Sometimes there is no better reason to write other than, well, you feel like you absolutely have to. I have been paying attention to this feeling more and more– this sometimes almost frustrating compulsion to want to share, to think, to connect, to craft the abstract meanderings of a day dream, a musing, the seedlings of a deep lesson, into words.
What is it that makes this….something, this irrepressible desire to share, to exercise the Voice, leap into action and careen into our waiting being like a torrent of idea-mash demanding a shape? I am really beginning to think that this is who we really are asking to be let in.
I know I am not the only one who has experienced this feeling. I see it all the time in my colleagues who are mostly all artists. Why do they go to an art school? Well, just from talking to them, many of them will tell you that it just makes them happy– they have to do it. A lot of them are transfer students. They started out as pre-med students at Columbia but realized that in order to fully exercise, give, and develop the talents they have, they need to be true to their calling. They needed to create art. And is this a quaint little species of shallow delight they express? No; it is a type of (from what I perceive, though others may disagree) spiritual felicity. What do I mean by that: I mean that it’s something almost not of yourself that simply must seek realization through a particular medium– art, music, writing, athletics, cooking, mountain biking. I don’t care. It’s unique to everyone. And through doing this, you are supremely joyful. Happy even when you are not happy. Hope that makes sense. It is a wonderful feeling of rightness even when you’re sad, or discouraged. It’s the feeling of being on the right path, rain or shine. You love it even when you hate it.
I don’t expect anyone to find this revelation new. Additionally, I don’t expect anyone to be unfamiliar with the feeling one gets when they ignore this surge, this compulsion, to express, create, and share. Sadly, we have probably all done this. (If this has never happened to you and you are blissfully gliding about in the world, expressing profound creativity with every sneeze and sniff of your being, then please write a book and let us know how to be you) However, I have found that in my own experience, when I have ignored my desire to share my unique take on the world, on beauty, on meaning (usually through writing) it has been because I did not have faith in what had come to me to share. This is not going to be another trite, “If you just believe in yourself, you will be happy/rich/famous/hawt/everything” pep talks. I think that we actually begin to fail once we place all of our faith on ourselves.
Why is this. Well for one, to speak for myself, I will unabashedly admit that I often feel like I have no idea what I am doing or how something is going to turn out, whether that is a homework assignment, a conversation with a friend, a mission to buy a birthday present for someone, a story/blog post I write. I mean, I have the best of intentions. But I have no idea what’s ultimately going to go down. It’s an act of faith in many respects. For me anyway. Every process is unique.
So why do we do it? Why do we keep giving in to doubting these demands that come to us to excel and create in our own unique ways? Whether that call comes to you as picking up a cello, climbing a mountain, or staring a business, it is valid. So how valid is our response to refuse to participate with this insistent inspiration? I argue that it’s on par with one of the sneakiest and most loathsome ways you can dishonor yourself. Pretty harsh. But think about it: I think that every time we shut out the desire to “do what we love” we are essentially killing ourselves. Yes, we keep walking around but we don’t feel like we live for something very big. I have felt that way plenty of times. But then I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to be willing to follow where the inspiration was going to lead me.
Over the last semester that willingness has lead me to further work on the craft of story telling. I get my homework done early (most of the time…ok fine, I have gotten to the point where I actually prioritize writing over getting my work done….) so I can write.
But here’s the funny thing. I used to feel guilty when I would just drop whatever I was doing just so I could jot down an idea or turn to a manuscript I was working on to add a few touches or even write for an hour or more. Now why would this make me feel bad? There’s really no good reason, I think, because I think IT IS DUMB that we accept that avoiding what fulfills us and allows us to give is somehow ok. Simply, it’s not ok. I love writing. So I shall do it. I need to do it. And so if I don’t, I will feel like a shell.
Oh, and the result? By following the inspiration to create, to express, to write, I find I actually do always have time to get my work done. And I am also a lot less stressed out. Go. Figure. So don’t make anymore excuses and think about what you love to do and then do it. Don’t have faith in yourself; have faith in what is asking you to express. That truth is closer to who we really are, I think.
Let me know how it goes : )