Deep inside each of us is a person who desperately wants to create, just for the sake of creating. Not to please, not to win awards, but simply to put his or her version of the world out in the world. It will take a lot more than simply deciding to express ourselves to make it happen, though.
In the same way a cave is hidden by the landscape around it, our daily commitments block our view of the opening into our creative self. In fact, it’s possible to keep walking by the entrance and never see it. Some of us even know where it is but decide we’ll go spelunking later, when things are less busy, or when the kids are grown, or when we finally have some me time.
Unfortunately, life is not a linear plan where things go as we expect. We’re not in charge, not really. We have a lot of control over the present, but the future, not so much. Which is why it makes sense to start looking now for the way we’re going to channel into our creative selves. We need to clear away the brush first, before we can even think about getting in that cave and making our mark.
Whatever method we use for this proverbial brush clearing, it has to jar us out of our current existence. For me, it was yoga; for you it may be rock climbing or flower arranging or feeding the homeless. I knew I had to challenge myself and find a way to shut off my inner voice. I had to get used to being awkward and feeling completely out of my depth. It had to be physically and emotionally uncomfortable. I needed to learn how to focus intensely. I had to approach it seriously, as a discipline, and commit.
We want to create because we know it will deepen our understanding of ourselves. When our first attempts are less than stellar, though, we back away, never getting anywhere near that cave entrance. It took me a long time to realize that I needed a way in, a way to quiet my ego in order to listen to my heart. For me, time on the mat prepares me for time at the desk. In practicing anything, we build the stamina to tackle the hardest thing, becoming fully ourselves.
Take a class, teach a skill, enter a contest, learn a language, run a race, take a chance – do something you’ve always wanted to do. One day you’ll realize that you’ve returned to yourself, the you who you have always been. You’ll have cleared the view to the cave entrance, and you’ll understand what you have to do to create. You’ll have some skills in your back pocket and a little lantern of self-confidence to help you light the way. Breathe deeply and step inside. Before you know it, you’ll be painting murals on the walls.