Sometimes, I am drawn to drawing, welcomed to writing. It's as if I can't help it — I am being called to get that stuff out that's in me, or coming through me.
This feels like inspiration.
Other times, I'm facing creative expression like it's a must. It's my duty. I HAVE to do it because I made a pact with myself. Or else!
This feels like discipline.
There's a part of me that really doesn't like discipline. Like the cruel whip that drives the horse, or the stern policeman writing me a speeding ticket for going 5mph over the limit.
Discipline tickles my inner revolutionary — the one who has a hard time with authority figures...
No! I won't do it! You can't make me!
With discipline, I feel pushed. There's a boundary and I am told to color within the lines. And I only know the feel of discipline because the boundary pushes against something… me! And when I feel pushed, I push back. Seems like a waste of energy, huh? Two forces pushing when they could be going with the flow.
On the other hand, when I connect to a vision I have about who I am becoming, like an affirmation I have that says, "I am a prosperous artist," there's something I am stepping into willingly. Like a magnetic resonance that attracts my spirit. My curiosity is piqued. I'm walking on a staircase of sunshine, a magic carpet ride that's cheering me on…
"Let it out… whatever it is… Express!"
"If you build it, they will come…"
"There's a sale at Penney's…"
Okay, so sometimes the inspiration doesn't make sense when translated. And really it doesn't always come so directly in words for me. More often it's a gut feeling. An instinctual response to an energy stirring in my body, often around my belly or my heart.
A client of mine the other day mentioned that the root of discipline is disciple. After I told him to never speak out of turn again, I realized how brilliant and helpful an insight this was for me.
I've been a pacifist all my life and yet, I was always looking for an internal battle. I kept relating to discipline as a responsibility imposed by an unempathetic other -- outside and, as I recently realize, inside me as well. If I were a disciple of my creative practice, not a figure of some sort, how would that affect my feeling about stepping in on days when I did not feel particularly inspired?
I suppose it's like a yoga practice, a showering practice, or even an eating breakfast practice… some days it feels like this and other days it feels like that… and yet, everyday I engage in the practices. Not to gain a feeling from them, but as a measure, a barometer of what's true for me at that moment.
Thus the value of a ritual — as long as it's the same set of actions, whatever flavor I feel like that day can stand out, rather than attributing the experience of something unusual to my environment or circumstances. As a disciple of creativity, maybe the practice is in part to witness that there is a disciplinarian in me. Whether or not I'm engaged in the practice, he's there.
It is when I engage that I have a context in which to know that part of myself. To hear the familiar ways in which that part expresses so that I can accept his presence.
Acceptance -- yes, I'm working on that one.
I didn't used to understand that I do have distinct parts of myself, like an authority figure. For so long, I've been rebelling against all the authority figures seemingly outside of me.
Sheesh… it's humbling.
I've wanted to only be inspired, dancing on light, living in harmony with the animals,… and while that's awesome and beautiful, I'm human and feel a need to acknowledge the parts that don't always feel spiritual.
"Get back to work!"
Yeah, that one. Deep down, I know he's part of my spirit too or else he couldn't be here. Bless you, discipline — you impish lesson-giver!
So how do you relate to inspiration and discipline? Do they have a similar flavor to you or a different one? Do you use other words to more accurately describe your varied creative experience? Is it even varied?
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