Will Our Creativity RUN OUT?!
Every creative process evolves, grows, or gets dismantled. Like the great quote from Heraclitus, “the only thing that is constant is change.” There is another quote from him however, that states, “it is in changing that we find purpose.” That to me, is the name of the game with creativity, and this brings me to my main point for this post:
Will we be able to keep creating?
This anxiety-inducing question can come from a lot of different places, like being financially, emotionally, or mentally stable, but when you boil it all down it’s the same place: worry & fear. If you’ve fallen victim to the thoughts or feelings that come from fear, you’re certainly not alone…especially if you’re an artist. But let’s break this down in order to realign our path with our purpose and that comes with one word:
God, this is a tough one for me. I’m still battling with this as I type. Not just with our creative side, but accepting our past and present. Accepting disappointment with ourselves and others, accepting that we don’t have the things that we want, accepting potential failure. Accepting relationships that don’t work out, accepting our family members for who they are, accepting our own faults. Accepting how messed up the world is and how helpless we may feel to change it.
Here’s the flipside:
Accepting that we are exactly where we’re supposed to be, accepting that great things are coming, accepting that we can work with what we have, accepting others for doing the best they can, accepting that everything in life is happening for us and not to us. This road to acceptance leads to another theme:
Accepting where we are and finding ways to be grateful for it is the exact opposite force of the victimization that keeps us stuck in a cycle. As I write this all out I understand that as much as I am sharing this with you, the reader, I am also writing this to myself. These are the things that I am learning now and I believe them to be so powerful and transforming–and I want to extend these teachings into the creative community.
Believe me when I say, adapting to this outlook is much easier said than done. I am really battling with it–some days I feel lighter and that I have a hold on it, while other days I fall back into grieving past hardships. What I have learned is this outlook is primarily dependent on this:
Our chosen perspective.
This pertains to what meaning we give to our life events. Our painful past memories can be looked back upon with remorse, guilt, and shame. Or we can choose to accept them as lessons and as memories of resilience. I was listening to the Tony Robbins podcast with Sadhguru, and Sadhguru said something along the lines of, “Those who experience the most pain should be those who are the wisest.” But we often let pain turn us into victims, feigning strength whilst carrying the pain into our future in suppression. Which will later reveal itself again in cycles of triggering events.
Similarly, the meaning we attach to putting out our art can leave us just as vulnerable. When we put out our music, drawings, writings, or content and it yields us little notoriety…we can give it the meaning that this means we are lousy at it. No one cares about us. Then the ego can get involved trying to protect us and tell us let’s not do that anymore, let’s stay in what is more safe from rejection and failure. Our ego can dictate our perspective.
But that is not how we always were, as children we cared little for the opinions outside of our family’s. Unless a stranger was extending a positive word. Our internal sense of accomplishment heavily outweighed the negativity of outsiders or the need to impress those we do not know. This brings to me the takeaway of the main point I addressed earlier:
Internal fulfillment & satisfaction is the better source of sustaining creativity whilst external validation & success can be a source of temporary gratification.
Again, I’m very much in the process of embodying this approach. The euphoric experience of connecting with others through our art can be the most wonderful part of our creative existence. It is most likely how we know our creativity to be our purpose. However, Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Consistently searching for purpose through validation can be a trap–like chasing the dragon of social acceptance and significance. As quickly as it comes, it can leave. For some, the “15 minutes of fame” costs everything–and they can end up with nothing at all. Social media can be a platform for the addiction of significance. Hell, sometimes I open my phone to text someone, but I end up on Instagram thinking, why the hell did I even open this thing?
Furthermore, so many creative industries today seek to exploit and take advantage of artists, which makes it even more important to seek our value from within. Knowing our worth as artists can only come from our self-awareness and internal pride in our work. What’s ironic is that it seems when we are focused on that, external success usually comes naturally…or so they say.
But here my mission is to keep creatives creating by expanding our awareness.
So that is why I am relaying these messages to you here and in my YOUTUBE PLAYLIST and hopefully, some words will resonate–or at least provide a perspective. Let me know by contacting me below, subscribing, or sharing with other folks. Helps me know things are making a difference here (oh the irony…I know…).
