jousting at disbelief

Disbelief. The thing within you that tells you, time and time again, that you can't. That you aren't good enough. That there's no point. That you are too old. That you haven't got what it takes. That having done something well once, points out you can't do it again. That never lets you celebrate your successes for long.  That makes you doubt yourself before you open your mouth to say a word. That robs you of your voice, your own thoughts and your own creativity.

Disbelief made me shy. So shy I actually stammered a reply to harmless natural questions like, 'hey, how was your weekend.'  Stymied by the need to say something while my disbelief shouted 'you're BORING', my eyes looked sideways to the ceiling while my lips said, "f-f-f-f-f-ine" with a tone of voice that probably communicated my acute discomfort and distaste with my own seized up awkwardness and inward pain.

When I sang, my throat was so tight I could barely make a sound.  I wanted desperately to be accepted and liked while desperately wanting to be invisible and not take up space or impact anyone adversely.  I sidestepped life, avoided expressing opinions, learned that my own thoughts or feelings had no value. I listened carefully to others and took my cues from them, sure that if I followed their lead, everyone would be happy with me and I would be okay. I learned that I had very little to offer, and that there was not much point in trying, I'd just waste everyone's time and look like a fool.

All tangled up inside myself, with no clear idea of my Self or my own wishes, I still managed to somehow survive. Looking back I can see glimmers of awakening. I certainly had dreams and sometimes pursued them, but I never seemed to finish anything.

It was the process of learning to sing that helped me really awaken to my own thought process.  I needed to become aware of my thoughts as imaging is a big part of singing. Imagine or think a certain way, and the voice responds. As you realize your thoughts become the intention your body follows in order to do something naturally and well, you begin to see what you're thinking. Journalling also assisted me.  I remember filling up a big 3 Subject notebook within the space of a week or ten days... and then looking at it and seeing how dark my thoughts were.

I discovered the power of the negative messages that took up most of my conscious and unconscious brainpower.

Julia Cameron (The Artist's Way) calls these negative thoughts "blurts". She suggests identifying them, and then framing an affirmation.  When the old disbelief kicks in with the "you're too old and who are you kidding anyway you'll never be good enough" ...I respond with a "I am a young, strong and worthy singer. I have the right to sing."

I learned through the act of singing that I cannot erase doubts or negative thoughts, but I can replace them with more constructive images or ideas.

This journey isn't easy of course.  Awareness comes and goes. Past programming rears its ugly head at moments. Sometimes we are aware, but unable to modify our actions. Sometimes we aren't aware at all until after the event. Sometimes, we are aware and we are able to adjust our thinking midstream.

I learned, in voice, that in order to change something, you first have to become aware of it.  Then you need to commit to persistently recognizing and replacing it with something that works better for you. We call that 'practice' *grins*

Creating inspiration

Oh, look, an empty page. It looks very big. What will I write? I really don't know. My mind is blank. It often feels that way when I decide I should be creative or say something meaningful. Then the pressure is on and the ideas just dry up. At that point I might even contemplate sorting out the sock drawer.

Some people claim they can't do anything unless they feel inspired. That may work for them but I'd be scared I'd only be inspired a couple times a year. I prefer to sit down and look for inspiration by playing. Write a scrap of lyric, doodle with a tune, fiddle with some drum beats...

I come up with a line of lyric and then google rhyming words and toss them around to see what might connect.

If working on an instrumental I might google the topic and read a little, looking for words or phrases that might make an interesting title. I use the title as a motivation to find and mix sounds.

Sometimes I just find a really cool beat and use that as the basis for an entire piece.

I could go on. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to explore creativity and find inspiration. A lot of what I write is grist for the mill and not fit for human consumption, but I write it anyway. Because that experience, that time spent in the flow... will lead me somewhere, in time.

If I am fearful of being flawed, I will never move forward.

Repeat: If I am fearful of being flawed, I will never move forward ;)

Small moments

Those times we give ourselves, when we pay attention to our breathing, our steps, the nature or attraction of things around us, in those quiet moments, our spirit is in the present moment and... this is the gift we want to give ourselves each day... moments of aliveness.