My friend sent me the most glorious text:

“I’m at Camille’s guitar lesson and there is this kids band playing. It’s horrific. Like worse than me in the car with the windows up. But I love the fearlessness to pursue their passion.”

That sentence alone opened up a window of creative thought that has allowed inspiration to flow in ever since.  In an instant, I realized just how pure and free this experience was for the kids in this band. My friend’s ears may be bleeding, but her joy is not the focus here – it’s theirs.

They are playing with their hearts and not with their egos. They are not playing for applause but to set their self-expression free.  And it is working for them. This may not be how it is playing out for these children, but in my mind, this is the gift I am receiving: a reminder that creativity is not about external validation, it is about the open expression of oneself for the sincere pleasure that arises when that pleasure is pursued. The end results not included. It is the glorious path that is the victory dance.  What an enormously freeing experience it is when it is viewed this way.

Coincidentally a day later I received an email from a woman I had previously coached. She ended her email with a statement about her paintings.

“I’m still committed to my painting even though I don’t paint every week. I’ve dropped my ambitions to sell my work and I’m just focusing on improving my skill and having more fun. I thank you”. The last part of that sentence is everything. Just having more fun.

I too have fallen victim to the illusionary practice of creating art for a specific monetary result. This shaped the way I created and shaped the art I created. I felt flat internally because of it. When I dropped the need to create for this reason I opened the door to the expanded being I was and the creative process flowed freely because of it.

I had to self validate. Creating art specifically to please someone outside of yourself leaves you feeling deflated before you can even bloom.  The creative experience should be an open conversation, not a premeditated script.

What do you think? Do you feel a need to be validated from your art or do you feel the process and the creation are the fuel you need alone to continue?

Ask yourself these questions during your creative process:

  • When you notice judgements about your work can you let them go?
  • Are you able to observe your thoughts without the need to attach to ones that don’t feel free?
  • Can you accept the experience of the art-making process for what it is without it needing to have a perfect ending?
  • Can you recognize (and give yourself credit for)  your courage in the act of creation itself?

Those kids in the example above probably didn’t ask themselves any of these questions – they just went for it and felt great while doing it.  They are feeling the gift of interior expansion that comes with creating art for the bliss of doing it. My aim is to feel that way each time I create and to assist others in doing so also.  Can you imagine a world where we are all expanding and growing without self-judgement simply because we are happily engaged in the art-making process? Yes? Yes!

Best to you great creator!

Love, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Tuckwell is the founder of Art With Intention a site devoted to creative expression and personal growth. She provides creative coaching to remove old energy and gain clarity. You can learn more about working with her here: http://artwithintention.com/one-one/   She is also an accomplished Abstract Artist and her work can be viewed at Elizabethtuckwell.com.

*Real not Perfect Image Courtesy of Alexas_Fotos