The One, Fool-Proof Way to Tell If You’re An Artist
I’m a firm believer that every human being on this planet is an artist. I’m also a firm believer that our creative potential is so powerful, that current life circumstances are evolved from an agenda to deter us from the knowledge of our inherent creative power. And that the blockage of that creative force is the cause of much physical and mental illness. I’m also firmly aware that this belief may put me in tin-foil hat land.
A few years back, and long after I’d graduated from college, I took a biopsychology class at the local community college, for fun. I’d recently begun meditating. As a result of my getting clear on the things I wanted and focusing on my desired outcome, those things began to appear in my life in pretty major ways. After being steeped in the mystical, the pendulum of my psyche swung back the other direction and I set out on a mission aimed at quantifying exactly why breathing, thoughts and focus made things appear in my life. So, I registered for this biopsych class to explore the role my nervous system was playing in creating my reality.
Toward the end of the semester, the professor brought in a hypnotherapist. He grabbed a couple of volunteers from the class and showed us some interesting exercises in mind over matter. He then broke down the components of how hypnotism works, which is something like this: the subconscious mind accounts for about 60% of the mind and is the driving force behind bringing ideas and behaviors from the mind to the outside world. While keeping the conscious mind active by asking questions or introducing subtle distractions, hypnotherapy employs a number of tactics to influence the subconscious to do things like make people bark like a dog on command. “Pretty cool stuff!”, I thought as I left class that evening. I got in my car, turned on the radio. Checked my phone for calls and texts. Drove out of the parking garage. As I continued down the boulevard reading billboard after billboard, listening to commercial after commercial, navigating the ever-present ‘detour’ signs on Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica, it hit me: “Holy crap, life is one big labyrinth for the conscious mind!”. We are so busy responding, so busy managing reactivity, that we often have little or no time for proactivity, CREATION: the act of bringing the world into existence out of nothing (Merriam-Webster). And this lends itself to the array of insecurities that arise the first time we write, paint, build, sing, bake or otherwise usher something into the world that is a completely raw reflection and manifestation of our souls energy and we feel that art is maybe something we can “do”. As in, display, promote and get paid for. Our creative muscle is so atrophied, we view it as something completely foreign to us.
“The creative force flows over the terrain of our psyches looking for the natural hollows, the arroyos, the channels that exist in us. We become its tributaries, it’s basins; we are its pools, ponds, streams and sanctuaries. The wild creative force flows into whatever beds we have for it, those we are born with as well as those we dig with our own hands. We don’t have to fill them, we only have to build them.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estes
So, to determine, “am *I* really an artist?”, try the following exercise:
- Take your index and middle finger of your left hand.
- Press them together so the insides of the fingers are touching, knuckles and nails side by side.
- Lightly place them fingertips down, to the left of your trachea, just below the jawbone.
You will feel a rhythmic pulsing.
This is your creative life force.
Now go usher something into existence.