This time around – Uncommon Sense is a little different. This time, instead of being the one who answers the question – full of wisdom and all the right words – I am the one asking, the one tangled in doubt and insecurity and the wilds of creative resistance. The one that needed a hand in the dark. This time, I happened to be texting my dear friend Winona Grey about my struggles with doubt and creative resistance, and as soon as I processed the straight shot of wisdom that was her response I knew I had to share it here with you. Because what this woman says is pure gold, raw truth, and exactly what I needed to hear. And I thought, quite likely, that it might be just what you need to hear as well.
“It's been a year and I still don't feel like I'm any farther ahead. I need to write more, create more, but I'm so often paralyzed by the fear and the blocks – all the voices that tell me I shouldn't bother, I won't make it. I know that this is my purpose, and some days I feel so clear and so brave and so on course. The problem is it never lasts. I can’t seem to feel wise or like I know anything for more than a day or so – and then the doubt returns. And the doubt, it blocks me from the creativity that feeds my soul. It keeps me still and small. How do I find the words to tell the true stories in the face of so much fear?”
I know some days it feels like you will never have your shit together. Some days it feels like life is a never ending battle between the laundry and the bills and your ability to give a damn. Some days you look at the other woman out there with her tribe and her books and her beautiful art and you can feel a heavy weight sinking down into your chest. I’m telling you – that lump? It’s your art. It is calling out to you, begging to free. Maybe you can’t pull yourself from the fog right now. Maybe you’re simply surviving and you don’t even notice the lump in your chest because you’re too focused on the water up to your neck, but soon you’re going to feel just a little bit better. And then you’ll feel a little bit more bold and maybe a little bit more brave.
No more longing. No more planning. Create now.
Art without action is art that will die inside your body, and art that dies inside the body is a living trauma.Winona Grey
Art without action is art that will die inside your body. When art dies inside the body, the body stiffens, the heart locks down, the mind becomes bitter, life turns gray. Art that dies inside the body is a living trauma that you carry with you. Your soul becomes colorless – haunted by the ghost of what you should have made. The ghost of your art is that lump – that sickening, sinking, dreadful feeling. You are grieving over your lost art even now and I'm not sure you even know it.
Please don't wait any longer. Please begin the work.
Walk your body through the motions if you have to. Throw yourself into the art. Pick up the pen, the torch, the brush. What are you waiting for? Get out of bed. Light a candle. Pick up the nearest fucking tool you can find and start now.
Warm up first, then catch fire.
Let it burn through your body.
Burn down the dam, let the waters rush forth, let the wind pick up, and run alongside the art holding onto it like a kite.
Then, release it.
Watch it soar high above you. Peace will fill the body with every breath in. Joy will wrap itself around your bones.
Please, start now.
If you want to join me for a live call about Creative Resistance – where we'll talk about all the ways we avoid our creative calling, imposter syndrome, money blocks and the audacity of creative entrepreneurship – I'll be live on Zoom (with Winona as one of my guests) on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 at 2pm PST. If you're not able to make the call – make sure you subscribe to my email list and I'll send out a recording once the call is complete.
To join the call:
- PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/
- iPhone one-tap (US Toll): +14086380968,2862682980# or +16465588656,2862682980#
- Telephone: Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) Meeting ID: 286 268 2980
- International numbers available: https://zoom.us/
Winona Grey was a sad little girl haunted by traumatic memories until she found a camera and learned to tell the truth through self portraiture. Then, for ten years, she was a resolute and quiet young woman learning to survive with a mental illness until she found the words and began to write. Now she teaches the path to self love through self portraiture as sacred ritual and writes in the voice of the brave woman she has become. Follow Winona on Instagram | Join the Sacred Self Portrait
Uncommon Sense is an ongoing series where I respond to comments and questions that stir my heart. They arrive by email, by text, by comment. They speak to something universal in me, and my response comes quick and sure. If you have something stirring in your heart and would like me to respond– please send me your message. I cannot respond publicly to all messages, but I do promise – with everything that I have – that I will honor it and keep it safe.