There is a little part of me that still cringes at having to share my artwork with others.
Of course, I don't have to share it... and yet, there is deep value in doing so.
My persistent resistance probably has something to do with a knee jerk reaction from long hours of critiques in art school. I can feel my body contract a little just at the memories....
While sometimes supportive, critiques were far from a... nurturing environment. Emphasis was on outcome, product, technique and external interpretation and approval.
This has its place, and despite my kickback instinct, it did help thicken my skin some. With mindful reflection, I've softened into a place of gratitude with it and re-centered in my own values about the creative process and the power of sharing.
It ends up that sharing is a HUGE piece of my creative process, and a catalyst to some of my deepest soulwork - when done in safe places and seated in the throne of my heart's truth.
Brene Brown has made a mission of bringing us closer to living from our places of vulnerable truth - and also wisely cautions that we only share our most vulnerable truths with those who've earned a trusted place in our hearts.
What I like about this reminder is that it simply asks us to pause and be present to ourselves, our relationships, and our motivations before we share intimate parts of our process and art.
Am I looking for approval? Validation? To please others?
Am I prepared to sift and sort response that is not in alignment with my highest good, and that may side-swipe me from my process?
That said, let me also be clear that I feel it is wonderful to embrace that oh-so-good-feeling when someone compliments your art. Let it soak in and shift your mood even. Let it make you feel all tingly - what a blessing to be human!
It can be the current to carry you forward - and what an even lovelier gift that is when grounded in the understanding that the external input does not equal the value of being in your practice and assessing your truth for yourself. But, it's OK to not push away those good feelings for some intellectually righteous internal battle over ego. Just notice the tingles as they come and go. Let it be part of the scenery - not the destination.
But I'm talking about exposing our art in places where the feedback may move deeper and beyond the courteous (though often sincere), "oh, that's beautiful," "how nice," "wow," etc.
See, even sharing is part of the practice, part of the process of healing and releasing, of receiving and clarifying - part of what feeds the evolution of our expressions to come.
In safe circle, with likeminded creatives who practice compassion, respect and truth-telling, I have found sharing my art and process to vastly amplify the healing potential of my creative practice. When I say healing here, I am referring to my own sense of holistic well-being and alignment, mind~body~spirit.
The courage it takes to truthfully express those most intimate details of process and association - to be seen in all the awkwardness of that expression - combined with the power of receiving connection with those who illuminate that which I already know within myself and remind me of that which I take for granted... well, it is like pure superfood for this Art & Healing alchemy.
Experienced even once - this precious gift of wise community and connection in the context of creative practice - leaves no room for doubt about the importance and impact of a creative, expressive practice in one's life.
It's about so much more than making art.
This is what I woke with in my heart, at 5:30 am, to tell you today.
Because I want this for everyone that is open and willing to grow on their journey of creative well-being...
Creative, nurturing Circles that amplify and expand our process and connections so deeply that it moves us well past word, color, exercise and motion, and into the activation of living from our unique cellular truth.
* This post is part of a daily celebration of Arts & Health month right here at Hali Karla Arts. Be sure to stop back for inspiration, giveaways, guest posts, more fun info about art & healing, and special announcements and offers. Or you can sign up for my mailing list, for occasional updates and exclusive offers.