Creating and Releasing v. Perfectionism

Release AT Spruce Painting the A.T. with Love

As the first mural comes to a close, I’m focusing on releasing.

Releasing your work into the world as an artist, a craftsman, a maker of any kind can be a thrilling experience. Lately I’ve been holding on so tightly that it feels both scary and relieving to finally release this baby into the world. Elizabeth Gilbert, writer of Big Magic–a book about harnessing creativity which I enthusiastically recommend!!–cautions against thinking of your works as children. Yet it’s such a challenge to do anything but. They are children of your soul! The spontaneous results of your heart and hands making love with the ideas and energy that inspire you. I suggest that they are your children, but that we take a different approach to parenting. a more Montessori style: we must let them choose their own names and their own ways and release, release, release, not hover, so that they can make their full appearance and take on lives of their own. They have no choice but to flow out into and mingle with the world, inspiring others in the same creative spirit from which they were born!

In my young adulthood I really struggled with perfectionism. Life seemed so big and full of wondrous spontaneous possibilities but it was so big that when I let total spontaneity run wild I often made messes; as my actions (and messes) grew, I was reprimanded pretty harshly for the consequences of my actions. I was a daydreamer and a “space cadet” and often felt out of control (at least I kept getting that message from adults). I began regimenting myself, playing small. I wanted to be perfect, and stop making so many wild and messy mistakes. I can feel the old stomach re-tightening now as I put myself back in that old head- and body-space to write this. Art became one of the few times I could l really let loose and be myself, especially when I was all alone, and explore the contours and shapes and shadows of the world around me and my own internal one.

I feel so much compassion for this old me as I write this. Now I can see that all my perfectionistic habits were just my way of trying to make others happy—or trying to anger them less. I am so grateful that I am now cultivating the tools to let things flow, flow, flow, and build my own containers in which to do so, and by being my wild self, inspire others and make them happy. So it is with this energy that I present to the world—and the hiking community, and to this hostel—my first mural: not holding on, ready to release to make room for more work to come.

<3, LaMB <3 P.S. Stay tuned for more regular blog posts on my creative journey!

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