How Self Can Get In The Way of Being Creative

What would they think?  What would my family think if I wrote about the darkness in my heart.  About how I glanced down that cliff a couple weeks ago, and for a moment pictured myself falling down it.  Wouldn’t it be easier for life to end, than live with this pain?

What would they think if I could get the stories out of my head and onto paper?  If I could express the utter loneliness and confusion I feel.  If I could share how distraught my soul feels.  If I described how distant I feel from life right now, and how I look forward to it ending.

In the Thomas Moore classic, Care of the Soul, he describes the state of an artist who is too focused on self.

Her “self” got in the way.  She wasn’t attached to her work because of her overriding concern with her image.  I suspect that if she had an image of herself as an artist, and loved it, she would be able to forget about her inferior feelings about herself and concentrate on her work. Her focus on self, or narcissism, prevents her from making herself available for attachment.  (p 72)

I don’t write the stories I want to because I am in the way.  Perhaps I am afraid someone I know will read them, and am concerned that will hurt my image.  Perhaps I have an unhealthy self focus that is preventing me from attaching to my work, and seeing myself as an artist.  Perhaps I won’t take my focus off myself long enough to create something for others.

I have blamed my inability to achieve goals on where I live, the people in my life, and a perceived lack of opportunity, but perhaps the person to blame is looking at me in the mirror.  Perhaps the greatest obstacle to being creative is us.

If that is the case then there is hope.  There needs to be a shift off of self and onto our art.  We need to become attached to it.  We will become vulnerable to it, but that’s okay.  It is then we will produce something meaningful, and will enrich the lives of others.  Instead of taking we will give.  Our art will attach itself to us, and in turn we will connect with others.

Focusing on my image I might say, “I am Marcy and I write”.  Focusing on myself as an artist I would say,  “I am a writer, and my works displays a part of my soul.  No matter how dark and scary that is.  It is what I was made to do.”

If self is the only thing keeping us from seeing ourselves as artists, and from creating, then let’s get to work shifting our focus, and impact the world with ideas, art and creativity.

Marcy Pedersen


Leave a Reply