Listen to all of your work
look at it, or read it…
Creative people move forward quickly, learn much, and often change and grow in unexpected ways. Taking the time to listen to all of your work can help you learn acceptance, letting go, and also valuing of yourself as you currently are.
One thing I’ve struggled with continuously is the feeling of embarrassment or shame about my earlier work, who I have been, the mistakes that I’ve made.
This is wasted mental energy.
The past does not exist, only now does. What I can do about the past is to work on myself now. However, it is helpful to know yourself and appreciate yourself as you were in the past, in order to help you accept yourself in the present.
Developing a continuous sense of self
Taking the time to listen to all of your work can help connect you to your own sense of style, your own eccentricities, the things that make you special and unique as a musician, artist, writer.
Lately, I’ve been going through old work, old photos, old notebooks. What I have discovered is that although I always was worried about being not enough, about being ugly, about being a bad musician, or a bad artist, it was just lies the ego was telling me. It was also the voices of abusive people that were trying to hurt me.
I didn’t deserve it from myself or others then, and I don’t deserve it now. And realizing this, made me realize that my future self doesn’t deserve it either.
Listen to all of your work
Loo at it, or read it. Whatever your craft may be. This might ta e a long time and might not be doable in one day. But try to marathon it.
Focus on how it makes you feel right now. Does it feel like another person is doing this?
Do you feel more inspired, or less?
Sit with whatever feelings you have. No matter how intense, they will pass. You can always make it through this singular moment.
Use mindfulness to your advantage
Without embodying mindfulness, I found this practice intolerable.
For me, I used to cringe so hard at my old material that I couldn’t make it through a whole older release or an old rehearsal.
Also, hearing old bandmates I had falling outs with was hard. But if I sat with that feeling and just focused on the notes, that feeling melts away. I could appreciate what we had done without yearning for the mistakes to be fixed.
Without Fear, Without Pride
I have an issue with simultaneously thinking that in the past “I was horrible” and “I’ll never be that good again”.
This is the chatter of the ego, trying desperately to keep you safe from failure. The ego’s logic is that if you never do anything, you will never fail!
Learn to sit with and accept your imperfections, your horribleness, your brilliance.
Observing all of your older work is an exercise in self-acceptance. Forgiveness for past ignorance. Forgiving yourself for not being able to live up to what you were then. Forgiveness for the bandmate who wouldn’t practice or who had a drinking problem, or who you could have been nicer to.
We create because we are called to, not because we will be either great or terrible. Only the work itself is important, not the result.
This may seem counter-intuitive (don’t we want to make a great album or piece of art?), but if all you are thinking about is making a great end-product, the chances of you being in the moment enough to actually do so are exceedingly low. Just create, the creation comes naturally out of that process.
Radical mindfulness and acceptance
I’ve been listening to Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now on audiobook and it’s honestly changed so much about my moment to moment wellbeing and perception.
I’ve been meditating and using mindfulness techniques for several years now but there is something so powerful with how he explains things, how we can use radical moment-focused mindfulness to eliminate these wasteful and “insane” mental states – where we stress about the past and future – which are literally unable to happen to us. The only thing we ever experience is this moment. If we are worrying about the future, we are neglecting the world in front of us. If we are feeling embarrassment, guilt, anger, shame, or nostalgia, longing or joy – about the past, we are not paying attention to this moment.
While we need to acknowledge the roll the past plays on who we are today, and plan for the future, obsessing over either of these at the expense of our current state is just wasted mental energy.
We must accept that the past happened, and that the future is not here. We can only truly deal with anything NOW. In the future, we will deal with problems as they arise. We can only plan so much!
Listen to all of your work. All at once, if you can. Practice self-acceptance, not arrogance or embarrassment. Try to be a neutral observer of this past self so that you may be more fully ok with yourself as you are.
Embrace your past and your present and your future, right here, in the NOW. The only thing you will ever truly experience.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to comment below.
Thanks for reading!
~ Blessed Be and Happy Creating ~
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