Motivational speech for creative practice

This post is for the times of self-doubt, for beginnings, for permission.

I see creative practice as a stream of experiments, a tonic for the spirit, and an outlet to channel energy into anything that feels poetic and beautiful. I also believe that all of the above is meant for and accessible to anyone, regardless of who you think you are (or are not) allowed to be. 

If you have a hard time with the idea of identifying as an ‘artist’ or ‘creative person’, consider that who you are is not defined by what you have done. Who you are is who you are being in the present moment. And it’s all impermanent. Identity is an abstract thought form based on material concepts and social conditioning. But the now is all we actually have to tangibly be in. Your past can a part of your personal growth, but it is not the definition of the present. Who you are allowed to be is flexible, ever-changing, and up to you in any particular moment. My point is that you can be ‘a creative person’ any time you want to.

You are allowed to make art. You are allowed to make it however you want. 

You can make art for pure pleasure. You can make art for the sake of exploration. You can make art as a form of processing. You can make art to be seen. You can make art in secrecy. The only rule is that there are no rules.

Anyone can be an artist.

We hear this all of the time, and it’s so much easier to say to someone else or to a child than lovingly to ourselves. Creativity is embedded in the depths of human nature. Yes! But wait! Other things are human nature too: the social need to be seen and loved for who we feel we are, the confidence we torment by comparing ourselves to others, the emotional vulnerability to criticism, the grasping of perceived identity, illusions about who we are allowed to be, illusions about what we are allowed to create, material attachments, imaginary lines, the limitations of the outer mind in understanding the purity of our inner eternal consciousness…etc.

We often find our ever-existing creative spirit hiding in all sorts of deep dark places, and it can get all freaked out and stuff. Or maybe (and even worse) it could get a little too comfortable in the hiding spots.

This is nature and it is normal. We aren’t supposed to be free from nature it because we are a part of it. Instead of trying to break free, a better idea is to work on being in conscious relationship with this nature, appreciating that it is this nature that allows us to feel all of these complex feelings. It all makes sense, and this sense is where your practice could begin for the first time, or begin all over again.

Who decides? You do!

Do you ever feel like you’re not legitimate or worthy? Sometimes I do. But then I remember that while “legitimacy” and “worth” are words that function well in capitalism, they are imaginary words in the context of being allowed to set our creative spirits free into this world. I have full faith that you don’t need to have an established background or formal training in an art form, or already be deep into a creative profession, to be allowed a life-enhancing creative practice that feels very real for you.

Are you afraid of not being successful? Consider what success really means to you. It turns out, becoming a ~famous artist~ as a goal sounds like juiceless fruit when compared to a more deeply expansive goal matrix such as feeling total boundless freedom in your practice to explore and learn and love yourself for showing up without anything to gain or prove to anyone. Not that anyone can’t be both, but I think intentions and motives can make a difference in the inner experience. And isn’t the inner experience what we are really after?

Practice.

You don’t need a prior experience or a background in art to practice your art making. That what the practice is for. The practice is the experience. Instead of a background, practice becomes the foreground. Practice is for anyone who wants to practice.

To practice is to continually choose to be in union with the moment you are in. To have a practice means to devote yourself to it sometimes with some kind of regularity. If you have already spent some time practicing, you already know there is also endless depth of field to explore and new angles to see from. It is a conscious relationship with a mysteriously endless yet life-giving spiral of seeking and learning. Doors opening to more doors opening to infinity.

Looking at creativity as a practice instead of a means to an outcome takes the pressure off. I write this because I still need to hear it. I always need to remember to surrender to the present moment, stay open, just be present in the practice, and sacrifice it all into the metaphorical fire at the end of the day before doing it all over again with equal if not more enthusiasm.

Even within my ‘established’ creative practice, sometimes I box myself into a particular style or subject matter, often ignoring other vital feeling calls from inspiration because “I make art like this, not like that”. I am even thinking this now in this moment about writing. The jerky inner critic whispers “You’re probably not experienced or good or legit enough to write about creative practice”. I can hear this and believe it. Or I can hear this without believing it, if some other parts of my mind are present enough to know that voice for what it really is.

I perpetually long to turn down the volume on my inner critic just enough to hear the sweet background music that plays unconditionally for me, waiting for my attention. If I am brave enough to let go and harmonize with it, I get to flow along with its current.

Look around you in the coming hours and days - what calls your creative spirit? In what ways does beauty sneakily find its way to you? What softens the space around your heart? What sets it on fire? What catches your attention, like a feeling in your body that lifts you up? What are you curious about? What questions do you long to answer for yourself?

“There’s a thing that wants to occur and if you dance with it, you can bring it forth.”
- Liz Gilbert

Sometimes practice can be beautiful. Sometimes practice can be daunting. Sometimes practice can open us up to see ourselves clearer. Sometimes practice IS JUST PRACTICE and doesn’t need attributes or a narrative.

This is my first post in a series I hope to keep up for a bit. I have so many reflections in a big list of topics surrounding creative practice - about mine and also ways you might be able to start and grow deeper in yours - to share about. I am hopeful and thankful to commune in the digital ethers!