V is for Voice.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Hmmm. Maybe. Though not necessarily so! (as my oldest niece, having her little sister copy everything that she does, is finding that it’s more irritation than anything else! ;-)). But it’s how we learn isn’t it? We copy the alphabet to learn how to write and spell. We go to art galleries and reproduce our version of the old masters paintings into our school art pads. We study each and every nuance of our favourite performers to try and capture something of their creative genius essence.
And yet we also have our own way, our unique way, of seeing and perceiving and observing the world around us, filtered through our eyes, experiences and beliefs.
As a small child we dance and draw and make up stories and games. All of our knowing is play based. And pure. And innocent.
This innocence gets corrupted and we become closed down in some way. More fearful, less trusting of our own innate vision and truth. And this impacts upon our voice the strongest. We lose our voice.
We have been told that what we have voiced is ‘wrong’. What this filters down to, at the most base insidious level, is that must mean that ‘we are wrong’, ‘I am wrong’. And that is a mighty twisted place to live our life from. It’s an off balance, crooked and unstable foundation, you know, the bit beneath what is seen, to build atop. We might create giant heights to dazzle and take ones breath away but, and it’s terrifying really, a little gust of critical wind, a tiny blow of another’s questioning breath, and down it all tumbles, a staggering dusted cobble and debris of all that has been created from the illusion, and goddamn it it is an illusion, a deluded delusion actually, of being wrong.
Now copying is not wrong. In a way it’s an extraordinary way of understanding another’s genius. We literally put ourselves in their shoes. We shapeshift and become them like putting on a costume. We attempt to mine the essence of who they are and what makes them tick and why they create the way that they do. This can teach us empathy and keep curiousity alive. But staying here too long and it borders on fetishism and plagiarism and probably other words that end in ‘ism’! ;-). And it negates, the already wobbly toothed state, of our true and authentic and uniquely ours, voice.
Having spent the last few months crafting this here website for my new business, I have immersed myself in the t’interneted world of the how to’s and the marketing do’s and don’ts. Everyone has an opinion, their opinion, their VOICE, on the most optimum way to navigate this terrain. Now I’m not about to blast all of these tremendously helpful and creatively entrepeneured folk. Well maybe just a smidge! But there is a kinda ‘one size fits all’ system going on. A system that’s appears to be, in my opinion, quite shouty and fuelled by a shady hint of fear. Like that’s the fuel. Fear. Because unless we do it this way or that way we might never be seen. We might never be heard. We might never find those folk whom we are extending our hearts and arts out to.
I get it. I really do. Obviously I want for my business to take off. Obviously I desire clients and likes and claps and for what I am offering to be successful. I also want to make a living, a damn good living, from what I’m tremendously good at. I own this. For the sake of clarity and integrity. I both desire to make a fabulous living from something I am devotedly passionate about; and, I am absolutely bloody great at what I do. Full stop. Amen! ;-)
But here’s the thing. After many weeks of ploughing through this advice and this checklist I started to feel like something wasn’t quite right for me. Something was off. And what I realised was it was I that was off, off kilter from my own truth, from my own authentic voice.
You see I’ve never been what one might call conventional. I wouldn’t really know how. I’m me. I’ve always been me. And these days blessedly I feel more me then I have ever felt so before. And that’s bloody marvellous.
And what that also means is that I have been listening to and following my own truth more and more. Stayed in my own integrity lane if you like. And on a bigger scale that means that anything that I put ‘out there’ or offer or express will be coated in pure ‘me’ ness. If that’s a thing. Yeah I can see how that might seem a little selfish (me, me, me!!! ;-)), but there comes a time when we gotta stand up and claim our voice, and the way it pours forth through us, whether in words, or paint, or music, or song, or image, or dance etc. We gotta take our shape and fuel it with our absolute ‘Yes!’. We gotta own that crown atop of our heads, work that sash, and wave that glinting, gold topped sceptre, unapologetically, for all to see. Well, at the very least we gotta allow ourselves to be (fellow introverts I hear you!). That’s it. No excuses. Nada. Zilch.
So, thank you, there have been tips aplenty that have certainly been worth the deep dive into marketing know how. And I’ll imitate them because I can rub off on your genius :-). But I’m gonna put the rest down. And I’m gonna find my way, my creative genius way, to share my creative offering out into the world. And trust in that. And trust that being clear in what I am, which is the seed of all that I also do, will steer the way to what I desire. Or maybe it won’t. But we’ll see.
And for now I’m not sure exactly what that looks like.
There’s a few sprinkling of idea seedlings (there always are), and my intuitive soul will be my guide. I know that I’ll get lost and mess up and most likely at times act from fear as opposed to love. Because I’m human and learning and this is all new. But I believe in who I am. And, this is where I find my voice, a channel directly plugged into my creative genius. I’m practicing what I preach! ;-)
And it is this blueprint, though I hobble and shake and vow to keep on showing up and voicing who I am as an artist, as a creative being, that is brought to each client that I work with, and to each session, and to each creative relationship that’s explored through creativity coaching. It cannot be any other way. I want for you to deeply clarify and then take action from your truth. I want for you to be able to really know your voice and then to use it to super charge everything you touch and create with its power.
