Creative Authenticity in the Workplace

Posted by on 15 Feb 2012 in Q&A | 1 comment

Kelley,  While I enjoy my current job, it has gotten to a stage where I walked out and cannot face returning.  I wish I could make a living from my creativity,  but that seems like an impossible dream. I don’t want to be trapped in my current situation, but the only place I can go is another dead-end job and they may not tolerate my physical and mental illness.  Will I ever be able to follow my own heart-song? Thanks–EJ.

Thanks for your note, EJ.  This stage in your growth is about balance, specifically standing solid in your true self across different worlds.  The core issue is being able to be your creative self and carry that into other, more linear areas of life.  Within you is a belief that you must abandon creativity in order to walk out the door every day, not just regarding day jobs, but to deal with people and life, in general.  This belief generates others, such as “I can’t be myself in ___ company,” or “I can’t interact the way I truly want to in ___ situations.”

This duality of living has set up a  dynamic in which you compartmentalize your creativity, expressing it in the areas you want to and deem worthy of it, while withholding it from areas you feel don’t deserve it. This divvying up of self hurts.

I see sprawling patterns of submersion into either linear, mundane pursuits, or escapist, colorful art–rarely a peaceful balance between both.  One extreme of hardship cannot exist without the other.  Lopping off the artful self to survive in the suit world can only lead to approaching creativity as a wildfire escapist pursuit.  The result is an antagonistic relationship with the outside world and art, whose creation feels like chopping off one of your limbs.  That pattern becomes  self-sacrificial, in which your linear life never gets the best of you, thus can’t prosper,  and your creative world is locked into acting out the anger of that omission.   A push-pull pattern crops up in which these extremes start to feed off of each other and snowball.

Our creativity is our true self, and expressing it must go far beyond breathing it into how we make a living.  We can’t turn our true selves off and on situationally and expect them to carry and sustain us.  Rationing creativity results in bipolarism of the spirit.  Our creativity is also our life force.  When we turn it off and on like a spigot, we start to become less and less able to control the valve.  This manifests in feeling that we’ve lost our artistic skills, collusion of life dynamics that distract us from creative pursuits, and ever-building animosity toward the areas of life that provide our practical means to be artistic.

Expressing our true selves requires a relationship that must be cultivated, like any other. Your guides show me that building this relationship requires full focus on healing that relationship.  Even fun extracurricular activities like studies or travel overtax you right now.  Clear expression relies on keeping the filter for the voice as clear as possible.  To attempt to make art both your survival and soul jobs before doing this healing will only strain the voice further.  There is a deep need to delve in and remember art for art’s sake, and in doing so rekindle the relationship with your true self.

Of course you can’t cloister yourself away from the world to do this healing, though you can greet Life with the agreement that healing comes first.  Healing the fatigue and resentment that has built up from compartmentalizing yourself will improve your worldview as well as your self-view, your art, and your means of earning a living.  By bringing your creative originality and authenticity into every aspect of your life as an ongoing personal spiritual practice, it will just be there in times that you need it to carry you.  Sparse times will become far fewer.

Can you make a living through the expression of your heartsong?  Yes.  The trick is beginning to express your heartsong no matter what, through absolutely everything you do, right now, so that the job that can honor your creativity can come.

Blessings, EJ.

1 Comment

  1. Beautifully state.. I think the trick is also to draw a mental line between work and the creative soul. As I walk through the doors at work I feel my an invisible barrier surround me. It’s work. I am here to do a job, but it is not who I am, but a part of me. Does it always work? No, but most days it does.

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