Let me tell you about this painting I completed.
Some may look at it and ask me where I learned to paint like this; if I’ve taken a painting course, or if I have a ritual that inspires me to paint. Others, may look and laugh. Laugh at the “wanna be artistic lady” who doesn’t know what she’s doing.
Trust me, I have heard both of these statements… several times… in my mind.
No matter how satisfied I might be with a painting in the end, the process is not beautiful. At all.
First, I am not a professional artist or painter. I’ve never taken a painting course. maybe one of those introductory classes people take in college. But, I’ve never really stopped to learn specific techniques and build the skills.
Second, I don’t necessarily know what I am doing. I just feel the need to create something. because I don’t know what I am doing, I have a “no planning” rule. This means, I pick the colors that I am in the mood to work with and I decide the spot I want to place the painting when it is done (if I don’t throw it out the window beforehand).
The rest is improv.
this whole “painting with no plan” thing is therapeutic for me. It forces me out of my comfort zone. Out of my box. I am obligated to surrender and act upon the painting as I go. If I screw up, I have to figure out a way to keep painting.
So where am I going with all of this?
Well, my fear of not being “artistically real enough” to paint has ruined multiple canvases and abused of lots of paint bottles. But I continue to do it.
In the midsts of all of the self-doubt and the negative self-talk, I fight. In fact, this painting was painfully born after I tried painting something else for a week and screwed it up so badly, that all I could do was laugh at it when I walked into the living room. So I turned the board around and started over.
And I continue to start over. I continue to do something. Not because I want to get better at it. But because I know one thing: I know that if I give in to one fear, I will ultimately end up loosing. And loosing to fear is not just about loosing. It is about not fully finding ourselves.
Fear is the one emotion with the power to attack and dissolve our authentic selves and our creative abilities.
Only when we are aware of our fears, can we fully connect to our essence and share ourselves creatively with the world. Sure, we can survive even if we choose fear and comfort over courage and vulnerability, but we will will never live greatly and achieve our potential.
Living with courage is living in a whole other continent. Being brave even in the middle of all of the chaos and the pain, that is when we can begin to feel alive and live creatively. And that is when we feel like ourselves. As Brene Brown puts it, “creativity is the way we share our souls with the world”.
So then the question becomes, how are we sharing our souls? Are we too afraid to step out of the box and show the world all of our facets?
The truth is, most of us are afraid. But we are not alone in this. It is human nature to yearn for comfort, balance, and security. We were wired that way. But, we also have a deep longing for meaning in life. We all want to feel like we have a purpose and that we are seen.
We can feel seen once we decide to befriend our fear, hold its hand, and walk out of the box. In this process, we can ask ourselves what we would do if we knew we couldn’t fail. We can ask ourselves what we are so passionate about, that it scares us back into the box. And then we can decide to get out of it and go do it.
So, DO IT.
DO THE. THING.
This “thing” doesn’t have to be a painting or a task. It could be your life.
however big of an action life is requiring of you, or however painful it may seem, do it. And if you fail, try again. No one who has ever created something great got it right on their first try.
In fact, it might just be that great lives are designed to be born from a journey from self-boycott to self-acceptance. Iyanla Vanzant says, “the life you want is on the other side of the labor pains it takes to birth it.”
So let’s dare to get out of the box, step into the unknown and do something!