I was having lunch with my friend Camille today. Camille is a wonderful artist and we were discussing creative blocks, those invisible boogie men that jump out of the closet like nightmare gremlins whenever we are contemplating a white canvas, a blank sheet of paper, that empty word doc or powerpoint screen.
Even the question “what’s for dinner?” can breed a dozen of these creepy guys. And we tank. We give up. We pull out a frozen pizza. We put the paintbrush down, dust off the old presentation to see if we can use it again. Amazing how quickly that sweet exciting impulse is smashed.
In expressive arts therapy, these boogie men are personified as the “critic.” I doubt that there is a person alive who hasn’t had one of these nasty guys rub up against them once in awhile, usually at a really really bad time. Like just before you go in front of the board with your new idea. Or when you’ve set aside some time, at last to start that memoir.
Why is it so powerful?
Often when you’re given the tools to listen to your critic objectively, you recognize the voice of a parent, your first grade teacher, the choir leader who asked you to just mouth the words and not really sing.
You’re also able to recognize that at these times, you’re not feeling very much like a grown up, but an awful lot like the little kid who experienced it.
And what is amazing is that you often hear their ACTUAL discouraging, WORDS & PHRASES turning against you time and again, repeatedly in your own mind, as if you’d swallowed poison and are caught in continuous regurgitation.
You can get your power back.
You can recapture the vigorous belief in yourself that you were born with. And you were born with it. There’s no child who courageously and untiringly works their way from crawling to standing to walking that does not have the creative fire — because that first step is indeed a creative act.
Your legacy as a human being walking this earth is the energetic belief in your power to create. And the tools to achieve it.
It takes some time and practice to overpower that nasty voice, to declaw the tiger and turn it into a mewling little kitty. There are many proven ways to do it, and people trained to help and support you.
You don’t have to give in to it ever again.
Your gifts are much too precious to waste.
Hey, by the way, what’s for dinner?