Ripple effects

A recent event triggered some shame in me. It was annoying. Bad feeling. Disrupting. Painful. Old. And I was dismayed to find that I went to patterns I thought I had retired - of feeling disembodied, which then caused me to have a terrible time practicing at the piano.

We all have shame. It is a condition of being human.

Brene Brown defines shame as believing I am bad, as opposed to guilt, which is I did something bad.

Even though this particular event had nothing to do with music, when I sat at the piano, I felt hurried, distracted, anxious, frustrated that nothing felt or sounded good. I turned tighter and tighter as I tried harder and harder to force things back on track.

The next morning my husband took my one year old for a walk and I had some time to myself. I poured out all my frustration about the shame trigger into my journal. Lots of swear words, lots of scribbling, lots of chaos.

And then I sat back down at the piano. Ahhh, better. Space to breathe, space to move, space to make mistakes. Not perfect, not totally resolved, but better.

Then I repeated the process the next day. And the next day. And probably will again in the near future.

My contention is this – doing the Inner Work helps us do our Artist Work better. Things in our life ripple into our artistry. Our artistry ripples out into our lives. Listening to the concerns of the various voices in our heads, giving air and space to the bad feelings, gives us more room to show up with our best self to our art.

I know this is contrary to much advice out there - think positive, choose better thoughts, just take action. As if we could simply control our thinking and then our life would be all better. Heck, I've even given similar advice on this blog in the past! 

But just like trying to ignore a crying child, ignoring the distasteful voices in our head doesn't make them disappear. Just like a needy child, what those voices need is some love and attention. After love and attention, then they can settle back down. Allowing better parts of you to step forward and take action where action is needed. 

Give it a try. Here are some journaling prompts (or you can talk to yourself, or to your recorder on your phone, or to a person, or just mull these questions):

Today I feel really frustrated about……
Lately, I’ve been feeling like this in my body……
My inner voices have arguments about…..
What I'm concerned about at this moment is.....
One small, simple, actionable step I can take to address these concerns is.....

See how you feel after getting in touch with the reality of your emotions. When you listen to what's really going on in your head and body, how do you feel? Does it make work, or creative efforts, or practicing, easier? Or perhaps harder? 

With love and appreciation for reading,