What’s Scary About Being Creative

 {Thanks @kristinoffiler for your Facebook comment that inspired this 4:06 pm in the afternoon spontaneous post!}

I was rambling on Facebook yesterday about more things I fear. Maybe it’s Halloween that’s started the domino affect or the several hours a day I spend reading psychology articles on anxiety and depression. But I’ve been talking a lot about the things that scare me lately.

That’s when Kristin gave me a good book recommendation for Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles. I did a digital thumb through and read about how the author Gabrielle Bernstein interpreted fear. In it she says,”I’ve learned that much of what I feared in my life was not frightening at all, or in many instances even real. I’ve learned that fear is simply an illusion based on past experiences that project onto the present and onto the future.”

It’s an interesting and provocative statement. And I agree on many levels.

While I wouldn’t say that every fear is attached to a past negative experience, I do believe that fear like any other emotion, stems from a purpose. It’s in our DNA to have fear as a way to protect ourselves. Over time that defense mechanism could have developed because of past experiences of feeling rejected, abandoned, criticized. The important thing is being able to weed out the real fears (the kind that can save your life) from the illogical and unnecessary ones (the ones that can ruin your life).

A lot of creative people have fears. Fears about their art being not good enough, not worthy, of being rejected. It’s the same kind of fears that I face when I create something. Or hopefully and more importantly after I create something.

Fear + creation = debilitation

Creativity – fear = Creation.

What I think Bernstein is talking about and what Martha Beck says in her February 2006 O magazine article below is that learning to deal, confront, have acceptance for your fears is what can render those fears powerless. They are always going to be there. It’s the way we respond to them that can change everything.

“Once we’re willing to confront our emotional suffering, we begin making choices based on attraction instead of aversion, love instead of fear. Where we used to think about what was “safe,” we now become interested in doing what seems right or fun or meaningful or ripe with possibilities.” – Martha Beck

I think what was so triggering for me about this topic is that I am a proponent of fear.

When I was in high school, I was extremely shy and introverted. But I tried out for our school play. I had just a small dancing part, but it was one of the best and most exciting experiences of my life.

As an introvert, the experience gave me butterflies in my stomach. Every night I put on my blue and white striped knit dress and tights, powdered my nose and lacquered on bright red lipstick to my lips. Ever night I told my play-mates how nervous I was. Except for that one night.

One night I was cool as a cucumber. Didn’t have a care in the world. The butterflies were gone. My palms were dry. My heart beating at a meditative level. You can guess what happened next. I messed up big time. Unfortunately it was the night a few local celebrities were watching in the crowd and it was the only night videotaped.

That was a big lesson for me.

I learned that when you have the right amount of adrenaline and fear in your system you’re more alive and present because you care.

Why Am I So Passionate About This?

I think fear can be your friend. I think fear can teach you about who you are right now and where you’d like to be in the future. I think fear is the brother of courage-you can’t have one without the other. I’m cautious about ridding myself and eliminating any emotion for the “fear” of it being repressed. A lot of the issues I see from others and myself stem from a denial or a lack of acknowledgment of negative emotion. When we can learn to embrace what we truly feel, when we can truly listen to what it is we’re feeling and accept it, we’ve essentially released the ghost and the power it has over us and over our lives.

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