HOW BREAKING DOWN THE RULES HELPS BUILD UP THE MAKER IN YOU.
I’m not good enough. I’m not that creative. I’m not a “real” artist. I’ll never be as good as her.
That’s what I used to tell myself. Over and over I’d replay these negative thoughts in my head. You see, I always wished I was creative. I actually wanted to go to art school, but because I didn’t believe I was good enough, I took a safer, round about path.
It wasn’t until after college that the inner yearnings to live a more authentic and creative life started to speak louder. I landed a job leading a girls’ empowerment program at a nonprofit in Boulder, Colorado. For a recent Film grad (with a minor in Broadcast Journalism), who also had been a camp counselor, teaching high school girls how to make news and documentary film programs was the perfect match for me. Little did I know that running a program designed to empower girls would soon start to empower me – and eventually lead me to a career of empowering women on their quest to live authenticly, creative lives of their own.
As I started to witness the amazing transformation the creative process had on these girls’ confidence - turning timid, nervous teens into bold, confident directors, camera operators and interviewers - I had a chance to start applying the same practices into my own life. I learned that doing things creative forces us to try new things. And when we get out of our comfort zone to explore, discover and create something new, that’s when true shifts start to happen.
Through exploring a variety of creative mediums and meeting some amazingly supportive people, I started to learn that I actually was creative. I discovered that not only was I a creative spirit and a capable artist, but manifesting that belief in myself also changed my perception of what an artist really is. I started to see that we are all creators and artists of our own lives, and that when we throw out the rules, we can create a safe space for our inner artist to grow and we can live a life connected to our creative courage.
Around the same time of my creative healing and awakening I discovered yoga. It was then that I learned that “we are not our thoughts”. Whoa, it was so freeing for me to learn that those I’m not good enough thoughts that I played like a broken record in my mind were not who I was. I learned that I had set up these preconditioned rules inside my own mind, and this manifested itself into a derailment from my authentic path.
I became a yoga teacher over 15 years ago and have been life coaching and leading women on their own self-discovery and creative adventures ever since. I’ve seen the powerful benefits that come when we learn how to throw out the rules we picked up along our life’s path (even when we may not even be aware of it).
Breaking free of the rules helps you bust through the obstaclesthat are keeping from connecting to your inner artist and from sharing our true voice and gifts with the world.
Here are my 5 bits of inspiration on how to break down the rules and build up your inner artist:
Think a New Thought:
What you think effects your behavior and starts to take form in your life. So many of us get caught up in the land of negative thinking, and that can easily keep your inner artist afraid and small. Start to become an observer of your thoughts but taking pause, and noticing what you think about in a day. What are the thoughts you tend to repeat? What thoughts do you immediately go to – especially when you are upset or triggered in some way? If you notice that you, too, are repeating a mental mantra that isn’t supportive, take notice. Becoming aware of the negative self-talk your mind engages in can immediately start to change your life. It’s in becoming aware of your thoughts that you can begin thinking a new thought, which leads to dreaminga new dream – a dream that will allow your inner artist the opportunity to emerge.
Create Like a Beginner:
It’s time to forget everything you’ve been taught, especially when it comes to creativity. Think about a time when you learned how to do something for the first time. It usually feels pretty awkward and a bit scary, doesn’t it? But once you get the hang of it, you feel inspired and recharged. Remember that your inner artist gets scared sometimes – especially when facing the blank page, learning something new or putting yourself out there. Treat your inner artist like you would a beginner, with grace and kindness. Self-compassion paves the way for your inner artist to gain courage and grow.
Let Yourself Play:
Give yourself permission to create purely for the fun of it. Play is vital to a healthy creative life. We place all these unwritten rules on ourselves – like this is the “right” way to create and make stuff and this is the “wrong” way. But play gives you the chance to throw out those restricting rules. When young children play you see them jump right in, take risks, mix colors, get messy, fall down, get back up – they do it without hesitation, without planning and without judgment. Play keeps you curious and allows your open heart the chance to lead the way. Create without worrying about the outcome, but rather for the delight and joy of it, and you will feel your inner artist relax, radiate and crave more creative play.
Our world is consumed with staying busy – and we are constantly being pushed to do more, be more, buy more…keep going, keep up and don’t stop! All that “doing” can make your inner artist want to climb under the covers and never come back out.
We can so easily get lost in the distractions of our busy culture that we end up barely being able to hear our inner artist. Do you feel like you aren’t good enough, or have lost your creative fire or feel like giving up? That’s a good indication that you could use a little rest and some healing time in stillness. Maybe your stillness is just moving slower about your day, or doing less or saying “no” to over-committing. Maybe your stillness is going on a daily walk or a bath or going to a yoga class. It can simply be closing your eyes for 30 seconds in the day to connect deeply to your breath.
Stillness is a great gift you can give yourself. It will quiet your restless mind, it will put you in touch with your heart, intuition, and creativity and it will help you nurture that creative place within you that gets tired with too much “doing” and not enough “being”.
Is perfection keeping you stuck? Have you been resisting writing the next page of your book, or starting that new painting or moving forward with your creative business because you want it to be “just so”?
The best way to move forward when you feel the need for it to be perfect is simply to begin. Do it now. Stop letting the fear of “not doing it perfectly” keep you from expressing your art. It’s time to throw out the rules, and instead embrace imperfection.
Creativity is messy. Life is messy. Celebrate the mess by letting go of perfect and let your inner artist out!
Shannon Kinney a holistic life coach, a yoga teacher, an artist, and a lover of life. She's a wife and a mom and an entrepreneur. On her blog, she shares her journey with the purpose of inspiring women on their own paths. She is also the co-creator of the Mindful Mama Movement where they offer a podcast, community, and retreats that bring mothers from all stages of life together.