Compassion seems so easy, except if it’s about compassion towards myself. Last week I was invited as panelist to goNORTH, an art conference/festival in Inverness in Scotland. My mind was full with all kind of duties and tasks. And I can go quite harsh on myself when I haven’t finished them all at once!
It’s not the duties and tasks themselves that form a block to creativity, it’s how you deal with them. If you feel the need of more structure and control, even creativity or joy can become a task. Than you know that you’ve gone too far and that it’s time to be more compassionate to yourself, to take it easy. Being an artist is not about control, it’s about passion, enthusiasm and joy. The need for structure and control often reflect your own fear. Compassion also makes it easier to face your inner fears.
There are some common fears that artists have to face at some point in their career, like:
– Disapproval from parents: they often see artistic behavior as a form of rebellion and are afraid that you will turn against them when you become an artist.
– Rejection by friends: they might not understand what it is to be an artist, they might see your enthusiasm as obsession.
– Visibility: as artist you become visible, you can’t hide anymore behind the facade of the likable suffering artist.
– Responsibility: everything is up to you, it’s your own creation, you can’t blame others anymore.
– Perfectionism: all imperfections in your art are visible too now.
Overpowered by one of these fears, we often reject opportunities that cross our path. You might have been invited to this great showcase event; troubled by doubt you didn’t work on getting the subsidies to make it happen. Or you turned down the request of an experienced singer-songwriter to join him as support on a tour, fearing that the audience would compare you to him. Every lost opportunity can be bend into a U-turn by getting back to your art, by compassionately starting again. Let me assure you that every famous artists is familiar with those U-turns. Don’t be too harsh on yourself; be compassionate and get back on the track.
In Inverness I took a walk along the Ness, see picture. It reminded me how helpful nature can be in feeling compassion. You can try it too. Just take the time and walk for 30 minutes. I’m surprised every time again that during a walk, preferably in the woods, everything starts to fall into place again 🙂