My latest read:
Creativity Unzipped: Why Your Thoughts Matter. Jan Phillips
In the work we create, the stories we tell, there is always the possibility that others will find some meaning they have been seeking, or some thrill of recognition may occur as they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with what we offer.
In “Writing the Personal Essay,” poet Sheila Bender explains, “There are feelings and longings we understand and accept in ourselves only when we recognize them in someone else’s words, words that have never been ours to speak until we saw them written out of someone else’s life.”
Many of us are afraid to share what is deepest and most sacred in our lives. There is a hesitancy to speak first, to risk our private thoughts. So we hold them in, not even consciously, but simply because it’s how we keep our composure. The deep intimacy we crave does not occur by default.
We have to dare to expose ourselves to risk and vulnerability. But the prize is life changing, a total answer to our prayers. Creators in every medium have spoken of this process time and again.
Take for example, what John Ruskin wrote in his introduction to “Eudora Welty Photographs”:
The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, and thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, philosophy, and religion, all in one.
The Hebrew Kabbalah puts it another way. “We receive the light, then we impart it. Thus we repair the world.” And this doesn’t mean feeling an absence of fear, being on fire with inspiration, brimming with cocky confidence.
Georgia O’Keeffe admitted she was “absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.”
In “Bird by Bird,” Anne Lamott counsels, “Even if only the people in your writing group read your memoirs or stories or novel, even if you only wrote your story so that one day your children will know what life was like when you were a child and you knew the name of every dog in town-still, to have written your version is an honorable thing to have done.”
We, as a people, are evolving into a higher level of consciousness. We are seeing the value of what’s within, finding the healing power inside our own stories, just as the Amazonian tribes have found the medicine that lies before them in the leaves and plants of their own RainForest. Each of us contains much of the medicine that will heal us, but unless it is released or expressed, it cannot do its job.