#29 in my Tonics For Your Creative Spirit email series: Sharon Salzberg
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Have you ever been surprised?
I’m going to guess you answered yes, maybe even that question was a little out of the blue.
So you know things can happen that you weren’t expecting, or could never have imagined in your wildest dreams.
In fact, how often does anything ever go exactly according plan?
This is the nature of life; unpredictable.
And unexpected twists and turns are also a feature of the creative process. In fact, they’re sometimes part of the fun.
This is the realm of serendipity, strokes of luck and flashes of inspiration.
So the uncertain and unpredictable nature of creativity can be a good thing; leading to happy accidents and pleasant surprises.
Most of us creatives are more familiar with the darker side of uncertainty; The Pesky Demon of Doubt
We let fear of the unknown stop us in our creative tracks, scuppering our goals and dreams.
Or we cling to the idea that we must know how things will happen before we allow ourselves to believe that they will.
Admittedly, it’s much easier to believe in something if we can see a clear and smooth path to a successful outcome.
But what if we can’t see a sure way, or we have no guarantee that things will work out as expected and make our precious efforts worthwhile?
This is where faith comes in.
Faith is the powerful force that leads us to act in spite of uncertainty. It’s the key difference between those who keep striving towards their goals and dreams, and those who give up – or never even begin.
Many of the world’s great creations, achievements, advances and successes only occurred because someone took a leap of faith.
Whole belief systems have been built on the idea and power of faith – trusting and believing when there is no certainty or proof.
It’s powerful stuff. Strong enough to move mountains.
It’s not easy!
At least in creative terms, building and trusting faith can often be the hardest part of the creative process.
To invest time, energy, passion, heart and soul into a project – with no guarantee that it will be worth it – that’s the risk of any new venture.
There always comes a point where you just have to trust.
And since this can be incredibly difficult, it can be a real stumbling block for many brilliant and talented creatives.
So, given that faith is an inescapable part of the creative mix…
are there any ways to make ‘keeping the faith’ a little bit easier?
Happily, I believe there are…
How to Keep The Faith during the creative process
I’ve been exploring the idea of faith for the last couple of years. (I’m convinced it’s the secret to great and wonderful things.)
And in my mission to support you in your Great Work, I’d like to share my findings so far…
1. Become more comfortable with risk
Get used to moving forward without any guarantees of success.
Practice with small things, where the stakes aren’t too high.
And realise that much of life involves risk – and you’ve survived so far! Each day has its own risks, however small, and yet how often do you get through the day safely?
When you get comfortable with an element of risk, you feel less need to be certain of things.
So, a) you’ll relax more, and enjoy life with less worry – not a bad side effect.
And b) you’ll be less likely to dismiss things just because they have no guaranteed outcome. (I.e. all the amazing adventures that live on the other side of risk).
2. Build up your Surrender-&-Trust muscle
Practice trusting your gut, your intuition, the universe, the Divine, or whatever you call the invisible force that supports you. (I refer to all my spiritual support as ‘my muse’).
When you learn to trust in positive outcomes, it becomes easier to surrender, to let go of your vice grip on the need to be certain.
Again, start small. Experiment and play with minor outcomes.
Retrain any control freakery to allow for more chance, luck, and going with the flow.
3. Tune in
Check in with how you feel.
Are your doubts laced with nervous excitement? (Keep going.)
Or do you know, deep down, that you’re off track? (Re-assess.)
Learn to recognise which are intuitive nudges and which are fearful ego voices.
You learn best through the trials and errors of your own experience, being aware and keeping track of your results – but there are also resources to help you master this skill. (This one has some rave reviews… 😉 )
If something just feels good – despite a lack of logic or evidence that it will work – this is an internal force that can power you through any doubts and dilemmas.
4. Brainstorm all the possible routes to your goal
Make a list or mind map of any ways or steps to your outcome – however outlandish, wild or unlikely.
In fact, the more obscure and fanciful the better, as this sharpens your ability to imagine. (Which Einstein claimed was more powerful than knowledge.)
Once you can see a single possible way, the goal can no longer be classified as impossible – which is a huge boost to your ability to believe in it. (Which is a huge boost to the likelihood that you’ll pursue it.)
You don’t need to know which of these routes will be your path, possibly none of them or a combination.
What matters is that you’ve now shown your brain that it is possible.
It may seem a subtle detail, but the subconscious mind speaks in subtlety and is hugely influential in inspiring you to keep taking action.
5. Keep a Success Diary
It takes courage and confidence to take leaps of faith.
So a strong and secure self-image will support you in taking risks and trusting your ability to make things turn out well – or survive and bounce back if they don’t.
Keeping a log of all your wins, triumphs and successes – large and small – will do three things:
• It will provide proof of your ability to succeed, which creates a powerful and positive sense of self.
• It will boost flagging spirits during the inevitable wobbles, shoring up your self-belief when you need it most.
• It will train your brain to look for more evidence of you as an achiever, a success – which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as you take actions aligned with that self-image.
When you build up your faith in your own power and ability, you naturally expect more successful outcomes in your endeavours – both in creativity and in life.
So I hope these steps will help you find more fun and less anxiety in the creative process, as well as some enjoyable side effects in the rest of your life.
You’ll see new opportunities and take new actions – which are proven strategies for increased good luck and the likelihood of success.
You may even discover that magic and miracles happen when you start to believe everything will turn out for the best.
And even if they don’t, take heart that optimists live longer – and have more fun along the way. 😉
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
PS If you’re as fascinated as I am by this whole concept of faith, I highly recommend this beautiful book by Sharon Salzberg, which is the source of this week’s quote.
PPS If you would like some expert support and guidance in strengthening your intuition, boosting your confidence and relaxing into the flow of life, my new Muse Spa programme is designed to do precisely that.
I’d love to support you in keeping the faith and making your creative dreams a reality.
More details here, if this sounds like bliss for you.