Category Archives: Creativity and Goal Setting

The Myth of Perfection: Learning the Art of Risk & Surrender

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash.

Art and creativity are fascinating enigmas. An artist strives to create something beautiful (or sometimes ugly), or meaningful, or touching, or layered, or shallow, or simple, or complex, or elegant, or chaotic, or critical, or maybe even (somehow) all of the above. But what happens when the end result is received in a way that doesn’t match up with the artist’s intention?

Art is, essentially, a form of communication. It is the artist’s expression of some thought or message, whether simple or complex, in physical form— even if that physical form is temporary, such as is the case in theatre or performance art. (Then again, even a painting or sculpture is, ultimately, temporary.) However, because communication via art is indirect and therefore has an inherent abstractness woven into it, there is a non-zero chance that the artist’s message will not be fully understood, or misunderstood, or even missed entirely.

This is the risk of all art, taken by all artists. We cannot control how our art will be perceived by others. Through art, there is no guarantee of perfect communication, and therefore risk is an innate element of all artistic expression.

This element of risk might give some people the message that perhaps it’s better to give up before even starting, since there’s no guarantee that “success” can be achieved.

But ah… guaranteed success is not the pure purpose behind art. Is it? (If it is for you, I might suggest you re-examine your inner “why” which drives you to create.)

I believe art exists for its own sake, and we can benefit from it in a multitude of ways, independent from the successful (or even unsuccessful) communication of the artist’s intended message upon the receiver/viewer/audience.

Art can open a dialogue between people or communities with opposing views. Art can inspire. Art can teach. Art can cause introspection and searching. Art may cause us to rise up and take action. Art may leave us in awe. Art may move us to laughter or tears. Art is sometimes emotional and cathartic. Art is sometimes mental and intellectual. It can be philosophical or it can be whimsical. It can be humorous or serious.

The potential of creativity and art is limitless.

There are so many overlapping themes between humanity and art, is it really such a far stretch to propose that humanity IS a work of art? Perhaps art and artistic expression is inherently an extension of our own humanity.

Working on one’s artistic or creative side is, therefore, very much akin to working on the development of one’s own person (i.e. personal development), and in turn, a piece of the puzzle of working on the betterment of humanity as a whole. In other words…

Being an artist has a noble, greater purpose beyond the myopic self. Artists help sculpt humanity’s present and future.

Not that’s certainly an inspiring reason to create! 😉 <3

~~~

Because of the inherent nature of art’s relationship to risk, a good artist must ultimately learn the art of surrender.

…Surrender to the unknown, to the uncontrollable, and to the subjective world of experience and interpretation.

Learning to surrender, in both art and life, is something I’ve been working in and on myself.

One thing that has often held me back from diving deep into creative expression is tied to the element of control and the desire for perfection. I’ve learned that perfection, when it comes to art, is an illusion, and therefore I must surrender to that imperfection which exists in its place.

Done is better than perfect.

Create with love. …And let it go, with love.

Reflecting on the nature of and desire for perfection, perhaps it might even be rooted in a desire to evade criticism, judgement, or being misunderstood. If we create something perfect, we will (theoretically) be free from potential negative criticism and feedback, and we will be completely — perfectly — understood. After all, isn’t that something which all humans desire at our core: to be loved and understood?

But since perfection is essentially a myth in this subjective universe of art and creative expression, seeking perfect expression is a fruitless, impossible goal. I say this not to dissuade you or anyone from doing your best, but rather to free you from holding yourself to impossible and unrealistic expectations.

For example, I know this blog post is rather imperfect… perhaps it is overly verbose or rambling or meandering. It could probably use a bit more focus and structure.  But hey, it’s published! It exists in the world. And an imperfect something is better than a would-be perfect some-day maybe which never ends up seeing the light of day.

Embrace imperfection. Embrace your self. (Because yes, we are all perfectly imperfect.)

Embrace who you are today and share your unique perspective with this world, imperfections and all.

You are a unique work of art.

There will never be anyone else like you.

And, especially:

All things, your self and your art included, are inherently temporary in this medium of space-time reality.

…So, good or bad, who cares what the critics think? It’s all subjective and temporary anyway. 😉

xox

<3

Clearing Clutter and Blocked Energy for Ideal Creative Flow

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

One of the biggest setbacks to pursuing your creative dreams and challenges usually involves blocked energy from clutter of some sort or another. This clutter is usually in the form of mental clutter or physical cutter.

Examples of physical clutter could include a messy home, unorganized closets and drawers, piled up dirty laundry or dishes (or even clean laundry or dishes that you haven’t put away), etc.

Examples of mental clutter could involve negative mindsets, beliefs that disempower you, fears of some sort or another (the “fear” scale is great, but even a mild fear such as a worry can harm one’s creative flow), or some tedious mental task you’ve put off for a long time, such as doing your taxes.

Slowly but surely, I’ve been working on clearing the various types of clutter in my life so that I can create a brilliant clean slate for upcoming creative challenges.

[As a side note, I’d like to point out that one need not address and clear all forms of clutter before taking on a creative challenge. Sometimes the chaos of clutter can even prove to act as some kind of creative catalyst or stimuli. More often than not, however, I’d say that clutter acts to block creative flow, so it’s a better idea to clear — and keep clear — as much clutter as you can.]

One of the huge mental clutter blocks I’ve been carrying around with me for a long time is the task of catching up on my taxes. I put off doing it for many (many) years. I found the task daunting because it involved doing them in a way I had never done before (claiming various business/professional costs for contract work, for example), and I had let that one initial year pile up many succeeding years… and on top of that, moving apartments/houses a number of times and traveling a lot also put a big slow-down on this task. With each passing year, it simply got more and more daunting.

Finally… FINALLY, I am all caught up on processing all of my overdue taxes.

(I still have yet to submit taxes for last year, but they aren’t even accepting returns yet for last year until later this month!) It’s a huge creative-energy blocker that’s finally off of my shoulders and mind. WooHoo!!!

Other things I’ve been working on are maintaining positive habits such as making the bed as soon as I get up. It’s kind of amazing how this little action can help make my mind feel so much more disciplined and creative throughout the rest of the day.

I’m usually pretty on top of dishes, but have been making even more of a concerted effort to keep the clutter low in this area.

I still have yet to declutter my email inbox (I’m signed up to WAY too many mailing lists), and I’ve been meaning to attend to some mending for some time too. These tasks are definitely important, but attending to them doesn’t feel quite as important as finally clearing away that energy-block that consisted of my overdue tax returns.

I’m really excited to get back on track to diving deep into some kick-ass creative projects this year! 🙂

One type of clutter that I’d like to clear away is of a mental nature, and it involves various kinds of fears, anxieties or worries that I feel have been holding me back in some way.

As such, I want to use this blog to air some of this type of clutter. I’m pretty sure that doing so will help me to clear up even more blocked creative energy.

Expect a few very vulnerable subsequent posts as I write with the intent of clearing my mental blocks and paving the way for awesome, powerful creative flow.

Namaste, my friends.

<3