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It’s been a while! I hope this new website and new lifestyle will bring me to a discipline with blogging. I have to fill the void somehow. Might as well get productive with things. The website needs to have content on it in some form! This is a blog that I started back in September 2019, but I don’t think I ever got around to finishing it or posting it. However, it does not make it totally irrelevant to myself today…in fact it is remarkably still quite relevant. It is actually a reflection of something I did one year ago, almost to this very date. So let’s begin…
Here we are now—a full year after COVID hit the United States and put an entire country in limbo. From toilet paper nearly becoming currency to vaccines becoming readily available, we have now seen the impact of this pandemic from this trip around the sun. I think this may be a good time to really reflect on what life was, what it is now, and what the hell we should do now...
Well, we did it. Masks are off, people are vaccinated, and summertime is upon us. What’s next? Shows are getting set up, tours booked, and the last of businesses are opening back up. The next phase in society is shifting and we must get with it one way or another. Things like this are easier for me to deal with if I just try not to think about it too much. The onslaught of questioning I can put myself through can often cripple or just bum me out to a point of depression-like symptoms. In my heart I am an optimist. In my head I’m a cynical over-thinker. There’s a word for this, right?
Ever just stop and ask yourself “wait...why am I doing this?” Or maybe you found yourself in a place you didn’t really plan on being in when you first began your journey. Maybe doubts start setting in, as if to say you should be in a better place...or you should be having more “success” than what you’re currently experiencing. Before these thoughts spiral out of control, you then have to snap back into reality and get back to the point…“why am I doing this?” ...
Life is always going to be about rolling with the punches, adapting…surviving. The famous Rollins quote of “half of life is fucking up and the other half is dealing with it.” Today’s world proves to have quite a different gameplan. There are far less rules and require far more backup plans. Everyone seems to be navigating differently. If you are out there looking at your neighbor and thinking that their path is right for you, you might just end up in a very different place than you intended. One thing seems to reign supreme now: figure out what works for you...
Regardless of how we all feel about Joe Rogan or Neil Young or anyone else involved in this “controversy” one thing should all rub us the wrong way: Spotify standing on the heads of countless artists to pay a man 100 million dollars. There are lots of different perspectives on this situation and the ever-evolving music industry that I want to dig into, but ultimately I’ll never be on board with how streaming services seem to be bankrolling billions, and artists are left waiting for the trickle-down effect. Yes, I’m aware I am a very small-time artist that is getting very little action/benefits from these streaming platforms and at the risk of just sounding like a bitter wannabe (or jaded boomer), here are what I think the issues are and even some solutions…
If you are some sort of artist or creative person and you’ve endured the past 2 years without giving up, you deserve a medal of honor…seriously. We all suffered varying degrees of trauma and though we are not out of the woods with the pandemic effects, we are reaching a stage of creative resurgence. Tours are booked, concerts and the rest of the entertainment industry is rolling again, so it’s now time for those quarantine projects to come to life. This can be rather intimidating and anxiety-inducing, which lots of creatives struggle with, but we have to figure out a way to use this new era as motivation to see things through...
So far what I’ve established in my life is that preparation fuels everything. It’s my basis for confidence and my main anxiety reducer, both creatively and in my personal life. In BLOG 5, I talked about figuring out what works for me as I approach this new year and a new chapter in my life. I’ve settled into a new living situation, been trying out different working environments, and trying to stay productive creatively. Though society is still very uncertain, my objective was to play the hand I am currently dealt in order to be able to move forward. I’ve set goals and shifted priorities, but also stayed committed to certain things in order to plan on what comes next. Halfway through the year, I’m checking in to show my successes and shortcomings...
Now that “THE PANDEMIC IS OVER,” it seems like things are going faster than ever. Every band is touring (and bailing on tours), all kinds of shows are selling out, flights are unpredictable, and prices are out of control. Another new normal? Regardless of where you are in your life, we all have at least one commonality: we’re a couple years older than when this thing first began. One thing that always comes with getting older is the confrontation of time passing and an excuse for reflection. Though this is sounding like blog posts of the past, this post I’m thinking about measuring success, not just thinking about maintaining creativity. Our expectations and goals can change as we’re faced with harsh realities or surprising accomplishments, so what’s feeding our current state of creative fulfillment?
