There is something an artist does bravely, without asking and without being told.
There is no instruction manual on how to do this thing right or how to ensure it is “successful” by the world’s standards.
And yet just doing this one thing is reason enough for an artist to call himself a success.
It is the reason she does her most soulful, moving and beautiful creative work.
It’s happening now all across the world. You might be doing it.
In fact, I KNOW most of you are doing it (and doing it damn well, by the way, lovers, bravo).
What is this elusive thing the artist dares to do?
The artist claims the freedom he has been so given to create.
He dares perform such a rebellious act as turning a blank page / canvas / screen into something powerful by filling it with HIS words, colors, choices, perspective, imagery, sound, flavor, sweat, blood, tears, emotion, passion, sensation.
She dares turn the vacant emptiness – the astonishing, vacuous, menacing, punishing void – into the magic of HER idea. capturing and executing a vision out of what appears to be nothing at all.
By picking up a pen / instrument / paintbrush and turning the blank into an expression, the artist dares to use the freedom many are too afraid to claim.
And it may sound counter intuitive (okay: it sounds WICKED counter intuitive) but using our freedom to create is brave because freedom is scary.
No one tells us we are allowed and no one promises to be there when shit goes wrong. No one tells us how because there is no “how” there is only making this up as we go. No one knows what it takes unless they do it themselves. Most people do not use the creative freedom they have because they are afraid of the unfamiliar, of being in a wide open place that is uncertain, uncharted, uninhabited.
Fear of this vast, glorious freedom can hold us back unless we dare to claim it and step into it boldly, with confidence and faith. I believe the Universe is here to raise us up. That we must do what we are afraid to do and trust that a Higher Energy is on our side and wants us to take the leap.
// because //
i will take the menacing sunlight and turn it into
the softest rain
i know you like the
way it falls.
i will take the screaming and turn it into
the slightest steady breath
i know you like the way
and even as you twist your thorny
mind around such fears as being
being crucified lost banished mistreated
ridiculed threatened cheated
i will wait for you to let go
as long as it takes, time doesn’t
matter the least bit to me.
i have been waiting all this time and i will wait
out eternity to see
to hold your head up high
to live as though i live
for you and know at last,
Click to hear me read this poem:
In the artist’s bible I turn to again and again (and again and again and it’s literally in my purse right now all bent and torn and frayed and scribbled in and prayed over and may or may not contain a few of my dried tears because I’m no drama queen) called The War of Art, brilliant author Steven Pressfield talks about the artists as being those of us (US, you guys) who are not afraid to claim the freedom most deny.
The freedom of stepping into the void – the freedom to explore, the freedom to break from the crowd, to break from the rules, to break from the safe, to take the blankness and make it whatever we so desire.
“We know what the clan is. We know how to fit into the band and the tribe.
What we don’t know is how to be alone. We don’t know how to be free individuals. . .
The artist is grounded in freedom. He is not afraid of it. He has a core self-confidence of hope for the future.
He believes in progress and evolution. His faith is that humankind is advancing, however haltingly and imperfectly, toward a better world.”
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
The world may not validate what we are doing with our artistic and creative endeavors. It may send us bullshit signal after bullshit signal that we should instead be content, compliant and complacent to be cogs in machines, mindless slave robots (slave robots? how very sci-fi).
The world believes it can sedate us into a stupor and call its little petty “perks” freedom.
The artist believes in the deeper expression of the Self, the TRUE expression of REAL freedom. The freedom most are too afraid to claim for themselves. The freedom to feel what we feel; to play with what we dream about; to birth what gnaws at our insides.
We claim the freedom of uninhibited creation. The freedom of expression. The freedom of taking nothing and making it into something thought-provoking, sensual, daring, beautiful, deep, disturbing, fulfilling, disruptive, passionate, enlightening.
We live in a culture that saturates us relentlessly with visual candy. There is not one damn thing we can’t look at whenever we want to: pictures, porn, food, islands, pretty girls, pretty guys, sunsets, street art, horror, fiction, non-fiction, friends, family, memes, media, selfies, on and on (and on).
But the artist isn’t satisfied with being force-fed the latest trends or someone else’s view of things. Those social feeds may be constant but they are FAR from fulfilling. If anything, looking outside of us only numbs us to what’s inside trying to come out.
And so . . .
The artist sets off on her own to make her own thing, something different, something wild. Just to remember what it feels like to bring a thing to life in her own way.
We don’t ask. We just do.
We know that freedom is not something given to us by the outside world. It is something we call forward from a visceral, mysterious place within.
Freedom is our spiritual inheritance. We’ve already got it, beloveds.
We don’t need more freedom. We need the courage to use the freedom we already have.
Above all else, the artist remembers more often than most that we are free creatures. And she dares to create as one.
“What is this despair? The despair of freedom . . . It may be that the human race is not ready for freedom.
The paradox seems to be, as Socrates demonstrated long ago, that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.”
Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
The artist is brave because to fully claim her freedom is scary and uncertain but she claims it anyway.
Art is the dare to believe we are collectively headed somewhere absolutely incredible, magical, masterful, inspired and inspiring.
“What I believe is that we’re only just beginning to understand the incredible capacity of human beings, that we can become something unrecognizable, that we can have true freedom, not some tantalizing emblem forever out of reach. Not weary compromise and nagging fear.”
Russell Brand, Revolution
What a privilege to have the artistic freedom we have. What a dare we take to claim it.
It’s the freedom to choose for yourself. The freedom to create what you desire to create.
The artist remembers more often than most that we are free creatures. [Tweet This]
And she uses what she remembers to remind us all.
BONUS AUDIO FOR CONFIDENCE & POWER:
Dear ones, though we may want to take a big leap into the freedom of creative expression, it can be a frightening thing to do. We all struggle with inner and outer resistance to doing the work that we love.
THIS reading and meditation will give you the extra deep courage to take a big leap by immediately tapping into the strength, confidence and wisdom of your Higher Self.
Click to hear me read the passage and meditation:
Sat Nam, beautiful, beautiful creative souls.
No just you go make amazing. x
P.S. As always, I thank you for being here. I hope you are reminded today how valuable you are as an artist, as an individual, as a creative force of nature. The world needs you so very, very badly to keep doing that gorgeous thing you do.
If you have a friend or family member who could use acknowledgment (trust, we all need to know we are seen) please share this post with them today. We need the courage artists have.
All my deepest love and mad respect for you, my talented friend,
Allison Marie xx