what if your fear was really a compass in disguise?

a creative something…quote graphic by Ernest Holmes

“We are all thinking, willing, knowing, conscious centers of Life.

We are surrounded by, immersed in, and there is flowing through us a creative something… call it what you will.”

— Ernest Holmes

What if…

What if is another one of my go-to journal prompts.

Today it came it really handy, because last night I became convinced that this whole project is stupid and meaningless.

My night dreams were filled with lost luggage, missed transit connections, and endless subways in foreign cities.

Before bed, I spent time writing down my dream of the next two years for my blog. My teacher encouraged me to dream even bigger than I dare. She talked about how we limit our dreams.

Then I freaked out over the gap I felt between where I am now, and the bigger dream that I allowed myself to consider.

Simultaneously, I felt like a failure (at everything, not just blogging) and guilty for wanting more.

I thought about going back and editing my homework, ratcheting down my dream.

Interesting how I felt more shame about sharing my ambitions and desires than about my failures. Hmnnn…

Later, I ended up crying over a dumb misunderstanding that hit me sideways.

Sobbing, really. Feeling the despair I felt as a throwaway kid in stuck in another orphanage. A kid with dreams bigger than I dared ever say out loud. Which is when and where I started keeping visual journals in earnest.

I went to bed with puffy eyes and a clogged head from crying. Afraid of having to post again today, and it being terrible, stupid, meaningless.

This morning/afternoon as I wrote and re-wrote this post several times from scratch, (not including all the mental writing I did while not sleeping) What if…kept coming back to me as a prompt.

Devotion was also on my mind. Thinking about students in my workshops or readers commenting on my blog, who are deeply struggling with their right to create.

How I feel devoted to helping people who want to create, but don’t think they are creative.

How I feel devoted to helping people deal with the fear that seems to accompany all great love:

  • fear that we’ll fail, something will go terribly wrong,
  • fear that we’ll actually succeed,
  • fear that we won’t follow through,
  • fear that we’ll sell out,
  • fear that we’re just not really creative, so why bother?
  • fear that whatever we make will be stupid and meaningless, even if we end up doing it.
  • etc. ad infinitum.

What if we all just accepted that everyone is creative?

What if we didn’t listen to those ideas we heard long ago from mostly well-meaning people, that have turned into internal voices that are critical and destructive:

You’re not creative. Your sister is the talented one. How can you be a writer, you can’t even spell? Art is a terrible way to make a living. Do something sensible. Have something to fall back on. How can you be an artist if you can’t even go to school? You need to money or someone to support you to be a serious artist.

What if we used our creativity to prove it?

What if we just wrote down whatever the naysayers say (in our head, or in our lives) in a private journal?

What if we labeled that page something like:

Naysayers Say

Just doing that, writing down the critical thoughts, and then moving on and doing your work, is huge.

It tells you subconscious mind, and the impossible-to-reach-with-logic Lizard Brain, that you mean business, that whatever tries to stop you from creating isn’t a big deal.

Here are the steps:

1. Hear the critical voice.

2. Write down what it says.

Thanks for sharing is the attitude in which you…

3. Move on. Do your work.

What if... is a prompts I play with a lot in my own journals, here’s a page where I did the steps, then collaged and painted over it all later:

What If... a page one of of my Creative + Practice sketchbooks

What if…

You stopped efforting?

You allowed yourself to simplify?

Even more?

What if you let Devotion be your guide?

What if you came out of your spiritual closet?

What if you got honest about the things that make you feel like a failure? If you just wrote down those things they way you do in the Naysayers Say exercise?

What if you weren’t afraid to tell the stories that are really alive inside of you right now – but do it live, on your blog, instead of just in your notebooks?

These are the What if questions that flow to me today in my journal.

Do you get a sense of where this kind of inquiry can take you?

It may not look like much on the surface, but I had to stop myself from erasing a couple of those What if statements.

I am right on my own creative edge. It’s uncomfortable.

This morning and through the afternoon I wrote, erased and re-wrote this post six seven times.

Now I’m just going to press publish. And let it be.

What if your fear was really a compass in disguise?

Your turn. Go.

Today’s Journal Prompts:

What do you call the creative force?

How can you tell when you’re in creative flow?

What makes the conditions of creative flow possible?

Extra Credit:

Play with What IF…then report back.

Marketing Department Sez:

What if…you allowed yourself even more creative “indulgence”?

Dreaming on Paper: The Creative Sketchbook, pretty badge

If you resonate with what we’re doing here today, I really think you’ll love this upcoming workshop.

Dreaming On Paper helps you excavate your own true desires, innate wisdom, and intuition, with ease, gentleness and joy.

Dreaming on Paper: The Creative Sketchbook starts on August 5.

This workshop is one of the foundational, prerequisite courses for the facilitator training.

Right now you can get Dreaming on Paper at a nice discount with Bundle Up special over on my workshops page. This offer expires July 31.

Every once in a while, I do something really crazy with pricing, and this is an example.

Explore More

My friend Cynthia Morris, at Original Impulse, has a quick video about helping you stay both more creative AND connected with journaling. Very much in alignment with what we’re doing together here!

Why bother keeping an art journal or sketchbook? Yeah, I used to ask myself that from time to time, too.

 In A Manifesto for the Hesitant Dreamer I share more about what Dreaming on Paper is all about, and what we do.

Pretty Graphic: FLOW: 30 Day Journal Project at lisasonora.comThis post is part of the 30 Day Journal Project.

Our theme for this year is: FLOW.

Just discovered this project? Great! You can begin right now.

Pop your email into the box below, and you’ll each day’s prompts delivered to you:

You’ll get Day 1 immediately when you sign up, and a new prompt each day after for 30 days.

Don’t want to receive prompts by email – or did your daily email go missing?

No worries, we’ve got options:

1. Every day for 30 days, a brand new set of  journaling prompts is posted right here on my blog. Creative journaling is my number one tool as an artist and creative entrepreneur.

2. You can get printables of ALL 30 days of prompts here >

Beauty & Connection

You may join our closed FB Group for this project here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/30dayjournal/

Each inspirational quote for the 30 Day Journal Project has a pretty visual graphic for you to print out and paste your journal, add to your Pinterest gallery, or share as you wish.

You are invited to share your experience in the comments—the dream is to collect your stories for an upcoming book about this project.

Use the hashtag #30DAYJOURNAL in your blog and social media posts so we can find each other and build our creative community.

by Lisa Sonora // share your thoughts... in the Comments { 13 }