(Big Breath) My very first Expressive Arts Group. The road leading up to now has been rocky. At times I’m full of lightness and creative thought, ideas sparking my every waking (and sleeping) moment, and the next, I’m full of self doubt.
How can I make this happen? If this is what I’m so passionate about, what I feel my life’s purpose is about….what if I SUCK at it? What if no one is interested? What if it bombs and no one comes back?
It was such a monumental experience for me, my first forray into Expressive Arts – but honestly, it was just 3 long weekends, do I really feel like I have the capability to facilitate others into the same kind of aha’s and transformative connection to their inner core?
Finally, just days before, I was able to calm myself into a deep knowing that small group bonding and a sense of release in the FUN of childish exploration and creation was all I needed to aim for. And THAT has my name all over it. I remember as a child organizing games and competitions at block parties and a neighbor mom encouraging me saying, “You are really good at this! You should think about doing something like this with your life.” I chuckled in my childish self, thinking really? Make a living out of organizing people into playing games? I’ve been dabbling with arts-y ideas for a long time. When the kids were very young and needed entertainment it is what I gravitated to, at times keeping me sane. When they went to school, I tried to make an income with my artistic interests; making jewelry, faux wall painting in people’s homes, and always, always writing with the encouragement from others fueling my inner curiousity of writing a book.
But the stinky brain always erupted in my comparing myself to other artists. “They are so talented! I’m not good enough! It’s too hard to make myself stand out.”
Indeed, even after I’d come to grips about my group and not trying to make it bigger than it needed to be….. just. have. fun., I went to a good friend’s house the afternoon before my group. She’s has been a dance costume designer for 25 years and is often spilling over with creative ideas for financial means using that energy. It was the first time I’d visited her work room and everywhere I looked I saw how much she seemed to LIVE her creative energy. There were visual messages of ideas hanging by clothes pinned strings, and jottings galore of colorful messages of ideas. Drawings of visions. It blew me away. *I* certainly wasn’t this filled with creative energy or ideas. In fact, the more I thought of it, my group the next day was rather simple and likely stupid to a person like her. I left in tears, though I wouldn’t let her see them, thinking what a big zero I was. How in the world could I possibly imagine that I had this in me to do? I didn’t live my talk. I still have issues with just……..creating……for creation sake. I can copy things, I enjoy making STUFF…..but I usually need someone else’s vision. It’s hard for me to make “ugly” art. I like color and pretty and Oooo’s and Ahhh’s. How the hell can I ask others to do this brave work of letting go when it’s so hard for ME to do?!
Thankfully, I recognized the shame messages right away given my love of Brene Brown, (if you don’t know this name, give yourself a gift and listen to her TED.com talk or pick up one of her books. Start with the Gifts of Imperfection!) I knew these were the monkey mind stink messages that we send ourselves that keep us small. Exactly the messages that stifle our creativity. By believing that we’re not worthy of _______ until we gain ___________ is utter bullshit. A dark hole that keeps us walking a narrow line of unfulfilled dreams. Namely, my message of I’m not worthy of helping others until I’m proficient at this was shutting me down in my ability to begin this group in the morning. Damaging beyond belief. Possibly in our present learning and struggle …..and SHARING that openly…..allows others to learn in the same struggle. And be open in sharing their own.
So, thankfully to some wonderful, wise, online women and my present guru, Brene Brown, I slept well and woke with a new sense of purpose and acceptance. And somehow a knowing that what I was bringing would reach each person in a special way that was needed for them.
And yahoo….. afterwards, I’m singing and dancing and shouting from the rooftops. It was wonderful. Releasing and fun and energizing. And my head is BURSTING with joy and love and energy as I have completed this very first group. Coming once again to this beautiful affirmation that I LOVE THIS WORK. This is what I’m meant to do!
“This whimsical fun is a magical
piece of my practice.”