“Say who you are, really say it in your life and in your work.” ~ Charlie Kaufman
What is the single biggest obstacle in the way of your success and/or personal happiness?
I asked my audience and the prevailing themes were vulnerability, having the courage to be our true selves, and prying off the sticky expectations of others.
That really got me thinking. And writing.
I have begun experimenting with an entirely new mindset when I am up to my knees in a creative project. Rather than sit in the dark with my hands ready to cover my eyes when the scary stuff shows up, I walk right toward it.
Yes, I know it is going to hurt. The work will be hard. But I also know the best part of me will show up as a result. The most layered and creative version of me will crawl from her shell with claws at the ready.
We’ve got to hack our way through, while simultaneously forging the machete that is needed for the job. The tool we need will reveal itself to us. We have to let ourselves not know throughout the entire process, because that’s how the magic shows up.
Welcome to the Jungle
The troubles we encounter along the way make our work, us, better. Note: This is not my favorite thing! No matter how many times I have walked into the unknown, I still want to try to control how things will go.
The only way out is through surrendering and doing the work. This is our own personal jungle, and no one else can clear the way.
The fear of the unknown may very well be a well-disguised version of the fear of being who we truly are. It may be easier, although a slow death, for us to not boldly be ourselves. Not show what we see. Not reveal our vision of the world and her inhabitants and reflect that back in our art.
It is easier, then, to continue the stall. Water down the expressive parts of us. Not ruffle feathers. If we don’t move, there won’t be any ripples in the water. If we don’t breathe, maybe no one will even know we are here.
Show up anyway. Move and breathe and create.
Say Who You Are
Again, it is going to be hard. Harder than we ever imagined. The challenge is the fire that takes the glass of us and shapes us into a new form with dazzling colors. The choice, then, is to show all of our shades and facets or die on the vine to keep ourselves and others comfortable.
Let’s say who we are and mean it.
Pray for perseverance and the ability to exhale deeply and dive in, not some kind of mythical gifts or talents. Those will arrive in the doing, during our time in the fire. The flames will take us further forward in our provenance of becoming where we will find at last the freedom and enduring impact we seek.