What’s Your Why

Artist Talismans

I’ll admit that for the past few weeks, I’ve been binge-watching Kyle Cease. I go through these things where I latch onto a wise person, a transformational leader of some sort, and I consume everything they’ve put out there. So, it’s Kyle now.

In one of the clips, Cease says that when you’re in the “how” of something–How do I get the word out? How do I do this? How do I show people how valuable this is? How do I develop a program? How do I create what’s in my head to create?–it’s one obstacle after another, because the answer is always…“I don’t know.”

Otherwise, we wouldn’t be asking how.

But when you switch and get into your “why,” –your purpose, what your heart is urging you to do, then all of the hows show up. A million different ways reveal themselves.

Taking a deep breath and trusting Kyle on this, I dropped that pebble of a question –What is my Big Why? – and followed it down, down, down, in search of the answer to something I was  been stuck on while crafting a portion of my program, Reclaim Your Creative Soul.  Since I was totally stuck in “how” and not getting any stellar insights or movement on this, I knew I had nothing to lose.

The whys came in layers. The first layer contained all the usual suspects in answer to the question, Why help stuck creatives connect with their creativity?

  1. It’s fun.
  2. I love seeing people happy and self confident and powerful.
  3. I’m curious to see what people are going to invent when they’re empowered.
  4. I love art.
  5. I love beauty.
  6. I believe the answers to life lie within each of us, and the answers for humanity depend on many, many people accessing their inner answers.
  7. God made it so we have everything we need, and if part of what we need is locked inside us in the broken places where we can’t reach, people like me come along and help other people reach those pieces so they can have access to everything they need. Once enough of us have access to everything we need, we can stop hurting collectively and start healing. In fact, we already are. I want to be part of healing.
  8. I want to be famous and have people like me.

I was delighted when that last one came up, because that has been my motivation for doing so many things–To prove I can do it, to get respect from people, to redeem myself, to be something.

Then came the deeper layer of why.

Why help creative people connect with their creativity?

  1. When you’re a creative artist yearning to express yourself there’s almost nothing as painful and debilitating to the spirit as not making your art.
  2. And a spirit in pain is not whole and is not able to soar.
  3. And a spirit that can’t soar is not fulfilling its purpose.
  4. And what is more noble and worthy than helping someone else find their big why so their spirit can soar and they can fulfill their purpose?

And that’s when I realized that finding my Big Why was essential to leading my people to connecting with their own creative purpose.

When I started thinking in terms of why, I noticed I’d been playing in the space of How do I make this work and strategizing to find the right and clever answer and developing the best, most foolproof set of exercises. I’d been playing at the level of  “What’s the least damage I can do?” instead of “How much can I give to the world from my heart right this minute?” I’d been coming more from How can I make myself worth the trust my people have placed in me than the space of “I have to do this, it’s what’s inside me, it’s who I am, and there’s no other thing I’d rather be doing.”

“How” is a much smaller game than “why.”  So why do we get stuck there?

I found myself daydreaming about my struggle with performance. On the one hand I believe I should want to perform my music for people. But on the other hand, I don’t really want to. I don’t enjoy being on stage with lights in my eyes, having a weird auditory experience just when I should be able to hear really well, and being super self-conscious. Not a fun time for me.  But back to the first hand, what if I’m stopping myself from doing something that would complete the circle, and people would enjoy it? In fact, I already know that they do, because I used to perform. Until, back to the other hand, I realized I hated it and gave myself permission to stop making myself do it.

And that’s where my pebble stopped dropping. I was back in “how.” I knew I that whole conflict was a “how” conflict, because of its polarity and circularity. That kind of bone is irresistable for our dog-minds. We can’t leave it alone. It’s what our minds were made for.

And that was a good-enough understanding for a night’s work. Because it was time to go to bed, I did. (I’m really good with going to bed, unlike how I was as a kid, but that’s a different story….)

The next morning, I’m driving to work, and I realized all at once that the reason I create is because I love. Life. And that’s how I express it. I love singing, I love words, I love concepts, I love creating a mood and a feeling, and it’s love. Creating is my love letter to life. All I have to do is keep expressing my love.  My expression is mine. All mine.

And all I want for my people is that they get to the place where their creativity is theirs, and it’s their expression of love to the world. It’s so natural to create from that place. Because who doesn’t want to make love in a way that’s easy and natural? In a way that you don’t have to think about what you’re doing, you don’t have to think about technique, you don’t have to think Is it okay, am I saying it right? You just do it. Because it’s what’s in your heart.

Ultimately the love is bigger than all of the other concerns. It’s bigger than the inner struggle.–I want to create, but I can’t and I don’t know how, and I don’t have time, and I don’t have space, and I should get gigs, but I don’t want to, and nobody will hire me, blah, blah, blah–The love, when you feel it and connect with it, is bigger than all of that.

And that’s what art does. It helps you get into the bigger place, the place that contains the struggle. And from there, the struggle loses its power. Because who cares about the struggle with so much beauty and reality-altering art around?

What to do from here? Heck, I think I’ll just hang out here for a while. It’s so big and spacious. And I think I’ll invite my people into here, too, and invite them to step into the love that fuels their Big Why. And invite them to consider what they want to create from there.

My big why is love. Love of my people, love of expression, love of expressions of love, love of love letters, love of life, and love of the beauty-making, sensitive people who are daring and crazy enough to want to make art, because they have to.

Till next time, go make something!



p.s. You can preorder Kyle Cease’s new book, “I Hope I Screw This Up” here.

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