Express yourself

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” — Osho

How much of the real you turns up to work?

Not much I would wager. In fact, for a lot of people they’ve forgotten who they really are, let alone understand their true genius.

Yes, we might look back to our childhood for inspiration — “I used to love to draw” — but, in truth, given the industrial paradigm, we’ve never really explored the inner let alone outer depths of our creative (or spiritual) self.

It may sound hackneyed, but if today was your last day on earth, I know you wouldn’t spend it hunched over a desk, sending emails or constantly checking Twitter!

If you’re anything like me, through all my years of working for others, and seeing my ‘future’ through the lens of Career Success, I always felt a deep sense of unease that this wasn’t the real me. It wasn’t just that I was able to wear a series of faux masks, but rather I wanted to break free to a space where I could once again experiment, fail and thrash about in a way that didn’t equate output with money. Of course, this sounds hopelessly romantic, but our systems have suffocated so many lives to the point that when we arrive at a place of freedom, i.e. retirement for most, we’re either too tired or too overwhelmed by the prospect of finding our true selves that we end our days mired in a semi-ritual that mirrors the life we’ve left behind.

I’m not suggesting you should jettison your career or the skills you’ve acquired, but I would invite you to consider how you make a space for the true you to emerge. If I can be so bold as to make a few suggestions, you might like to consider:

  • writing poetry or at least reading more of it (I’m a big fan of Charles Bukowski, but I accept he’s not everyone’s cup of tea);
  • a blog — use Livejournal or Medium or whatever takes your fancy;
  • write something every single day for a month and see how it makes you feel, more so than what you produce; I’d be surprised if it doesn’t change you;
  • hang out with weirdos — the weirder the better;
  • let go of any preconceptions that other people of you; better still, let go of those you have of yourself, especially those oft-repeated expressions of negative import, i.e. “you are not creative” — it’s all bullshit;
  • don’t think that what you’re doing has to lead to anything — it’s the act that’s important, not the output;
  • if writing’s not your thing, then paint, draw, use your hands to make something but for god’s sake don’t make excuses that you haven’t got the time;
  • stay humble, and never assume that you’re going to make it;
  • and last, have some fun — if it’s not fun it’s not worth doing.

In the final analysis, though, I don’t really care what you do or don’t do. All I really care about is that you don’t sit around bemoaning the lack of fulfillment in your work without at least trying to tap your creative muse.

At the end of the day, what could be more joyful that to express yourself, fully? (On a personal level, I know that absent blogging and reading all manner of wonderful books, I would never have had the courage to break free to a life that’s much more natural than previously generating great gobs of cash for people who thought that there purpose in life was to be materialistically rich, even though they were dead inside.)