I remember the first time I declared that I was an artist. It was one of the defining moments of my life.
It took me over 50 years to admit it.
Why did it take me so long to feel free to admit that I was an artist? It took me 50 years to not give a shit about the opinions of others.
You see, I had been well trained. In my world, in order to fit in, a person had to “work.” In general terms it meant doing something not of your choosing…something mundane or repetitive for someone else, a task that nobody would do if they didn’t get paid for it. Something easily forgotten when 5pm rolled around.
Creativity was seen as play. Play was for children. And my society reinforced that because the “starving artist” was a thing. Nobody, back in the day, would pay me a living wage writing stories or songs or acting in plays…not in my world.
For the vast majority of us, it’s still a thing. And we’ve been taught to idolize the celebrated few who the world has decided are “real artists.”
By the time I was a teenager I understood what to do. I would get paid a living wage working in an office at our local paper mill, contributing to the destruction of my environment, typing reports on paper production, PCB storage, LD50, and effluent disposal. That paid quite well.
I was taught to deny what delighted me and caused my spirit to soar…and applauded for the size of my paper paycheck.
However, we have to be something, right? I choose to define myself as a Mom. It was the best choice possible and I still love that aspect of my identity, but by the time I turned 50 my children were 25 and 21. I needed to redefine myself.
My search for answers led me to a local psychic (a decidedly unreasonable choice by some accounts – in my world it was considered Woo-Woo – fantasy – throwing my hard-earned money away). It was an interesting experience! I’m not sure if he told me what I needed to hear or if he was in direct connection with spirit, but what he said changed me.
He looked directly at me and said, “It’s about time you called yourself an artist.”
Yes! It was a defining moment for me.
I now think of them as “tattoo moments,” moments forever tattooed on your brain, a snapshot in time that serves to show you where you’ve been and how far you’ve come.
I needed to hear it spoken, I guess, in order to give myself permission to embrace my personal artistry. That is when I became so “full of it”…so filled to the brim by Inspiration that it flowed over into every aspect of my life.
Do you believe you are an artist? Can you not just believe…but Crazy Believe in your own creative potential? Believe with such conviction that you are willing to act on it?
Or do you believe in the “reasonable wisdom” of others?
We define mastery as something we practice and rehearse until it becomes what we call 2nd Nature. But what about 1st Nature? What, exactly is that?
1st Nature, as I define it, is your birthright as a human being – that which you came to life to express. As I see it now, each human being came to life with everything we need in order to thrive. And that doesn’t diminsh as we age.
We access our 1st Nature through imagination. Imagination is free. It costs nothing but costs us everything if we deny it.
In our capitalistic society, we have been taught to devalue that which we all have, for free, but it’s these free attributes that are the foundations of freedom.
Imagination is the condition with which we connect with the Wellspring of Inspiration. Everything uplifting, invigorating, awesome, and abundant flows to us through our imagination…that which we have been conditioned to deny.
What is Inspiration?
I think of it as mind-sparks or WOW! moments – when we make a connection between two seemingly unrelated elements – when we connect the dots and discover ourselves on common ground.
Yes. Inspiration is grounding. It is the ground. We delight in it. Why? Because we have discovered the Nature of Nature. 1st Nature!
We don’t need anyone or anything or any religion to tell us what it is.
Artistry is the common ground between all things. Everyone is an artist. We create all the time. That we agreed with the “reasonable wisdom” of the day didn’t change who we are. That we chose to deny our creations (or even hate them) didn’t change the fact that we created them.
Even those jobs we consider uncreative can be some of the most creative jobs of all. Use your imagination!
For example, have you ever considered how Einstein made his breakthroughs? Before he could compose the mathematical equation to prove his “theory” of relativity, it was a dream, a vision…a gleam in his eye. A gleam that he drew into reality by his persistent vision of a future where it was a reality.
Until he proved it, he Crazy Believed, right?
Consider how the vaccines for Covid were created. Sure, they were created by the scientists who stood on the shoulders of giants (a wealth of scientific evidence), but the scientists who dared to dream of a world in which the vaccines worked had to hold that vision until they could prove it. Like Alchemists, they transmuted theory into vaccines.
Until they proved it, they Crazy Believed, right?
We can scoff at this idea – and say that it was simply trial and error, the scientific method at work, that there is nothing creative about raw data…but creativity defies definition and doesn’t give a shit about your opinion of it. It simply creates.
It’s the kind of Inspiration that can save our planet.
And so it is for the chefs and lawyers, carpenters and crafters, gardeners and cab drivers and fishermen…anyone who holds the vision for their best life in their mind’s eye and chooses to create something colored beautiful every day…their most inspired, best work…their unique masterpiece.
I was an artist way back in the day when I was typing reports in my local paper mill. I was an artist on every summit and valley of my life. I was an artist when floods and tornadoes threatened to obliterate all that I had created.
And so are you. Admitting it is the first step. Sound familiar?
You don’t need anyone or anything or any religion to tell you what to believe.
Embrace your personal artistry. Value it. Celebrate it. Declare it.
Practice it until you are so full of it that it flows from your hands, your mouth, and your spirit…
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost. That is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.Henry David Thoreau, Walden
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Check out An Elegant Mind’s Handbook for more deep-dive ideas. And here’s
a gift for you…if you purchase the book, I invite you to contact me on my
website https://www.pauladtozerauthor.com and let me know that you have
purchased it. I will send you SKY MIND, a free guided meditation that I created
to get you in the Contemplative Writing mindset!