Copyright (c) 2009 Valery Satterwhite
In my conversations with artists, actors, writers, singers and musicians I’ve noticed a pattern of three ‘sinkholes’ that suck the creative energy right out of a person. There are various nuances and sub-categories within the top three but for the sake of brevity I’ve sorted the big energy drainers into the following three funnels:
1. Living a Conditioned, Nurtured Life
“Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.” – Albert Camus
Wherever you struggle in life; in your career, your finances, or in your personal and professional relationships is where you are living through your nurture instead of your true nature. Dr. Jekyll (of Jekyll and Hyde fame) said, “you drink a few glasses of whiskey, and see if your behavior doesn’t change”. While this is a slight hyperbole, I think it makes the point rather well. The whiskey you’ve been drinking, is the should-do, should-be and supposed to beliefs and choices you have consumed throughout your life.
Your nature is your natural traits, temperaments, preferences and talents that you were born with. Your nurture is based on what you’ve been exposed to and something that shapes who you choose to become, often unconsciously. You’ve shaped yourself so much to adapt to what you think you should be and how you are supposed to act that you’ve forgotten or push aside who you really are.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet … of quiet desperation, and go the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau
Living through your Nurture is exhausting! Living inauthentically takes a lot of extra work. You can get really good at living your should-be/should-do life and become a great success. However, that life will leave you tired and unfulfilled. You will feel like something is missing or hold thoughts of still not knowing who you want to be when you ‘grow up’.
Living through your Nature, living authentically, is exhilarating! Your work energizes you rather than depletes you. You are often ‘in the zone’ present, willing and available for whatever comes next. The day flies by as you have little sense of time.
While it’s true that you will have to do things even in an authentic life that are not your nature. However your approach to do such ‘unnatural’ things will be from a position of authenticity.
2. Fear of Greatness
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson
Fear of greatness, fear of success is most often misnamed as a fear of failure. Your innermost self simply will not allow you to completely think that you are the mediocre or inept talent that your Inner Critic says you are. This higher self, soul or what I playfully call the Wizard Within knows you are born with the power and talent to achieve greatness. Greatness comes with vast responsibility. What if you couldn’t handle all of that responsibility? Your life would completely change and some of that change is frightening. You may have to make public appearances, you may no longer have time to spend with your loved ones, or be pressured to stay upon the mantle of greatness by delivering even more greatness. For many, a position of greatness is akin to living a nightmare. It is impossible to generate energy to create what you believe to be a frightening existence.
3. Tolerations – avoidance
“Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.” – C.S. Lewis
To tolerate is to put up with something or somebody unpleasant. Tolerations are events, people, situations you put up with that drain your energy, that keep you from living authentically and enjoying life to the fullest. Your tolerations distract you from engaging in what you love to do. Tolerations can be found in any area of life; your office or studio, relationships, the tools you use, your appearance, your finances or lack thereof and state of being. In a nutshell, tolerations are things or experiences that you have in your life that you do not want. Tolerations are life clutter. To diminish the tolerations that drain your creative energy flow you have to feng shui your life.
Clean up your clutter; literally and metaphorically. Construct free and easy energy flow passages. Begin by cleaning up the physical clutter in your life such as in your workspace and home. Then move on to cleaning up the clutter in your financial circumstances and then clean up the clutter in your professional and personal relationships. Get rid of what is no longer wanted or transform what you want to keep, say a relationship with a family member that is now ‘messy’. Let go of whatever is messing up the relationship, perhaps an expectation of some sort, and find common ground to change the energy you have around your relationship with that family member.
As you go through your days pay attention to what drains your energy. Where you are inauthentic, express authentically. Where you hold yourself back, take one step forward. Where you tolerate, clean up the clutter by throwing out, completing or changing the energy around the relationship you have with the item or person.
“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” – Anais Nin