Because it is a power, and maybe that’s partly why we have lost it or are afraid of it. It’s part of our creative genius. And it’s a dangerous force but it has no rules or laws. It’s pure. It’s innocent. It’s goddamn real. And each and every one of us, has it.
What’s your voice dear one? Let me hear you :-).
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If you enjoyed this article then you might also like, 'Showing up for our creative lives', and 'I burn with a voice' xxx
C is for comfort zone.
The edge of our known world. The edge of reason. The edge.
We all know our comfort zone. For most of us its the place we live in day in day out. It’s familiar, safe, furnished to our liking, and of course, mighty comfortable.
Or is it?!
Gabrielle Roth says ‘if we are not living on the edge then we’re taking up too much room.’ OK then love. OK.
The thing about our comfort zone is exactly that, it’s not so challenging or life giving or dynamic. Its daily turning can sometimes leave us slightly uneasy. As our heads touch the pillow at the end of another day we might find some voice within us imploring ‘is this it??’.
Now don’t get me wrong. If your comfort zone is working out all tickety boo for you then great. Don’t fuck about with the status quo. And as they say, if it ain’t broke…
But what if there is a gnawing within? What if there’s a part of you that drifts off into dreaming of a life that looks rather different? And what if you know full well that mamma be parked her car in the zone for far far too long it all gone goddamn rusted!!?? ;-) :-)
Within our creative life there will come a point where we will meet the edge of this zone. To be frank if you’re an artist then it’s likely that you’ve met it already, a thousand and one times before. Indeed you might be there now, feet planted firm on terra cognito, nose peering out into the void, heart beating, palms clammy, and your mind racing a million miles to find the how to step in.
Stop. Stop right now. No my dear, I wasn’t talking to you I was addressing your mind. You see the thing is about stepping outta ones comfort zone is that we do not, cannot, and will not, know what happens next. It’s impossible. It’s the very nature of it all. It’s the whole fuckin point!
Ironically, it’s not the stepping outta the comfort zone that’s the problem. We’ve just made it that way with our if’s and but’s. In fact to even think that we are stepping is a falsity as what we are really doing is expanding into, or responding to, this supposed edge. This unknown.
It’s not a new place with a different postal code and temperate climate. It’s still our life, only bigger, with more of it available, a broader and wider and deeper perspective one might say.
Let’s see if we can connect the dots a lil more shall we?
Take a moment to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Put down any ideas on how or what and just quieten into just this moment now. Feet on the floor if possible or at least be aware of your bottom on your chair. Good. Now I’d like for you to picture yourself in the life you are peering all telescope at, the one ‘over the edge’. Really see yourself in it. Use all your senses. How is it once you’ve written your script, completed that series of paintings, taken a bow at the end of your performance’s first night? Really go into how it feels. Allow yourself to feel elated, satisfied, joyous, peaceful…Notice too what else is in there. Maybe a little resistance? Is there any fear? Anxiety? Numbness? Embarrassment? Doubt?
Find these in your body. Are there any beliefs or thoughts that wanna sabotage or dampen or even destroy this possibility, this place?
Be totally honest with yourself here, as in all truth, because you are most decidedly and defiantly human, there will be both. The joy and the doubt. The peacefulness and the anxiety. The elation and the fear. All a hodgepodge of human feeling and emotion. Same with your thoughts darling. You may well have the ‘look what I created!’, with the ‘what the fuck did you do you stupid talentless idiot!’ running side by side.
OK. Good. Let it all be there, the good, the bad, and the ugly! ;-)
You see here’s the magic key. It’s in our ability not to run for the hills or bury our heads under the duvet. It’s in our superhero power of simply staying with. Staying with. In feeling and allowing all of what arises to be here. Yes it will fly up and slap us vehemently across the face, whip us into a fretful frenzy, and pull at the strands of our hair in all the directions of the compass. And yet. And yet.
And yet if you choose to stay, to feel, to allow, to even say ‘hey you fuckers bring your worst!!!’, something begins to happen. After a while they begin to calm down, to settle, to slow and become quieter. They may not go away all together, and they probably won’t. But they’ll calm and as they do you will notice that you’re still there, or ‘here’ really. You’ve not been blown away. And as the dust settles you realise that you are still at this edge but now, but now, you are not so at the mercy of all your mind made lunatic possibilities. And this my dear even includes the ‘good’ ones because, hells bells, we really don’t know how we’ll feel or what kind of impact our creative work will have, but we will have done it. We will have stepped outta our comfort zone and grown!
