As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
— Marianne Williamson
In the post from Zen Habits I mentioned yesterday, author Leo Babauta tells us that patience and perseverance are essential. He tells us that some experts estimate that mastery takes 10,000 hours of practice. He estimates that it probably takes anywhere from six to ten years to get great at something, depending on how often and how much you do it.
This only sounds daunting until you learn to enjoy the process, and not worry so much about the product. In six to ten years, we are going to have some spectacular flops. And believe me, that’s a good thing.
So do. And do some more. And more still. Not doing is procrastination, and procrastination is really fear in disguise. The only known antidote to fear is action. This means eliminating the perception you are making mistakes, crappy work, embarrassing failed attempts. Our “failures” are not failures at all. They are the practice exercises that are absolutely necessary for mastery. We simply must take them, and take our falls as well. We learn by doing.
So instead of berating ourselves for less than perfect results, let us celebrate each and every one of our attempts. Let’s all take a vow right now to back off from those secret comparisons of our work to some standard of greatness (real or imaginary). Let us all agree, while we’re getting started, to ignore any inner or outer pressures demanding that we have to make a living doing our art.
If you are finding it hard to get started; or if your early attempts have not panned out as well as you’d hoped; or when even your micromovements never get past the planning stage, this does not mean you can’t ever do it. It means you have a lot of fear you are still healing. And you might need help – a coach (or maybe a certain Tarot reader I could recommend!), or a trusted support buddy or team. Never underestimate how important and available your spiritual allies are. Remember to ask for the support of your Creative Source or Higher Power; call in your guardians, guides, and Mysterious Ones. He/She/They are passionately behind you!
There are some additional ideas from our other fabulous Creativity Goddess, SARK, that I recommend for some weekend homework. In her book, Make Your Creative Dreams Real, she suggests that in our morning pages or discovery journals, we create a special support section. Make a list of who has been, or might be, supportive in your life. List some ways to contact them.
Another exercise is to write a description of what support means to you. What would your ideal support system be like? How often would your A-team check in with you? What would be the tenor of those check-ins – unconditional cheerleading? Crisp and business-like? What might work for you?
That dovetails with her next suggestion. Describe something or someone that feels especially supportive to you. Then, consider what improvements you need in your current support system. Do you even have one? Are you willing to create one? What kinds of support are you willing to offer to others? What are some of the steps to get there?
Finally, make a list of some specific kinds of support that could revitalize your creative dreams. What are some ways that you could be nurtured and encouraged right now, as you move towards your creative life? Besides winning the lottery. For instance, what if you could find someone who would come and take the kids off your hands two afternoons a week. Maybe you could support yourself with an extra artist date as a treat for making a daily micromovement for a full week. What if you took turns with a creativity buddy to fix a homemade soup dinner for each other one night a week?
Be meticulously detailed as you imagine the most delicious and ideal kind of creative nurturing. Ask your friend(s) to help you. Expand your ability to receive support.
I hope this ignites some excitement and inspiration for you. And as always, I welcome you to share your views!