And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence
– Sounds of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel
Click to hear me read this post:
Scarcity has become our city.
They built it up all around us while we stood quietly still and now we live in it.
And as our authentically loving voices got quieter a midst the cultural noise, many of us got tucked restlessly into a desolate mindset of Scarcity.
Some of us might have a second home, maybe a vacation home, in Abundance; we may commute back and forth, but too many of us buy a cheap apartment in Scarcity and stay put because it happens to be there and it’s easy.
Its blackened bricks erected all around us obstruct our view of the sky. Walls that buzz and click with neon signs telling us we are lacking in so many, many twisted ways.
Signs flashing and screaming, telling us that we can’t make art because we’re nobody and we don’t have the talent, the looks, the connections, the time, the money or the swagger. We won’t be famous enough to matter, we won’t be rich enough to make doing what we love worth it.
We won’t go viral.
We won’t best-sell.
Bombarded with messages like these from all around, we are forced to walk Scarcity’s streets at night haunted and hunted by our ghastly fears. The fears that we can’t be who we want to be until we have everything they are trying to sell us to ‘fix’ us.
Somehow, we feel, we are wrong for even trying something not guaranteed to be a success. Somehow, we think, we can’t speak because we’re not [fill in the blank] enough. Somehow, our fears pin us down and we think there’s only so much talent / success / luck to go around, and we don’t deserve it. Or somewhere along the way we missed our shot.
So we chase and we are chased. We ignore and we are ignored.
We hold back and we are held back.
We compare and are compared. We covet, we hide. We are too afraid / ashamed / busy to share. We keep our dreams to ourselves. We don’t talk about what we really want to be doing with our time and talent. We have to just keep our heads down, our dreams locked up, and our silence.
To keep things in line, to keep fitting in, to stay on the right side of the cobblestone sidewalk, we must above all else keep the silence.
Wrong. So wrong, so very, very viciously and maliciously wrong, you guys. And for the artist? Excruciatingly, soul-crushingly wrong.
We’ve become too quiet about what matters a midst the noise of all that doesn’t.
We do not have to accept this scarcity mentality that is so pervasive in society and popular culture. We do not have to be lulled by the buzzing neon of you are never enough. Very often, people keep their artistic silence because they don’t believe they have enough – or are enough – to begin playing their art out loud, in real life.
Who am I to paint, draw, write, dance, sing, rock? They’ll think I’m a fool! They’ll think I’m a nerd, frivolous, pathetic, silly!
But the beginner dares to play out loud not because she doesn’t have all of those fears of not enough and of judgment running through her mind but because she’d much rather break the maddening silence. It matters to her to play out loud. It matters to her.
In the rush, we forget ourselves. We forget our own inner brilliance. We don’t need to prove we are stellar – we need to remember we are. — Allison Marie (@GloryBegin) February 11, 2015
Every time we choose against the scarcity mindset, we affirm our abundance of strength, talent and worthiness. Every time we play a note out loud, share a piece of writing, or in whatever way make our art and our voices known, we break the petrified silence of ‘I’m not good enough.’
Playing out loud means beginning to step our own way. We begin to build, construct, and design our own city. A city built not on the idea that we are all here to compete with one another for shreds of fame and fortune, but instead to connect with each other, to share what we made and learn from one another.
And then to take all we have, and all we are, and all we gather, and turn it into something new, and beautiful, something interesting, something meaningful. Something original.
“Art is the unique work of a human being, work that touches another.” ~ Seth Godin, The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?
Comparing art is the fastest way to degrade it – run it into the ground, stop it cold.
The beginner’s mind makes better art because she dares to make her own art out loud. Without competing with anyone. Just to learn what her art sounds like, feels like, looks like. It matters to her to use her life to find out who she is.
Without measuring his work against a society gasping in the shallows of Scarcity.
Beginners aren’t focused on the final score, they are endlessly interested in the playing of the game. Beginners want to learn the moves and then make up their own moves. The win for us is in the doing and the sharing.
