I have been hanging out with my demons lately. I drew the above drawing a week ago. We had a long discussion with the Engineer about the purpose of the Escape Bubble [watching TV incessantly, internet shopping ad infinitum, drinking too much beer, playing patience hour after hour, frantic exercising, the list is long).
Why does it exist? What brings it on? Is it to be resisted, controlled or is it merely a signal of something?
Is it an escape from uncomfortable feelings?
Yes! I did it!
A jump to a new level of freedom tends to flush out all of the Usual Suspects; Shame, Guilt, Perfectionism, Fear, Doubt, Self-loathing, Anxiety, Addictiveness.
I am currently completely free from any kind of day job, only working on projects that involve art, creativity and imagination, only taking on work I love and also having more time to paint than ever. More than I had in art school.
Freedom is scary, because it snaps all ties to the old identity. There are no justifications for existence left. There are no “musts, shoulds or have to’s” to create a safe, predictable misery. Something outside of me, to force me to act, to do something, to get going.
There is just me.
And my shame.
Shame seems to accompany any quest to become visible, any heroic venture to create something from our core. It is an insidious feeling, because it is so darned visceral and uncomfortable. Can you feel the cringe inside? I sure can, just writing about shame, here.
Succeeding can trigger shame
For many many of us creative dreamers, failure is not the most shame-inducing phenomenon. Succeeding is. Reaching another layer of freedom, another level of being who we are in this world, expressing something heartfelt. This can trigger the urge to escape or to do something rational, leave the hand made small life and join the corporate machine.
That is why the demons inside are so important. When they are cradled, listened to, ever so gently moved and accepted, they carry with them whispers from our core. Messages from what wants to be born. Old ties to be released so an empty space can be opened for the new to come in.
It is safe to express who you are
But that is what I like about creating. The question “Why do I have these demons?” becomes less important than “What can I create [with these demons, from the encounter with them, through facing these feelings I’m feeling, just as they are in this moment]?” Instead of sitting back, curling into myself frozen and scared, I have the option to explore, experiment, feel into. This is when everything starts moving.
The thing about them pesky demons is, when we stop running away from them and just sit down, surrender to what is – let go of who we think we should be, what we think we should be feeling – the content of our inner worlds opens up and makes sense.
That is the promise of creating. Nothing can go wrong. It is okay to explore, build, take apart, build again, make mistakes, learn, experience, feel, move, fail, flounder, get lost, listen to impulses, escape and find ourselves again.
So from my heart to yours; your eccentricities, flaws, shadows and your brilliance, excellence and light, together are what make you who you are. Weird. Is what I most love about you. <3