“The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.” ~ Dylan Thomas
Fear of Creativity
A coaching client of mine from Montréal called me in a panic this week, saying that he was experiencing a flood of ideas that would take him to the next level in his business. Ideas that scared him, frozen in place.
He admitted to knowing that had been hiding out in his personal and professional lives for years, simply treading water. All of a sudden, he just couldn’t continue to live a lie — a life of safe mediocrity.
And, yet, he was terrified of growing, of tapping into his burgeoning creativity, and becoming the person he intuits he is destined to be.
So, what is really going on with this entrepreneur? Why is he so threatened and overwhelmed by his creativity?
The Push and Pull of Creativity
Creativity, the force and energy that creates worlds, also has the vast potential to destroy. Creative disruption is the precursor to the true breakthrough. It can feel like death — because, in fact, on one level, it is. The old you dies so that new growth — a new becoming — may occur.
But there’s more to the story.
I believe that what my client is experiencing is what Dylan Thomas wrote about in his poem, The Force That Through the Green Fuse. Thomas reveals his sense of oneness with the force of creation and his deep awareness that it can course through living things like a ruinous, electric shock. This power to create equally lifts and petrifies us.
While I know we can tend to trot out the excuse that we couldn’t face failure if we were to chase our dreams, I hold that we are more afraid of our vast power and creativity than we are of our potential failure.
Resisting the Urge to Hide from Your Creativity
As a result, we can choose to hide from our creativity, like my client. We can also actively pursue numbing it completely – or dampening it down – through overwork, lack of rest, and/or too much food, alcohol, or zoning out in front of the television.
We have as many ways to hide as we do ways to create.
Hiding, though, is not without consequence. New York Times best-selling author and research professor, Brené Brown, argues that unused/expressed creativity is not benign. In fact, it is toxic.
How do we, then, ride the river of creativity without drowning?
Decide to allow within yourself a gentle opening to possibility. without censoring it or dooming it before it can take its first breath. Stand to the side, and just see what is wanting to emerge — what is wanting to be created. Become the observer of yourself, like a curious scientist, and take notes.
Capture all the notions, thoughts, and free-floating ideas on paper. Choose a trusted friend (one who celebrates growth rather than is afraid of it) and talk through your findings. What is the thread holding everything together? Do you see an underlying theme? Is there one small piece of an idea you can commit to pursuing?
Think in terms of small tests and little experiments, and not big, jumping-off-the-cliff type behavior. What can you do today that feels like a stretch that will build your muscles for tolerating the creative force?
Nurture your willingness to let your creativity run, and its power will carry you without taking you under.
Please visit us on Facebook to share your questions and comments.