You know those moments when you’re working on something and you think… “Ugh. This is going nowhere.” Or, “Why did I do that?” Or. “What on earth was I thinking by doing it that way?”
Well, I hit one of those yesterday.
I knew in my head how I wanted it to look. But, the outcome… well, let’s just say I struggled to get anywhere near what I envisioned with what appeared.
I also know… seeking perfection is the path to frustration. It can also lead to a whole bunch of negative self-talk and doubt.
And staying in my head… well that’s the road to perdition.
Because, in my head, it’s easy to get caught up in the “What is wrong with you/Can’t you do anything right?” game the critter loves to play with my creative expression when I am stuck or over-thinking or feeling frustrated by a new technique I’m playing with — and taking my play way too seriously.
Which is why I am choosing to share this piece even though I struggle to accept its imperfections.
Like it says, I gotta dare to walk on the wild side and let imperfection be a reflection of what my heart is yearning to express.
It’s not about the art. It’s about the process. And the process for this piece incorporates a new-to-me element — using stencils, rice paper and soft pastels together.
I love how it works and looks — I just don’t love how I judge myself so harshly when learning something new!
In that space, I forget all about being loving and gentle with myself as I slip effortlessly into a river of self-condemnation and doubt.
Swimming in that river is not good for my mental health. It dams up my fearlessness, leaving me swimming upstream against the natural flow of creativity as the critter exhorts me to ‘get it right… the first time!
It also makes me want to quit.
I am writing this out because in writing it out, I find myself once again doing what Benjamin Zander suggests in his brilliant TedTalk – The Transformative Power of Classical Music when I come up against my oh so human traits of thinking I need to be perfect when I do something new…
I throw my hands up in the air, shake my head and exclaim, “Aren’t I fascinating!”
And then… I take a walk on the wild side where the beauty of imperfection is a wide open field of possibility, stunning in its capacity to open me up, heart, mind, soul and body to the wondrous nature of life lived wild and free.