I admit it as a creative soul, as a writer I’m quite the escape artist and there are many forms of avoidance. A glass of red wine or two. A mind-numbing videogame on my cell phone. Even a good book.
We all dodge responsibilities, work, friends. Especially those of us who binge on Netflix television shows.
I’ve been guilty of escaping, or at least wanting to. It’s hard to be present and in the moment, when your mind and body want to forget. A part of the creative process is knowing not only when to walk through personal pain, but learning how to apply it to your art. If we’re lucky, we can see tragedy as a useful tool to learn from.
Some of us don’t want to feel because pain is uncomfortable. Some of us have bought into the belief that being in a perpetually happy state is the most optimal way to live. Some of us expect more than what others are capable of giving. Some of us demand too much from ourselves, only to be inevitably disappointed when we don’t meet our own personal goals.
So, we escape. We numb. And there are many ways to tune the world out.
What we can’t escape from is our inner world.
In practicing sober-mindedness, I’ve learned an important lesson that life is as enjoyable without being overly stimulated. I’ve learned that I can’t fix what’s inside with something that’s on the outside. I’ve learned that when I’m mentally taxed, it’s hard to be creatively inspired.
I’ve also learned that it’s okay to give myself a break.
There are people in our lives who can project their character defects onto us. They might accuse us of being selfish and unsupportive, when they are the ones behaving that way. Sometimes, it’s best to let unhealthy relationships go in order to make room for the relationships that nurture us. Creating a life we don’t have to escape from relies on choosing the right people we want in our lives. It’s also deciding how much energy to waste on negativity.
The Bottom Line:
In order to break the habit of escaping, we must be okay with our world as it is and not what we wished it could be. And if things need to change, we must be willing to make those changes. We must be our own advocates and treat ourselves with loving patience because nothing or no one outside of us can complete our happiness.
Creativity takes energy and time. It requires being present in mind, body, and soul. It requires shutting out personal doubt and channeling painful experiences into our art rather than numbing it away. Empowering your creativity often entails learning how to use your triumphs and your failures, the good times and the bad. After all, some of the best novels, music, paintings, and other forms of artistic expression were birthed by dark moments of the soul. So, smile through the joy and cry through the pain. Feel it. Use it. May your life experiences, especially the tragedies, drive your next work in progress, propel you into the New Year, and give you the best gift this holiday season. It’s a gift that can’t be bought, motivation.