One thing I hear a lot from people when they are struggling with their creative process is some version of I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WANT.
It could be not knowing the next step in their painting or the next step on their life path. They feel stuck or confused or blocked or simply blank. And they don’t know how to SHIFT that stuckness or confusion back into an experience of creative flow.
So there are two things to look for if you find yourself in that place:
One, pay attention to what makes you happy. Follow your heart, even if it doesn’t make sense. Oftentimes, ESPECIALLY when it doesn’t make sense.
I think that everyone ALWAYS knows what they truly desire. They just talk themselves out of it because they think they shouldn’t want what they want.
Or they believe they don’t deserve to have what they want.
Like the poetess Mary Oliver says in her poem Wild Geese “You don’t have to be good….You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”
The second way is to follow the “back door path” that is related to some not so pleasant feelings.
Notice what kinds of things scare you. What activates our anxiety is often closely linked to what secretly turns us on. For example, I’m terrified of public speaking but it also draws me like a moth to a flame.
Another hint is to pay close attention to what activates your inner critic because that part of your mind is designed to keep you from taking any risks at all. So if you start to think about maybe signing up for an art class or taking a trip to someplace you’ve never been before and your inner critic gets VERY loud and the next internal message you hear is ” Oh boy, I could NEVER do that. That’s too hard, too much, will never happen, etc.” you are probably on the right track.
And finally pay VERY close attention to what you envy or are critical of in other people. If you’re obsessed with an acquaintance who is TAKING those art classes or those fabulous trips and you find yourself grumbling about her in your own mind and thinking things like “All she does is play, play, play. When is she going to start taking herself SERIOUSLY.” Or… “ She’s SO lucky. I wish I had enough ( money, time, self worth, etc.) to allow myself to have those things…” that’s a pretty sure sign that those things are EXACTLY what you need to be giving yourself.
Just remember that DESIRE is a good thing. We are meant to want things. And we are meant to RECEIVE the things that we want. The Creative Goddess delights in giving us all KINDS of goodness. We just need to get out of the way and allow her to do her job of feeding and nourishing us in as many ways as are divinely… and humanly… possible.