We feed on the work not yet done.
Only in abundance can we create. Creation begets creation. If we believe we are lacking, we cannot begin to spin what we have into something we are willing to give away.
“To create is to love. Love extends outward simply because it cannot be contained. Being limitless it does not stop. It creates forever.” – A Course In Miracles
So that the artist begins everyday with faith that she brings something to the table. It may not be a feast yet, but she’s got curious, promising, fascinating little scraps in her mind. And these clippings, drippings, gatherings, offerings – scraps of paper, scraps of ideas, scraps of what she’s read here and there, traces of experiences and inspirations that have stuck with her for reasons she has yet to understand – are destined to be woven into something the world needs.
Art becomes a co-creation of the love inside, it becomes the manifestation of the desire to share, to serve, to offer.
The artist wants to begin because she wants to play. She wants to learn by trying, she wants to show us what she sees, the way she sees it. She wants to be all in.
The beginner seeks not to get more but to share what he already has. His unique offering that comes from his endless love for the game of life, the trade and shuffle and thrill of creating something new.
He doesn’t play for rank or for keeps, he plays for expansion and to give it all away.
And while we may be constantly pressured by a culture of greed and scarcity, deep down, we know its promises are empty. Its calls to seek fame and fortune at the expense of our personal truth are based on nothing and offer nothing in return.
We’re after an exploration, a deeper understanding of who we are, what we are designed to do; to uncover the secrets of this co-creative relationship we are developing with our craft.
Shoshin is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind.” It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.
If you are lacking in anything let it be only this: Lack of preconceptions. About what it means to make art, what it means to have meaning in this world, in your life. Wake up each and every morning as a beginner, as open and eager and willing to learn from everything and everyone.
The beginner’s mind knows the ultimate win is only in the sharing because in the sharing an idea increases.
“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” — Joseph Campbell
We have culturally strangled ourselves into fearing we don’t have enough. It’s a destructive mindset that keeps us silently locked down in fear, focused secretly on getting instead of giving. It is also a perfect way to keep our beautiful art forever hidden unless we decide it matters enough to us to break the silence.
Without buying anything else, without another badge or promotion or dollar, you have enough, you are enough. You have everything it takes to be someone who makes a difference.
To be love.
To be expansive.
To be generous.
To be open, honest, and brave.
To be eyes that see other people.
To be a heart that heals.
To be a joy, a light, a surprise.
In this very moment, you have enough. You are enough.
IT’S TIME TO GET LOUD ABOUT THIS.
Because while we are being endlessly distracted by a greedy culture, constantly being sold on useless stuff that claims to be the balm for our imagined fears, we are quietly ignoring the biggest, most incredibly powerful, soothing, creative, warm, bright light in the room.
That would, of course, be you.
The real you. The real you who is the real star of your real life.
Some people wake up to an illness. Some people wake up to violence. Some people wake up to no food. Some people wake up to a loneliness so deep and so hallow that they have become despondent, unable to cope, no longer able to access their inner glow.
Some people do not wake up.
They do not wake up to the day, they do not wake up to their creativity or their passion or their calling. But the beginner does.
All she needs to pull from is her love for the game. When an artist lacks only reservation, when he needs nothing to begin, no one can touch him.
You can’t sell him anything; he doesn’t need it.
Once the beginner awakens and realizes the buzzing neon lies all around her are just an illusion, you can’t scare her and you can’t stop her.
There’s nothing you can take from her.
Because she’s already willingly, loving, graciously given everything she has away.
Let no one convince you you don’t have everything you need to design the life you desire.
The threat of scarcity, of ruthless competition, of never enough is a lie and an illusion. What you give in love multiplies endlessly.
Break your silence. Do your original art out loud.
You have enough, angel.
You design your own city.
You paint the walls.
Make your love stand out loud.
~ ~ ~
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© 2014 Allison Marie Conway at Glory Begin