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The Creative Journey:
Stop Signs

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(Note: When I use the word creativity I refer not only to traditionally recognized activities such as writing, painting, theater, dance, etc. The word can just as readily refer to ideas for resolving conflicts, working out relationship challenges, rearranging furniture, or, in general living one's life.)

I know many people who have manuscripts or paintings stored in file cabinets, who love to dance when alone, but hug the walls when others are around, who tell their closest friends their great ideas for improving things at work or in their town -- but not anyone who would be able to implement them.

Why? Because they're afraid of what people will think.

My own paintings have made it out of the file cabinet, but not without fear. The first time I had work hung in a show I walked into the gallery, saw them immediately, and felt as humiliated as the private thoughts of my psyche had been tacked to the wall.

Another time, in a serious effort to prevent myself from having paintings ready for a show I managed to turn the framing process into an hours-long ordeal which featured cut fingers and the possibility of ruining the paintings with drops of blood.

More recently, I waited until a few hours before a juried show to frame my entry -- and up until the last minute I debated with myself about going at all.

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Critics Everywhere

My creativity is unlimited when I contemplate the possible reception of my work.
People are falling on the floor laughing.
Some take a quick and horrified look, then hurry on.
Others complain loudly that someone with so little talent has the nerve to waste good wall space.
Even my best friends won't tell me the truth.
You can, without much difficulty, translate my paranoia into your own.

The company for which you work needs to reorganize. You have an idea, but it's something which has never been done before. You're afraid to propose it because you're convinced that you'll be laughed out of the room, widely shunned, and possibly demoted or fired.

You want to write a letter to your local newspaper regarding a community issue about which you have strong feelings, but you're afraid that you will just be opening yourself to verbal violence (or someone will point out your many typographical and grammatical errors).

Every year you and your spouse/partner go to the same place for vacation. This year you'd like to spend a week backpacking in the wilderness, but you're afraid to bring it up because (s)he will think you've gone insane, will veto it, and you'll be so hurt and disappointed that you might want to end the relationship.

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Oh, To Be a Hermit in a Cave

No one would criticize your ideas then.

With the exception of hermits, however, we are all more or less communal creatures. As such, we depend on each other for our survival on all levels.

In spiritual terms we are unique beings who are part of a universal One. The unique contributions we can each make enhance the harmonious evolution of all of life. I believe that on the deepest level each of us wants to use and share our particular talents -- but this powerful drive becomes blocked by the even more powerful fear that others will reject our contributions.

In earlier days the outcast was literally exiled from the communal village, forced to rely on him/herself for fulfilling physical survival needs. Though literal exile is not unknown today, most of us fear more that if we stand out we will be denied the emotional support and nurturance which is part of communal life.

We are warned that this can happen. You may have had parents who said, "It's nice that you're so talented, but it won't earn you a living" or "It doesn't do to stand out too much."

Some of you may have learned that it wasn't a good idea to know too many answers in class, lest you be called derogatory names relating to intelligence, or that the vast majority of your classmates thought that poetry was stupid. You may have learned to fear that the idea which sounded so compelling as it took form inside your mind would be ridiculed if you spoke it.

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Where Approval Begins

Sharing your creativity, exposing your thoughts and feelings, is a risky business. Every time you step beyond the safe confines of your private self you risk rejection.

It's a lot like falling in love. Many people enter a love relationship hoping to gain something they feel is lacking in themselves. In a similar manner, many artists (and, remember, that's all of us) who exposes a creation to public view hope that the response will give them a feeling of self-confidence and self-esteem which they may not privately feel about their work (which is why they so often anticipate a negative response; it's a projection of their own opinions).

Imagine a different approach in which creativity and love are fused: The artist who thinks, "I have created something which moves me. Let me share it with others so that they may perhaps be moved as well," the employee who is committed to the goals of her company and who wants to make a contribution to their achievement; the individual who turns to his spouse/partner and says, "Because I love you I want to share new and exciting experiences with you."

Not everyone will appreciate your creativity -- but if it makes a difference to one person how much greater your contribution than if you'd kept it to yourself?

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Other Contributors

Fortunately, crystals and flower essences have no fear of rejection. Thus, we can enjoy and benefit from the contributions they make to our well-being and development.

Citrine is one of the most important stones for self-esteem. It helps to expand our consciousness from a narrow ego-centered ("What will they think?") viewpoint to a perspective which includes the idea of expressing one's personal creativity for the purpose of sharing it.

Carnelian helps our creativity to flow and grounds us in the present. This is particularly helpful if we feel limited by remembering past and imagining future failures.

Green tourmaline is a high-energy stone which helps to activate our appreciation that creativity is a natural part of our being.

Quartz clusters play a special role in our feelings about creativity as a social act. By studying the way in which individual points create the beauty of the cluster we see how our individual creativity contributes to others.

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Floral Bouquets

Larch is the Bach Flower Remedy which gives a positive answer to the question, "Can I?" It not only builds self-esteem, but helps us to get over the fear of doing something new.

The Bach Flower Remedy Aspen can work in partnership with Larch in its ability to help release the fear of the unknown. This fear both applies to creating something original and to fearing the response of others.

Two FES flower essences are also very helpful. Pink Monkeyflower is recommended if one feels a sense of shame or of being exposed in sharing one's creative expression (like that painting hanging on the gallery wall or the letter to the editor). Oregon Grape is very helpful when one feels that others (the nameless crowd, the social critic) are hostile.

The Wild Earth Wolf essence helps us to appreciate being in community with others. Butterfly helps to ease the process of transformation.

Beyond the Rainbow
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