Discovering your creative self is a joyful journey, but it also has its share of pain. It's not like learning to swim or even surf. Sure, these activities can be frustrating until you develop a degree of competence, but they are a different journey to that of developing your creative soul.
Learning to love and honour my creative self has outweighed any pain along the way. The trick, I found, is to push through the pain. Let me give you an example.
Last night I burned two fingers. It hurt. The pain was so intense that for an hour, even iced water didn't help. Four hours later, as I was still feeling the burn's intensity, I realised that the skills I was drawing on were good lessons for the creative's journey. There were three simple things I was doing that helped me through this mini torment.
1. Know that the pain won't last. If you do the work in order to get back in deep connection with your creative soul, emotions must come up. That's part of the process. Anger, jealousy, fear, shame, guilt, and horror of horrors, a deepening self-awareness. That one can be a real 'ouch' moment, as you confront aspects of yourself that don't bear too well in the morning light. But whatever the degree of pain you are facing, it must pass.
2. Know that the pain is part of the healing. If you tear a ligament, the pain can be most acute as the body works to repair the tissue damage. Fighting against the pain won't help it move faster. Accepting it, and knowing that it is there to do the job (heal) can help bring a sense of peace.
3. Pain is a teacher. Now, I can't say that I won't ever touch the baking pan again when it's piping hot. But I do know I won't do it again in the near future. That's because I've made a conscious choice to be more careful.
How does all this work for emotional pain? Let's say you've been dealing with a jealous friend. They take every opportunity to try to bring you down. Perhaps they simply don't ask about your latest achievement, in a passive aggressive show of resentment. Or, they make a passing comment that your work is a fine hobby, and refuse to take it seriously. That's the first stage of the pain. You've got your fingers on the pan, and it hurts.
Then comes the healing. You step back from your friend, let the criticism or moment pass, and you decide to let it go. But as you walk past the mirror in your mind, you realise that you too have been exhibiting jealousy to another friend. As you delve deeper, you begin to see that the jealous behaviour you despise is within you too. This is the pain of awareness.
Finally, pain becomes the teacher... if you let it.
For every painful emotion, there is an antidote. Jealousy's is simple. Once you are aware it exists, you will also realise it is only there because of a perceived lack you carry. Fill the gap, and the jealousy will disappear.
So, why am I writing about dealing with pain on a publishing and creative workshop page? Because negative emotions are all part of the journey of a creative. And here's the blast. We are ALL inherently creative, not just a select few!
Looking at all emotions warmly can help articulate, identify and move on. In fact, the more you do this, the less painful it becomes and the more wondrous the journey becomes!
If you are interested in awakening the creative in you, join me in 2015 for Creati