Ego-Honored Creativity

DSC01927Are you feeling alive to new creativity?  Enthused with the new year of new beginnings, opportunities?  Are you gracing yourself with time and opportunity to dabble, create, have fun, try new things?  We are a few weeks into renewed enthusiasm; how is it working for you?

I am hearing from some that they are experiencing a block, their interest is there, their desire is there, and when they sit down to write, draw, create – everything goes blank.  Someone else recently shared that she has this dangling desire but she doesn’t know what to do – she doesn’t know where to begin.  One other person said, (like I deal with so often, as well) that she battles the perfection issue and therefore does nothing.

Oh, blessed ego.  I have no intentions to exposit on ego, to dis it, or to tell you to thwart it, or rid of it.  In fact, I think the opposite is true.  Let me explain.

We know the ego is not the innovator in our lives.  It governs the safe aspects of us.  It needs validation, approval, rightness.  Our ego dares not to be ok, just ok, it wants brilliancy.  So many veins of thought lead us into the practice of getting rid of ego’s power for the good of the commonality of humanity, for the practice of oneness, for the betterment of our souls.  Do you ever find though, that when you move in to “work” on things, or attempt to override the ego, there is more failure sometimes, and a greater ego-battle?

Instead of trying to lessen or get rid of the ego’s influence or domination, maybe we should embrace it.  Move into it, acknowledge its purpose, appreciate how it has helped, protected, kept us safe throughout the years.  In fact, perhaps we should take a different approach with our own self care in acknowledging the ego as brilliant.  Hmmm.  Brilliant.  Yes, brilliant to help with resiliency, management of experiences, (t)raumas in our lives, (T)raumas (if there were those), and relationships.  Our egos protect us from hurtful words, interactions, and patterns.  Our esteem is our management of our self in this world protected by our ego.  Our view of our self-worth or value is not just based on external influences, it is based on our egos protection of our self in relationship.  Protectively we position ourselves better than in some situations, worse than, in others, over powering at times, victim-like at times, but we don’t do that because it is fun, or we have time on our hands.  Our ego brilliantly protects us in relationship to the world.

Homeostasis.  Balance.  Acceptance.  Validation.  Normalization.  No matter what we are experiencing in our lives, these words are the intentions, as is true with creativity, our ego, and its role in protecting us.  So when we look at being free and balanced in our energies, and when we desire to allow our creativity to flow, it is good to bring acceptance and appreciation for the role of protectiveness of the ego so that homeostasis frees up our creativity.

I recently have been working through Julia Cameron’s, Sound of Paper, and in one of her contemplations, she spoke about an “ego-free art” experience.  I dabbled with that in the context of living with acceptance, and thought the way we can move towards an ego-free art experience is to accept the brilliancy of the ego.  When we are able to be ok being ok, then we are able to open up and stand in the power of our creative nature, giving that freedom as well – freedom from judgment, externally or internally, freedom from perfection, freedom from should’s.

I continue to be blessed, mightily by those who live in these freedoms in their writing, creativity, art, journaling, and who model these freedoms by sharing with the world.  If you are being strangled by the need for perfection or the feelings of “I am not an artist”, or “I can’t write”, perhaps you can take something from these thoughts and integrate them into your life . . . and then perhaps you will bless the world with your creativity.  So too, I dabbled in my ego free art zone where I acknowledged the brilliancy of my ego so that I could dare to create . . . and when I dared to create, yes, the ego took some pleasure in the creation when she was invited in – smile.)

(Special thanks to an artist lesson on YouTube of which I integrated their ideas into a project for the sake of learning.)


Enjoy = In-Joy

Are you enjoying you?  Are you enjoying what you are doing?  Are you enjoying life?  The word enjoy means to give joy to; to find pleasure in, and to have use or benefit from/of.  So many of us do things because we think it is expected of us, because “we have to”, because we think it is “all that we know to do” rather than because of enjoyment.

If we are energetic beings, and all our physical, emotional, mental, and interactive energies are always about seeking homeostasis or balance, then when we are doing things out of habit, obligation, duty, fear of change, or because we think it is going to make others happy, than we throw our energies out of balance – causing our system to create counter-balances.  Let me explain with an example.

We get up every day and go to a job that we are burned out in and we dread.  We feel trapped in our circumstances.  We don’t like our boss or we have a co-worker who bothers us.  Our circumstances set off many different “systems” inside: stress increases – hormones imbalance; adrenals, liver, and thyroid overload or shut down; acidity/alkalinity levels imbalance affecting digestion, absorption of nutrients, and elimination; quality nourishment changes because we grab on-the-go foods with little nutritional value; sleep habits get interrupted, emotions vacillate between depression, anger, jealousy, shame, despair; mentally we dull because our efforts are put towards balancing stress through “survival”.  Because we seek homeostasis, we will ourselves to over-ride all of the just-mentioned, adding to the stress, and self-deprecation trying to re-balance the system, but stress doesn’t balance stress, so eventually our body responds with dis-ease.  Disease is a way of our body saying “it is too much”, it is a forced attempt at homeostasis, a wake-up call – a shout out to your system to restore enjoyment.

