What makes you feel like you can’t go all in? What holds you back?
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” ~ Vincent Van Gogh
After nearly fifteen months on the mountaintop, cut off from traveling and experiencing the world of art, I broke free yesterday and drove to Atlanta to the Van Gogh Immersive Experience. Last winter, I purchased my ticket, long before vaccinations were available, hoping that somehow I could attend safely.
I am so glad I took that chance.
The 20,000-square-foot venue at the Pullman Yards was transformed into 360 degree, wall-to-wall, sumptuous art by Van Gogh, displayed through digital projection technology. Visitors could sit inside the artist’s vibrant works and let the dazzling colors wash over us.
For over an hour, we were immersed in Van Gogh’s work, the history of his life, and his struggles and triumphs as a creator. Even though I knew quite a bit about the artist and his iconic work before yesterday, being in that space yesterday gave me an entirely new appreciation of both.
The Power of Immersion
I filled every well of inspiration inside my soul that had been long depleted through isolation and nonstop creative work. I felt like a honeybee, flying from one gorgeous flower to another, taking in the nectar of rejuvenation and collecting idea pollen.
I left refreshed, fully, and truly moved.
As I drove back home, I relived the experience in my mind and considered the power of immersion.
It’s one thing to walk through a gallery or an exhibition and take in art displayed on a wall. It’s quite another to actually sit inside the work and be entirely consumed by it. To be lifted up and out of your body and your mind, leaving one’s raw, exposed, five senses to float inside artistic genius.
Freely let one’s emotions rise up, up like Van Gogh’s enormous sunflowers on the walls of the room’s canvas.
Staying on the Edge
The power of being all in, whether inside the works of art made by another or inside one’s own experience of life and creativity, is undeniable. Transformational. Why is it then that our tendency is to stay on the edges of things, resisting total surrender?
Why do we hold ourselves back or never get around to getting to the root of why we do?
We’ve all had the delicious experience of being lost in an activity that transports us to the world of flow and ease. Of doing work that is almost too hard for us to do, keeping us balanced on our personal margins of what we think is possible.
We know how giving everything we have to birthing something new fills us with an electric experience of being. In those moments, we scootch right up to the divine and share an energetic exchange.
Go All In with Possibility
My own resistance is born out of fear. Fear of not knowing how to approach the work. Fear that the idea is not good enough. Fear that I won’t have the talent or skill I need. Fear that the work will fall flat. Fear that I simply won’t be able to pull it off.
It is when I am willing to stave off fear, minute by minute, and replace it with open curiosity, that I can let go and go all in. I’m not gifted with endless hours of this courage, and it is a resource I have to renew each day.
But if I manage enough forward momentum to slide open the sash of creativity’s window, I can step inside. Fall into a world of dazzling color. Let myself be on a mystical ride and just allow the work to take me where it wants to go.
I know my time in the portal of making something is short, maybe two or three hours each day. That the hourglass sand pours through the neck of my courage the minute I arrive. I know I can return the next day, turn the hourglass over, and travel to total immersion once more.
What part of your life or work is asking for you to go all in? Where are you clinging to the safety of the outside edge? Can you spot it?
See if you can fall more in love with possibility than fear of judgment. Get a running start by gifting yourself lots and lots of restorative sleep. Take yourself on a joy ride to do something fun. And then, walk over to your window.
Let yourself down into the world of your own imagination and surface the art of you.