Monday, March 7, 2011

Creating a Masterpiece

I often hear my students exclaim, in the middle of doing a painting, “This is coming out so bad and I am just going to throw it in the trash.” I smile and say “Oh good, now you can start being creative! If you’re going to throw it in the trash, anyway, what do you have to lose?” It is at this point that they pull out all stops, dare to listen to their own creative genius and push through to a masterpiece that surprises even them.

Fear of failure is one of the biggest things that hold us back from success. Fear of failure is closely related to fear of rejection and fear of criticism. The mind thinks if we criticize ourselves or reject our own creativity then we take ourselves right out of the game so that other will not do it for us. When in reality success is just on the other side of what looks likes a failure if we push through the fear.

So how do we push through to that masterpiece, dream or success? I believe the first step is to change your thinking. For me, realizing that there’s no failure, there’s only feedback, was a huge shift in my thinking about life. I actually had a choice to learn and gain wisdom from every situation in life and be grateful.
I also have found that what ever I resist will persist. Resistance is a creating energy; this creative energy magnifies the very pain I am trying to avoid, giving it strength to continue in my life. For example; I completed the painting for the cover of the Billerica Green this week. All that was left to do was to give it a final spray finish. I chose, however, to give it a brushed on final finish when suddenly the paint on one of the faces started to smear. I panicked and grabbed a brush with water and started to try to fix it and it turned into “the little shop of horrors” and the face started to bubble and peal away. I could feel the fear and I started to spiral into a mini meltdown. The more I tried to fix it the worse it got and I thought the painting was lost. Suddenly a voice inside said, “Colleen what would you tell one of your students right now?” I stopped, took a deep breath and said out loud “Everything is fixable!” I stopped resisting what was: The face was gone. Then, I picked up my brush, knowing I had created that beautiful face once and I could do it again. I pushed through my fear and three hours later I had completed a masterpiece!

What doubts and fears are holding you back from creating your life into a masterpiece?
Let me leave you with the creatively genius words of William Shakespeare: “Our doubts are our traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”

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