The last few months my heart’s dreams had a tough time enduring me. Hidden in a place far, far away, feeling misunderstood and neglected, they screamed for attention. However, I didn’t reach out to sing them a soothing song. This has everything to do with intention. I constantly ask myself questions like:
’’What is it that I want to bring out in the world? What meaning does it has? What exactly drives my creativity? Is it a concept I created of my personality? Am I driven by the recognition of being a ‘successful person’? Is it my ego that wants to show off? Or is it my personal, pure desire to be who I am and express that. Perhaps even changing the world with that?’’
Flipping pages in the book Art of Attention, I deeply resonate with another set of questions, asked by Gwyneth Paltrow:
’’How can I truly reach my potential? What is my potential? Who defines it? Is it societies idea of what I am meant to achieve, or is it more difficult to understand? Is it a set of goals that my ego has constructed to cement my idea of value to the outside world and myself? Or is it perhaps a deeper calling?’’
''While a tyrant wants power over others, a true magician desires power over only himself. Being an unconscious slave, we often seek to control unconsciously; being a conscious servant, we are here to serve, to help to uplift.''
I just moved to Stockholm, Sweden to be with the love of my life. I am not working a full time job jet and although moving to another country generally takes a lot of energy, I do have enough free time on hands to start exploring my potential. Instead of creating movement in the dreadful feeling of being stuck, I freeze. Not able to answer any questions I get entangled in a web of even more questions:
‘Do I dare to finally really do something for myself? Am I going to write that book I already have 7 episodes from? Am I going to take a yoga teacher training? Am I going to start my own dress label? Am I going to finish my own website and take myself serious as a freelancer? But most important: Do I dare to pursue my own values and not let myself be overwhelmed by the general corporate culture?’’
These questions are accompanied by panic attacks and the utterly overwhelming feeling of all the practical steps I need to take in order to translate these ideas into points of action. And there I go again, killing my hopes, plans and dreams, all to stay save: "Maybe it's better if I first gain some more professional experience." And "I first need to do this and that in order for it to be perfect." "I'll really have to work on .... '' So it's better if I find a permanent paid job, doesn’t matter what. "
Self Help Book Heaven
Not being able to answer the whirling questions in my head, I emerge myself in a world of self-help books and documentaries. They are all about creativity, setting up meaningful businesses and having a fulfilling career, especially for women.
Tara Mohr, author of the book 'Playing Big', encourages women to overcome the fear of failure and literally PLAY BIG. According to her, my creative block goes much deeper than my personal trivialities: It lies dormant on collective level and has to do with the simple fact that I am born as a woman. All those centuries women have been excluded from political, public and professional lives, have had all sorts of consequences. Most known consequences are external: legislation, formal policy, unequal salaries, lack of legal protection and denial of basic rights to women. But the inequalities between women and men also have had internal repercussions.
Generations long it has shaped the way we think about ourselves and what we consider achievable in our lives and work. It has shaped our fears - the fear to make our voice heard, to make noise and if necessary - even make enemies. It has resulted in a range of behavior where women were able to survive in an environment without legal, financial or political power. We did a lot of work (especially the last 40 years) to take away the external barriers that prevent women of manifesting, but we still haven’t been able to take a closer look at the internal consequences of that inequality.
The inner judge
Playing Big puts us in a vulnerable state – by chasing callings and dreams we take the risk of receiving painful criticism. People always have an opinion and may find us arrogant, unknowing, unfriendly or aggressive and even a bitch. Our safety instinct will automatically try to protect us from this possible external criticism by coming up with internal criticism. (’’You are not ready; you don’t know what you are talking about!’’) Tara calls this voice the Inner Judge, which is recognized by black and white thinking, being mean, negative, discouraging and falling into repetition. It keeps us away from developing our qualities and receiving meaningful feedback from the outside world.
It is as if your inner world has a few departments and the inner judge works for the department risk limitation. The people working for the department risk limitation don’t communicate clearly with the department self - realization. They rather have you feeling bored and meaningless then you having one day of possible fulfillment, this to keep you safe from external critics. When we understand that our safety instinct uses our inner judge as a strategy, we can take it’s power away and choose to not be led by it.
Ideas as living non- material forces
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the book ‘The Big Magic', gives me another totally different, refreshing view on ideas and creativity. She writes about ideas being a non-material energetic force of life. They exist totally separate from us, but are able to interact with us, in a somehow odd way. Ideas don’t have a material body, but they do have a consciousness and definitely a will of its own. Ideas are driven by the will to be known and only with the help of a human an idea from the ether can enter the realm of reality. This means ideas are eternally spinning around us, until they find available and enthusiastic partners.
Sometimes – it doesn’t happen often – but when it happens it is off the hook incredible – you have a day you are so relaxed and open that you are able to receive something more then ‘normal.’ (Whatever that may be) Your defense might be a bit weakened and before you know it; magic slips in. The idea senses that you are open for it and puts you to work immediately. It sends the universal physical and emotional signs of inspiration: Goosebumps on your arms, raised hackles, a nervous feeling in your stomach, whirring thoughts and the overall feeling of falling in love or getting obsessed with something. The idea will arrange a series of coincidences to keep your attention sharp. Everything you see and touch will remind you of the idea.
Back to Me
Although I love to soak myself in subjects I find interesting, I realize I am totally getting lost in Self Help Jungle Book. After self help book number three I came to the conclusion that I am SO overthinking this. I found myself totally blocked from creativity; I literally scared away every idea that knocked on my door. A fun and exciting possibility was answered with dreary questions and piercing analyses. The idea must have realized I had something to solve with my inner judge before it can contact me about anything again.
It took a while, but I recently had a serious talk with my inner judge. By realizing that this negative voice in my head, my inner judge, loves me and is just trying to protect me, I could calm her. I told her that failing or getting hurt is not the worst thing out there. Killing your creative voice and not sharing your unique gift with the world, that is what truly hurts.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” ― Gospel of Thomas
I experience myself as the woman I dream of being
Coming back to the title of the blog, the only way to find out who I really am and what I can add to this world, is by allowing my dreams to communicate with me. Doing it! Start living it! Broken and imperfect, but at least it is a beginning.
So, my heart is taking over. I want to answer the dreams, dust them off and see what they are all about. I want to experiment; fail and fall, flow and feel, without judgement. I want to create without having the feeling it has to have a higher purpose or serious meaning, playful like a child.
So here I am, rich of knowledge about creativity and a deep longing to start creating more myself– anything! To really motivate myself and get over my fear of showing myself, I decided to make a bigger project out of it. Read more about that in my next blog.
‘’It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” -Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.