Dude, Go For the Dream. It's Not Selfish At All.
Do you have a creative dream languishing in a corner with the dust bunnies? Or maybe tucked carefully away into a drawer with some dried lavender and rose petals? Maybe you even take it out every now and then, brush it off, look at it wistfully and then let it drop back out of sight.
You are so not alone! Creative people all over the planet are stuck in the same place.
There are a million and one reasons why we don't go after our dreams. Fear, self doubt, negative self talk, and a host of others. The one that is on my mind today involves a message a lot of us were handed as kids and are still listening to today.
We believe that carving out the time to write or paint or pursue photography or practice music or be in a dramatic production or whatever is an act of selfishness. Engaging freely in creativity feels too good. In our subconscious minds we believe that life is supposed to be about sacrifice and burdens. We say things like,
"Oh, I can't possibly do that now. I have responsibilities and obligations. Maybe when the kids are grown up. Maybe when I retire. Maybe when the grandkids are grown up. Oops - maybe in the next life..."
I heard a guy talking awhile back about a big dream. He wanted to do a thing that involved writing and traveling. But he couldn't bring himself to do it. He talked about his son, who is living a creative life, and he kept saying, "I just feel that he's so selfish."
And inside I was screaming at him, "DUDE! Go for the dream. It's not selfish at all!!"
Of course, since I was eavesdropping on this conversation, I didn't say anything. But I went home and wrote this down in my reminder journal (a special journal where I keep little nuggets like this that remind me about what's important and that give me inspiration.)
If you have a persistent creative dream, then that is part of your reason for being here in the world. Pursuing it doesn't make you a selfish human being, it makes you a fulfilled, self-actualizing one. It makes you a better person. A full, living, breathing, contributing person.
Imagine that a loved one prepares a meal specifically for you. They've made all of your favorite foods and invited some of your favorite people. Maybe it's your birthday, or maybe it's just for no particular reason other than that they love you.
You sit down at all of those delicious, mouthwatering foods. You fold your hands together, sigh regretfully, and say, "Oh, I can't possibly eat any of this. I feel so selfish."
We are like that when we deprive ourselves of time with our creative dreams.
In fact, when we engage with and pursue our creative dreams, we feed the souls of others. How often have you been nourished, healed, maybe even saved by a well timed book, piece of artwork, or song? Think about that for a minute.
If you have a creative calling, large or small, you get to be a part of that. A part of making the world a better place. How is that possibly selfish?
If you've been cutting yourself off from the dream for awhile it might feel far away. Maybe it seems small and dried up and you think it's too late. It's not.
It's never too late to go after a creative dream. My grandfather started taking piano lessons in his eighties. He wanted to learn before he got too old.
But if the dream seems unreachable and far away right now, ask yourself this question:
What is one tiny little step I could take today?
It might be just buying a notebook to write in. A five minute internet search to look for a class or a teacher in your area. Browsing the art supplies in the Wal-mart aisle and feasting your eyes on colors and textures. Or even email me and ask about coaching, if you'd like a companion and guide for your creative journey.
Whatever you do, see if you can take one tiny step forward. And I'd love it if you'd share with me. It lights me up to see people reuniting with their creativity.