Choices. Make a choice. Do it anyways despite the gabbling lunatic voices? Do it anyways not knowing if it will all be crap? Do it anyways even though we may be laughed at? Do it anyways despite not having a fuckin clue what happens next? And do it anyways even if so aquiver with fear that you be shakin’ and vibratin’ like nobody’s business hon??! ;-)
Yes. And yes again. And one more time just in case you’re still dithering, yes!
Don’t wait til you got it all sorted out. Don’t wait until you’re perfect and coiffed and fixed. Don’t wait until you’ve got the new safety harness figured out. Because paradoxically the more you live like this the more you realise that our safe and familiar comfort zones are in actual fact, our prison. They’re not safe at all. They need a lot of controlling and tweaking and managing. They are in fact quite surprisingly exhausting. And what we also find, in this place of freedom, that the fear, doubt and anxiety that we had associated with ‘the edge’, were really practically what we we’re living on in maintaining our comfort zone! Go figure!!!
Meet your edge. Every day if necessary. Choose life and the unknown. Live in the not knowing. Grow up and in and out, all wings and roots. Create and go for it because it’s in the making remember, it’s in the making that we are affirmed and alive and in joy. It’s in the moment by moment action and breath and craft. It’s never really about over there is it!? But you never know, you may look up one day and realise that you are in that place you once dreamt of, the one over the edge, the edge that seems so insignificant and small now, that you laugh at the beautiful and amazingly human being that you are. And maybe, just maybe, you find yourself dreaming and itching and facing a brand new edge. Keep dissolving that edge of comfort darling one. It’s the only way.
P.S. Disclaimer. Sometimes, often, just chilling in our comfort zone is exactly where we choose and need to be. It’s duvet days and devouring Netflix and box sets. It’s faffing and procrastinating and going over n’ over n’ over the same old questions. It’s sad days and flat days and human days. It’s life and living and all of it, every damn moment.It’s all, oh so stupendously, ours.
Hey lovely creative genius, let me know if you resonate with any part of this musing :-) And if you would like a lil assistance with shifting that creative stuckness that be cloggin’ up your creative flow, then click here sign up to receive your FREE pdf book “10 ways to awaken your creative genius”. In gratitude, grace and freedom, HH
T is for Trickster.
That ole riley crafty coyote, playing tricks on us, running us around in circles, and turning everything upside down.
From one of my all time favourite films I can hear Indiana Jones saying: “What if we are digging in the wrong place??!!” Aaah Indy you beautiful man! :-)
But, what if we are my dear creative creatures?!
What if we have been so focused on one telescopic point of view, one perfectly lit dream, one intangible bubble wrapped pearl of ‘this is what it looks like’, that when we finally take the pin of reality to burst the helium protected sac, and this dream thing that we have held up, adored, spoken of with idolatry, looked up to like the god of freedom is in our hands, well, well, we are stopped dead in our tracks?!
You see for so many of us we pin the tail to the wrong donkey.
I’m not necessarily calling our dreams donkeys! ;-).
Donkey dreams. Dream donkeys. It’s getting a lil weird now non!?
But we may quite possibly have spent so much time, hours, months, years, decades even, dusting and holding tight onto something that either no longer resonates or has any meaning with who we are now, or was never ours to begin with! Our father’s unmet desire to be a landscape artist. Our mother’s unrealised dream to be an actor. Somehow in the strange salt and pepper mix of twisted familial karma, we can end up having to be the housekeeper and caretaker of something that has nothing to do with us. That’s quite shocking, and pretty sobering to be honest!
Or when we finally have the courage to hold our dream and test it in the bread and butter realness of the cold light of day, we may find that it has dissolved, no longer that which has kept us under its promised spell for far too long. That’s quite shocking too. To feel the texture of disillusionment, disbelief, and that pervasive sense of, ‘now what!?’.
But the thing is, rather a shock and a shake and a ‘what the fuck!?’ than living the rest of our lives in the delusion of illusion. Here we get a chance to start afresh. To ask of ourselves what it is we really dream of or maybe, just maybe, to drop the hiding behind a ‘dream’ and instead to live.
To take the proverbial bull by the horns and run with it.
Into the great forests of not knowing, through the mountain mystery, over the dark void infinite depths of oceans. You get my drift.
There can be an uncanny sense of relief once the initial shock has calmed down and removed its slapping palm from our reddened cheek. A relief from the putting down the belief in ‘this is what is should look like’. A freedom. A liberation.
A pass and an open door into the limitless land of creativity. When we put down our pressurised shrunk idea that I am only an artist if I paint my way to a grand retrospective, write a New York Times bestseller, launch a number one selling album etc., then we have the whole realm to play out in. New creative ideas and forms to make friends with, to get to know, to explore, to play with.
We are creative beings because that’s just what we are. Trickster is great at kicking our ego-ed ass and sometimes we need it. Sometimes, his spinning us around might just mean, when the dust has settled, that we begin to dig in exactly the right place at last! :-)
Heidi Hinda Chadwick
Creativity. Sexuality. Life. Art. Soul. Love.