Breaking the Family Commandments and Creating Anyway

This past week the loving Universe has conspired to bring me the perfect teachers and teachings. I talked about my fave astrologer and some of the other resources that are helping me lately in last week’s post. Add to them, dreams, random snippets of overheard conversations, and other serendipitous voices in the symphony that is my Universal newsfeed.

Tonight I want to share what’s changed that’s causing me to experience a whole new world of possibility in my life today (as in the day this is written and published), and what the heck that has to do with you, dear reader.

I’ve always been an artist. I see the world the way a poet does. I make connections between things, knowing that nothing is truly random, only too big or too little to see the connections. I shrink down to little and spread out to big on a regular basis, trying to gain that perspective, to understand and to draw intuitive references from whatever is before me. Your socks. My dreams. The first word I see on the menu. I am in love with all of it.

The Word in the family growing up, never once uttered aloud, but ringing from wall to wall  – that must be why my Mom had to have carpeting, to dampen the din of it: “Don’t be an artist. You can’t be an artist.” It was the emotional landscape of two people who’d wanted to be artists but had pulled their hats down, gone to war, gotten married and made a family, just like they were supposed to.

A long (and getting longer) road later, and here I am, at 60: I’ve always been an artist. I’ve cultivated other skills, developed other talents. I grew to be an intuitive and empathic guide and counselor. I always had my music and my writing, but they were on the side, in between, on weekends, after work.

Like many, many others, I created a two-track life, one in which I was either a helper or an expresser/creator, but never both.

This weekend, the two tracks came together. The way they came together was that I finally listened to myself. Basically, my heart and soul wore down my stubborn, control-freak ego. I heard what my heart’s been telling me: I’m an artist. I’m a writer. I have a message. I have readers. I have a message to give you, my readers. The message is, you can recover your creative magic, your central power, your mojo.

I’m writing a book about that recovery process, and I’ve been struggling to get to it, because I’m “supposed to” be doing other things, and I haven’t made any headway on any of it, because I’ve been resisting owning that I have a message to give you, my readers. I’ve been thinking instead that I have to earn a living, or become something acceptable,  or do this thing called succeeding.

I’m writing this from my coaching community intensive weekend, and this is where I have finally acknowledged and spoken the truth and where I’ve begun to own my birthright of creative fulfillment, creative juice, and creative enjoyment. It’s also where I’ve come face to face with you, knowing that you’re out there, knowing that you need to hear this: you can do it, too.

And just because I’m all happy and relieved at arriving here doesn’t mean I’m not also exhausted from the struggle to be something I’m not and slightly nauseated at the prospect of going against the family Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Be An Artist.

But, like all the right things that are in alignment and congruent with our deepest truths, this in no way excludes anything else that is important or real to me. Either/ors are not where it’s at. By which I mean, if you are dancing and vacillating between an either and an or, you can stop doing that now. Instead, get quiet and still, and let everything settle to the ground, and just be. Just listen to yourself. And just be honest. Speak the truth to yourself. Your truth. Whatever it is.

Because this is the very first step in reclaiming and recovering your lost and disconnected creative juice. You must be a safe and trustworthy person to yourself. This begins with being honest and continues with accepting that truth without judgement. Instead, let the truth sink into your cells and let the circulation come back to your cold and lonely places.

From this place of truth, life actually makes more sense and is easier. I’ve spent a lifetime approaching and avoiding this truth, and now that I’ve fully embraced it, I feel that everything that’s lead to this has been an essential piece in the whole that’s made me strong enough to be what I am now.

Notice I haven’t said a thing about making money, making a living, supporting myself or any of the rest of it? All I’m saying is, make yourself happy. Dare to create. And I’m not saying make finished products, either. I’m saying engage with it. Pick up the guitar and play it. Pick up the pens and feel the way it feels to put tip to paper and create an arc.

I also didn’t mention getting anyone else’s approval or understanding. Also missing were waiting for the right time, saving up a bunch of money, buying new strings or pens or whatever. No warm-up. You’re on the on-ramp now. You’ve had your prep time.

You know exactly what you want to do. You’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. You dream and fantasize about it. You long to do it. You tell yourself you’ll get to it later, when you have spare money, when the kids grow up. You miss it. You’re afraid you won’t be able to. You’re afraid it’ll make you feel things.

I get it. I’ve been there. Start from honesty, start from being real with yourself. Start with owning that you have the desire and the longing. Remind yourself of what it’s cost you to push it aside and do without it all this time.

Ah, that’s where we’re tempted to downplay and belittle this urge to create, this drive to express. What good is it, anyway? What’s it worth? And that is the conundrum of the ages, because until you actually start creating, you won’t know its value, and as long as you hold off crossing that threshold, you will not be able to fully see the cost – in energy, passion, aliveness, and joy – the true cost of putting it off to another day.

© 2017 Phyllis Capanna. All Rights Reserved.

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