Creative Fences

"And you have treasures hidden within you - extraordinary treasures - and so do I, and so does everyone around us. And bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have the time to think so small." ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic


I've been thinking a lot about creativity lately. Like A LOT. What it means to be "a creative person" or how it looks. What practice and hard work mean to creativity and what talent and sheer luck have to do with it. 

Something that I keep coming back to is how I interfere with my own creativity. All of the various obstacles and fences I erect for myself that keep me from fully engaging with my own potential. Fear, of course, plays a massive role and acts like steroids for the "mean girl" voice in my head, my inner critic who is varsity captain of my personal fence-building team. She loves to paint the word "fraud" across the fences she builds in big, bright white painted letters and hide little booby-traps in the sections of fence I'm most likely to jump. 

But it's recently become obvious to me that I must do battle with my mean girl and begin a systematic approach to pulling her fences down one board at a time. Because here's the thing…there are mountains that I long for on the other side of those fences. Mountains I crave deep in my very cells. Mountains whose tops I want to reach, whose summits I want to plant my personal flag of victory in, sure, but even more that that, whose trails I want to know intimately and whose rocky sides I simply want to experience fully.

In her book Thunder and Lightening, Natalie Goldberg talks about fear being the clue that what you are doing is something that you deeply want to do, a clue that you are on the right track. The louder the mean girl, the more important the work. I love this. And more importantly, I believe this. And knowing this allows me to smile broadly as I pull down those boards with the white lettering, especially when it's been reinforced with barbed wire and extra nails…a fence that strong could only be put up in front of work I am meant to do, called to do, and I relish the resistance for the sign that it is.