“To rebel is to truly own your own self.” ~ Dhani Harrison
“Where did I find the courage to rebel, change my life, live alone?
I don’t want to over-estimate all this, but damn it, I love
that nine-year-old, whoever in hell he was. Without him,
I could not have survived….” ~ Ray Bradbury
When Ray Bradbury was in the fourth grade, Buck Rogers comics came into his life. As he says in his book, Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You, it was instant love. He was obsessed, captivated.
Shortly thereafter, his friends began to make fun of him and criticize his passion—so much so, he ended up tearing up his comics and abandoning them.
For one, long month, Bradbury walked around in a stupor, completely empty and sad. When he burst into tears, wondering what had happened to him, Bradbury knew in an instant that, for him, life without Buck Rogers wasn’t worth living.
He brought the comics back, and he deemed his “friends” to be enemies. In so doing, Bradbury rescued not only the presence of crucial, creative mulch in his life that ultimately gave birth to countless works of fiction, he protected his Joy Source.
Many years later, he would marvel at his capacity at such a young age to rebel against social pressures.
For every Bradbury standing in defiance of what he loves, there are millions upon millions of souls gone early to their graves, having bowed to peer and/or parental pressure.
Are you one of those souls?
Before you are quick to dust off such a notion, think back to all the things you did as a child or young adult that brought you Joy. (I know from experience that it is easy for us to gloss right over the insidious ways we stomped out the existence of our Joy Sources.)
Was there something you used to love doing that is no longer a part of your life? Was there a hobby, a passion, a burning interest that got pushed aside when others in your life or you deemed it to be a frivolous pursuit?
Let’s turn the clock back and capture any Joy Sources that may have been (consciously or unconsciously) cruelly quashed.
Design Matters with Debbie Millman: Lynda Barry
Take out a sheet of paper, or grab your journal. At the top of the page, write My Play History.
Think back on your top 5 most fun, exhilarating, and joyful experiences of your entire life. These were times you felt completely in flow, happy, fulfilled, connected, resonant, light in your body, and in your zone of ease. Write two paragraphs on each instance, capturing quickly the essence of what you were doing.
When you are finished, go back and circle all the verbs in each story. Make a list of all the verbs.
When I did this exercise 30 years ago, my verb list looked like this:
Over and over and over again, the same verbs appeared throughout each of my play history stories. I get chills today as I review this list, knowing these are still among my most prized Joy Sources.
What insights can you glean from your list? What do you think your play history is telling you?
Is there something you parted with as a bow to peer and/or parental pressure? Is there something you stopped doing that sent a near fatal wound to your Muse…to your Joy?
If so, it is time to ignite your inner rebel and stand up for yourself.
Reclaim your Joy Source(s). Renounce anything and anyone who keeps you from what you love. Step back into Flow.
Plant a flag. Take a stand. Call yourself back to yourself and come home to your birthright: the headwaters of your happiness and creativity.