Thank goodness for us being homeostatic beings.  One of my mentors always says enjoyment means being in joy, and if we are not in joy, then we need to stop what we are doing and get back to being in-joy.  Joy is balance.  Joy is what creates an environment of healthier homeostasis in our beings.

One last integrative thought: when we are interacting, serving, giving, or ministering to others through efforts, obligation, duty, than what we are giving them is more stress and our efforts – efforts which are usually tainted with either strong or subtle imposing emotions (shame guilt, frustration, disappointment, resentment), and negative energy.  We know when others feel those emotions or energies from us being imposed on them, than their “homeostatic desiring systems” usually respond with defensiveness, walled-off-boundaries, lack of appreciation, and hurt . . . and we think we are acting in love and we are hiding our feelings from others (fooling them).  We aren’t fooled, why would we think others are.  Bottom line: if we are not enjoying life than others around us are not going to find joy either.

Move In To Move Out

Human nature is human nature.  We are no different from anyone else with whom we interact.  I was talking with someone the other day and he noted that he knows what he is doing is wrong, but he can’t stop doing it.  On top of that after he does the “not-desired” behavior, he hates himself all the more.  I told him as much as he didn’t like his behaviors and saw himself with shame, he was not unique in the “do-hate-shame” pattern, and that acknowledging/exposing the pattern was a first step.

I so appreciate that much understanding of human behavior is being seen, more and more, through an attachment lens.  I worked for some years with children who did not experience healthy attachments, and who learned to “survive” with their own means to manage life.  Briefly, let me explain.  If mice don’t experience nurture or care, they die.  Humans have greater self care.  Instead of “dying physically” our psyches are brilliant, and learn to adapt rather quickly with much resiliency.  Simply said, the psyche takes on ownership/responsibility of the lack of care/neglect so that there is some sense of control.  It (the psyche) becomes self-reliant as best as possible, and needs to do so in order to manage the reality that “love” is absent or chaotically confusing.   Control becomes a survival – their “gift” to themselves.  However, the truth/belief behind the “gift” is this:  “It has to be my fault/responsibility that I am not loved because if it is the responsibility of those who were supposed to love me, and they didn’t, then I don’t think I could survive.”

The concept in parenting or creating attachment, then, is not to move in and “shower love and gifts”, and “makeup” for the absences of trust and love, because that is threatening to their trust in their own (brilliant) system they instinctively created.  If you understand the upstream/downstream concept, then trying to force your agenda and love will send the person upstream becoming more protective of his system, less trusting, and more defensive.  It does the opposite of our “good intentions”.  Instead, we need to: move towards slowly with validation, acknowledge his “brilliancy”, support/come alongside in his “doing life”‘, and wait for him to “grow” or expand his trust circle.  We teach parents to have time-ins instead of time-outs, in order to demonstrate that they are going to be there, they are not going anywhere, and that they are able to be trusted when the child is ready.  (Time-out reinforces the über-protective self-reliance and increases a chasm in trust because it justifies the “fault” and consequences.  The child knows fault/responsibility and “safely” stays in that control of “it is my fault,” “see I’m bad” way of managing life.)

So, how does all of this discussion relate to the original issue of our “do-hate-shame” pattern?  Our behaviors are “protective” of our homeostasis.  We learn patterns, habits, behaviors because they meet some need in us.  Our being is always seeking homeostasis and balance, so when we “meet a need” with a behavior and it unbalances the system, then we counteract with another behavior, a belief, an emotion, to regain some sense of balance in the system.  If we move into the system and judge the behavior as “bad/wrong/not good”, then like the child above, our system is going to respond defensively, paddle harder upstream, become secretive in both the action and the shame.  In a sense the same needs with attachment with others, is what we experience internally with our own ego states or management styles.  Homeostasis is best when the different management styles in us (reactionary behaviors) know, trust, and feel safe in the system called self, and trust our heart/soul/true self.

Like the parenting style suggested, we need to “move into the behavior, validate the “why’s”, normalize, eliminate the judgment, and minimize the flip-flop reactions in the system we brilliantly created.  When we do so, there is greater homeostasis and less reactionary behaviors, which in turn, in a way, dis-empowers the negative behavior and therefore, then also, minimizes the “do-hate-shame” cycle.  Hope that makes sense.

Integrative thought:  We need to move in to the behavior in order to move it out.