes me, nobody’s helping me – it curls inward and projects all my insecurities about what I’m doing or not doing onto everyone around me – so when I drop off my kids at school this troll is saying, they all think you’re a bad mother because you’re dropping your kids off late, ooooooh! It’s this little Gollum-like troll.

If I’m going to work out with this troll using the life changing magic of karaoke, what song makes sense? The song that floated in my brain was “Tears of a Clown”… and honestly, when I worked this out for the first time earlier today, this song showed me SO MUCH about my fears and what’s going on with me and that troll. So thanks, subconscious!

I invite you to try this yourself: Identify your inner troll (I like to draw it and name it but it also works to just notice it) and ask them, what song would help me work out what’s going on? And see what floats into your brain.

Are you ready for me to work out “Tears of a Clown” with you? Let’s see what happens.

[Dancing / singing like a fool]

I’m kind of performing this but I’m also having some genuine insights here. I’m so surprised to realize that the flip side of this hidey nobody’s taking care of me feeling is, this pressure to only share a shiny happy face – I’m not comfortable with anyone seeing my sad face! I don’t feel like I can share my tears, even though I’m someone who talks all the time about crying and sharing your vulnerability. I’ve still got a sad little clown inside me who has to wait until there’s no one around to be real! I sound like I’m joking but this is genuinely helpful for me… and I have some trolls right now who are telling me, this is pretty self indulgent… which is another frequent troll for me. But I’m sharing because I wonder if some of you have those trolls, maybe the horror of self indulgence, or little sad Gollum who feels like he’s supposed to be Flashy McFlasherson?

If so: work it out, see what comes up for you!

 

Dancing your question

Today I am demonstrating an exercise that is so simple, I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about it for the last nine months. Ready? It’s SINGING KARAOKE BY YOURSELF.

Or you could sing with others! It works even better that way. But if you’re like me and you can’t leave the house at night without civilizations crumbling to dust, you can also go out to the garage, or the shower or your car or the attic or the basement or a closet — anywhere where you can be alone and undisturbed — and find a karaoke track on youtube and sing to it.

Here’s the twist: pick a question that is haunting you or an area where you’re blocked, and sing and dance with THAT. Dance with your question. Let the answer come in your dancing and singing.

For me, today I’m having a big block / messy internal tangle around childcare and work and how to find balance, so I’m going to think of a song that can help me with that. Hmm… for some reason, Edith Piaf comes to mind. My favorite song of hers is Je Ne Regrette Rien. So I’m going to karaoke it and see what I find out. (Skip to 6:01 if you want to get right to me singing and dancing).

If you try this, let me know what you learn! Regret nothing!


… Want to sing and dance and draw and write (or all of the above) with me? I’m offering free 1:1 spring workout sessions! Go here to schedule one: Coaching