I recently found myself starting to write songs. Or, should I say, some songs recently wrote themselves. I fell in love with some chords and let the words come.
Follow the juice.
Outsmart yourself by following the fun.
And then? Well, then I wanted to share them. How revealing is that? How tortuous for the ego? Not just the fact that my voice is still finding itself and goes thin and cracks when I sing 'in front of people', but now the song itself has come from me. Could anything BE more revealing, more terrifying?
But the desire to share what had appeared was even stronger than the shrieking ego. Luckily for me, I've begun to understand the difference between playing for a random audience, and being witnessed by Authentic Artist participants, who have all been introduced to the idea of receiving what you offer without feeling they're expected to say something encouraging or make a judgement.
I had two opportunities to do it this week. And I noticed something interesting. That after I'd sung the song, and it had been received, everything went calm and peaceful. There was nothing. Like, nothing. Whatever it is that the ego so fears and dreads about the very idea of exposing itself, of being unprotected 'in front of' others, is a chimera, a puff of hot air.
You sing the song. Your voice shakes, it isn't perfect. No-one laughs, no-one says, how brilliant you are. It all just is. In its right place in the world. Received, shared, heard. End of. So different from what we've all been brought up to associate this kind of thing with - Is it good? Do a number of people agree that it's good? Will you be recognised, celebrated, will you make money from it? Even if you are going for the recognition thing, the truth is that some people will like it, and some people won't. Your responsibility is to let it come, and then share it. The end.
It seems that the more I share what comes, the freer I become. When I'm locked up in my head, keeping it all to myself out of fear and hesitancy and self-consciousness, sharing it seems like unimaginable exposure - a source of potential danger to the fragile ego. I feel as if my whole self, my integral being, my sense of wholeness, is under threat at the very idea of sharing what's come through. But when I actually do it, in a sense, nothing happens. And then I think, oh, if that's all it is, well, I can do some more, and do it without fear.
When I'm all tangled up in emotions created by unexamined demons running riot in my subconscious, I'm unable to perceive the reality of the situation, which is that it's not any kind of deal at all, let alone a big one.
The world is, in fact, entirely neutral. The clouds are not concerned about my petty, inward-turning fears. The rain falls, regardless, and will return my precious painting to the earth within minutes of my laying it on the ground.
Locked up in my internal vacuum, I've somehow learnt to believe that the only thing that will validate my creative courage is applause. But that doesn't seem to be how it works out. Even if I get the odd pat on the back, the world is largely indifferent to me, and to my endeavours. The only applause I truly need is applause from myself. Not for being special or clever or different, but for having the courage to continue making the work, regardless of what comes out, regardless of whether or not it gets attention.
The conversation is between me and the universe, not me and an imaginary audience.