Maria Brophy

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business of art / Creativity / Motivation / Philosophy

Creating art despite a crippling fear of failure

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An artist asked:  “How can I get over the fear that prevents me from creating my art?  I want so badly to be super-successful, yet am scared to finish what I start.  I doubt my ability to be successful, so I procrastinate.”

The solution is so incredibly simple that most of you will discount it.   But please, don’t.  Here it is:

Art is created from the love center of the heart.  Fear is created from the mind.

Love and fear cannot operate at the same time; the human body is not capable of it.

The solution is to get yourself into a heart-centered, love-feeling state so that you can create with joy.

(When I use the word “love” what I mean is joy, feeling elated, excited, happy, etc.)

Fear cripples your creativity.  

When in fear, you freeze up.  Think of all the times you were scared.  Two summers ago when I was hiking in the Sierra Mountains, a bear attacked my small lakeside camp.  I was so scared I could barely move.  I hid in my tent, looking out as I watched the bear stomp past my tent, back and forth, ransacking my stuff.  I was physically crippled in fear until that bear left my camp (after he drank my whiskey and ate my coffee, but that’s another story for another day…)

Love frees your creativity.  When you are free, creation flows easily through you.

Remember the feeling of being in love?  You know, that glorious sensation of floating on clouds and feeling like nothing bad exists in the world.   We can easily tap into this feeling when we listen to an uplifting song that reminds us of a great time from our past.  This is the feeling of creation.

The first year I met my husband Drew, in 1996, I was deeply infatuated with him.  I was in such a joyful state, that I took up painting for the first time.  I remember one painting that I did that was inspired by my love for Drew, it was of a woman in love (me) dancing in a garden of Eden with the romantic moon overhead.  I was surprised at how beautiful the painting turned out, since I was new to creating art.  It was the feeling of joy that helped guide my hand.

These are two very extreme examples of fear and love, but it illustrates the concept.

If fear of not being successful is keeping you from creating art, then you have to change your desired end result.  To get you back on the path of creating joyfully, set your goal to be on of enjoying the process of creating.   Don’t create art with the worry of how you’ll sell it.  Temporarily drop the goal of being successful with art.  Replace it with the goal of enjoying the creating of your art.  Here’s how you can do that, in three steps:

1 – Say this intention out loud “I’m going to create art for myself, just for the joy of it.”
2 – Do something to get yourself into a joyful, loving state of mind, such as listening to music that lifts your spirits, or playing with a puppy, or whatever uplifts you.
3 – Create your art just for the joy of it, with no expectations.

Over time you will become accustomed to the joyful rhythm of creating.  Once you are, then you can start thinking about the business/success aspect of your work.

But for now, if fear of creating is a big problem for you, drop the thinking part and create from the heart, with no expectations other than to enjoy it.  Allow mistakes and laugh at them, because it won’t matter.  In other words, have fun with it!

I hope this helps someone out there.  Let me know, by leaving a comment below, if this resonated with you.

If you want to read more about fear (and how it isn’t real), this is one of the best articles I’ve read on it:  What is Fear and How to Overcome it

Thanks for reading!

Love,  Maria xxoo

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