First things first: Whether you realize it or not, you’re an artist.
I don’t care if you can’t carry a note. Or if your paintings look like they were drawn by a kindergartner. With her eyes closed.
You’re an artist.
Wanna know how I know? I’ll tell you in a minute.
When I first started writing over a decade ago, I was full of inspiration. I wrote my first piece of fiction in my car. It was for a fan-fiction website called Whatever Weaver Wants. The television show “ER” had a lesbian subplot involving a character named Kerry Weaver. I was obsessed with the show, an obsession that catapulted me into writing.
I haven’t stopped since.
My early writing days were filled with torture. No, not whips or chains or anything kinky. The torture took place solely in my mind. I would write something and then decide it was crap. Worse than crap.
My mind chatter went a little something like this:
Why am I even bothering to write? I’m not a writer! I’m a producer of crap! I should cease and desist immediately, thus saving the world the excruciating experience of reading my words!
Actually, no one was even reading my stuff at that point, so ceasing and desisting would have just saved me.
Only I didn’t want to be saved. In spite of my often-disparaging assessment of my work, I loved to write.
And when I wasn’t busy deciding my work was crap, I was sometimes thinking maybe it was okay.
Or maybe even better than okay. Maybe even, kinda, good.
Except this kind of thinking made me nervous, because I didn’t want to get a swelled head. So I’d go back to thinking it was crap.
It was like a roller coaster ride. The assessment of my writing would swing from crap to good to crap to good to crap. Up and down and round and round.
It was enough to make me perpetually dizzy and nauseous.
Until I remembered why I started writing in the first place.
My foray into fan fiction began not long after I started A Course in Miracles. The Course, for those of you who don’t know, is a book about forgiveness and spiritual transformation. It was written by Helen Cohn Schucman, though she was channeling an inner voice she identified as Jesus.
My exposure to the Course deepened my spiritual practice and my commitment to the Divine. It also, as it turned out, deepened my commitment to creativity. Though I wasn’t taking dictation from Jesus, as Helen Schucman did, I knew my writing was divinely guided and inspired.
I knew this every moment I spent putting words on a page. The problem came with the aftermath. Once the words were out there, my mind would get hold of them and scoot off to roller coaster land.
I logged a lot of hours on that roller coaster before I was willing to try something different. But, thank God, that day finally came.
It came when I realized my work wasn’t mine.
Writing, at its best, is like taking dictation. The words form themselves in my mind and I write them down. Where do they come from? I have no idea.
Ultimately, they come from Spirit, but where is that, exactly? I don’t know and I don’t need to.
All I know is that being an artist means surrendering myself to the Power and Presence that’s greater than I am.
All of us have this capacity. Each and every one of us.
Remember how I told you you’re an artist?
That’s why. Because you’re an emanation of this Power. And once you really get this, once you allow this Presence to guide your life, things start to get really, really cool.
When you understand that your life isn’t yours, that it belongs to the Divine, then declaring your work crap is insane. Who are you to judge the Divine?
It also doesn’t make sense to get a swelled head, because you’re not better than anyone else either. You are simply – perfectly – a unique expression of the One.
And as a unique expression of the One, your only job is to listen. And write. Or sing. Or organize. Or clean your house. Or help a friend. Or whatever it is you’re called to do.
It’s that simple.
The only thing you need to remember is that Spirit’s in charge.
Yes, I still hop back on that roller coaster every once and while. But I don’t stay on very long. Nausea isn’t my thing.
But Spirit is. Spirit, and the amazing ride that happens when I let this Presence direct my life.
I’ll buy a ticket for that ride any day.
What’s your artistry? How do you let the Divine lead?