If you’re like me, the new year can bring a bunch of different feelings up…likely lots of ups and downs. We can look back on the past year and what we’ve gone through, or similarly look ahead to what we hope to go through this year, but sometimes being in that headspace can cause a loss of being in the present and where we are now. 2022 exposed a lot of things within American society and the world, but I think what is mostly getting exposed is the need for mental health treatment…for just about everyone (but especially creatives). If you follow me on INSTAGRAM you may have seen that post I put out early on during the pandemic urging us creatives to speak up and find someone to talk to if they had the means. Now I’m revisiting why this is so important to us and keeping us true to who we are as creatives walking into 2023...
Our childhood determines what our personality traits will be, how we choose the things we do, and even the reality we choose to see. The behaviors of how we think, feel, and see amalgamates to who we really are. Until something or someone gets us to step outside ourselves to objectively observe the causes and results of our behaviors, we’re likely stuck in this autopilot of repeating cycles...cycles that stemmed from childhood events. In the last post I used the analogy of us all emerging into adulthood with our inner child situated in some sort of hole. The size and depth of that hole just depends on our genetics along with the traumas and experiences we had growing up. So what do we do about it and how does this impact us as creatives?
Are you feeling like no matter what you do you can’t get ahead? Treading water? Even if you do accomplish or produce something, somehow it doesn’t meet expectations and it leaves you slightly dissatisfied? It can feel like the mind is racing and the body can’t keep up. When these 2 entities fall out of balance it’s the fire/gasoline combo igniting depression, anxiety, and even just plain old writer’s block. It can fall even deeper into panic attacks or paralysis episodes that kill the motivation to do anything. Though it may feel like we are the only ones experiencing it, this is something that plagues us all from time to time–especially artists trying to keep up in this 2023 world of rising prices and abundant distractions. In this post I’m going to talk about how to combat these situations and how to let things happen in order to right the creative ship. These frantic states are completely normal because it is the case of our mind & body trying to communicate something to us…we just need to have the awareness to figure out what that is...
Every creative process evolves, grows, or gets dismantled. Like the great quote from Heraclitus, “the only thing that is constant is change.” There is another quote from him however, that states, “it is in changing that we find purpose.” That to me, is the name of the game with creativity, and this brings me to my main point for this post: Will we be able to keep creating? This anxiety-inducing question can come from a lot of different places, like being financially, emotionally, or mentally stable, but when you boil it all down it’s the same place: worry & fear. If you’ve fallen victim to the thoughts or feelings that come from fear, you’re certainly not alone…especially if you’re an artist. But let’s break this down in order to realign our path with our purpose and that comes with one word...
What if we don’t need to have it ALL figured out to become the artist we want to be? In fact, what if there’s more power in letting the process happen rather than us trying to force the future to bend to our will? Sometimes when we’re pressuring ourselves in that way, it ends up feeling like the more we do, the more we give ourselves to do…and the more we end up getting overwhelmed. Now that the smoke is starting to clear here on the East coast, I realize that this clarity is something that often comes at the end of a disaster. After each failure there is a lesson, after each rock bottom comes an upward path. So how do we know if the smoke is clearing within us?
Something that has been popping up all around me is the concept of determining a person’s value. This can be described in a couple of different ways, one being the value that a person provides, or the values that a person holds within themselves. As in what we contribute to the outside, versus what we hold as important qualities on the inside. As artists, this is probably one of the most difficult areas to navigate. So much of society is set up in a way where value is based on earning money. Especially in America, it’s almost all we think about. I was at this party a little while ago and someone asked me what I’ve been doing during the week and if I have a career path. I replied by outlining how I’m providing content and building a community to empower artists. Their response was, “Oh, wow…how do you plan on making money doing that?” It seems like this was such a natural question to ask in a discussion such as this, when a person describes what they want to do with their life, almost immediately they are met with asking can I make money doing this? Here’s why this can be REALLY dangerous for artists...
What is the purpose of our art? To some of us, that may be an easy question to answer, but to others, maybe it requires a little more thought. Some would maybe even question what the point of art is as a whole. Some of us might notice beauty in every little thing around us while others can walk through a museum and wonder why nothing truly impresses them. These days I have been turned on to a different perspective on creativity and its purpose. Especially within the music scene. It’s something that has been in my face for years, but was just not fully aware of how to articulate it…so here it goes...
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