“Sometimes it’s necessary to discover ourselves before we are able to see the rest of the world undistorted.”
- David S. Viscott, M.D., author of Feel Free
I got this book for $2 at a random stoop sale years ago. I liked the retro vibe of it and the phrase “Feel Free” felt like something I needed to see more of.
But it was one of those that sat on my bookshelf for years without being opened….
...Until a few weeks ago.
I noticed the subtitle: “How to Do Everything You Want Without Feeling Guilty.”
Boom. Was this book reading my mind?
If you’re reading this blog, chances are it might be reading your mind, too.
If you are a creative type, at some point in your life you’ve probably felt guilt for pursuing something you wanted to do.
Cue the whispering voices in your head:
Are you really going to spend your time painting when there are children starving in Africa?
Your parents worked so hard to make a decent living in this country, and so you better not go to art school and throw it all away!
You shouldn’t move to Hollywood because too many people rely on you in your hometown. And plus, it’s really hard to make it out there.
Layer. On. The. Guilt.
Sometimes guilt is internally created, sometimes it’s projected from people around us.
Guilt is a deep and twisted subject matter, and I’m not trying to solve it all right here in this blog post, but I am encouraging you to think about the places in your life where guilt is lurking and start to untangle it.
Because it’s one of those things that’s just blocking up your creative channel, preventing you from doing things that could free you up to actually make a difference in the world.
So if you’re feeling guilty for doing something you want to do, here are some questions to ask yourself:
What purpose is the guilt serving? Is it holding you back from doing something you actually want to do? Is it protecting you from hurting someone or being hurt by others?
What could be the worst that would happen? If you actually did the thing you want to do, in spite of the guilt? Are we talking lives at stake here or just some angry folks shaking their heads silently?
What could be the best that would happen? What would shift in your life/career/relationships/creativity if you took the leap and did this thing? Does it out-weigh the guilt?
Do some writing on these questions and see what comes out.
It might lead you to a very necessary conversation that’s been needing to be had, or maybe it will give you the clarity you need to take some step in the direction of your desires.
If at any point in the process you’re feeling stuck or need a boost, listen to this playlist and dance it out: Feel Free
Above all, get out of your head and make something.
The ability of the creative process to mirror and help work through the deeper issues of life is so incredibly amazing to me. One dance, one photograph, one essay, one song…. each has the ability to heal, transform, release, and clarify.
What will you make of it?
Please take a moment to out yourself with your guilt in the comment box below.
Airing your thoughts is another powerful way to move the icky stuff through you.
on the train to guilt-free land,
p.s. next week I’ll be sharing more about something special I’m in the process of making, but in the meantime, I thought this video would make you laugh. I made it with my younger cousins last week, and it not-coincidentally fits into the theme of the day: