And the best part of the coaching, so far, has been to see writers smiling and saying they are writing again, creating again. Because, I believe, that is our natural state. We are all creators. That is part of our collective myth. It is at the heart of our individual myths.
Your personal myth is your story, the story of who you really are, the center from which you live, love, and create.
One of the initial reasons people come to work with me is that they are simply not writing, not creating. And they are frustrated. They feel guilt. They are stressed. The clock is ticking and they have nothing to show for their time. Because they are not creating, they doubt their abilities, citing the lack of productivity as clear evidence they are not writers. Some even go so far as refusing to acknowledge they are really writers.
The first step in working with creatives is helping them learn their own story, their own myth. Remove the world’s expectations. Remove the parents’ hopes and dreams. Eliminate the well-intentioned third grade teachers admonitions and directions. Remove checkbooks and mortgages. Quiet the voice without and within. Who are you? Now…who are you, really? And there we begin on a journey to you.
Joseph Campbell says that a ritual is the enactment of a myth. I like that. It is a tangible way of participating in the myth. In the life of a creative, a ritual is a practice you establish to participate in who you are as a creative. In essence, a ritual becomes a entryway to your practice as a creative, regardless of how you express your creativity.
Think of the other areas of your life in which you participate in rituals. Our religious lives are filled with rituals we observe to connect us with the sacred. Think of your family, especially at the holidays, when we gather and do things a certain way, whether knowing where everyone will sit at the table, how we open our presents, stories always read or shared, movies always watched, whatever. These are all rituals that give expression to the myth we live, the myth of our life.
A ritual is sacred in the sense that it leads you to something greater within you. When created according to your own personal myth, a ritual leads you to…well…you. Because at your very essence, your very core, you, my dear friend, are a creative.
A lot of creatives just catch snatches of time here and there, plop down, and expect Faulkner to pour forth in about the same time your barista can whip up a double espresso and you consume it. When you make time for your art and approach it with your rituals, designed to help you participate in your own myth, your own life, the results are different. The critical, doubting voices all creatives hear begin to fade. The world is put back into its proper perspective. Expectations and demands are not allowed. Through our personal ritual, we prepare ourselves, full of wonder and anticipation, to just express. You deserve no less my friend.