Unashamed and Killing it

How I stopped hiding behind rules.

Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash

I like rules. I like the consistency of knowing that I can do anything and if I choose to not do a thing, the consequences are known. If I speed and get a ticket, I pay a fine. If I don’t do the things my employer expects and follow the rules I will be unemployed.

I like rules so much that my husband and I sat down with our children as a family and created house rules. The kids had a voice in writing the rules. These rules are printed and posted on the fridge. Any adult or child who comes into our home to spend more than a few minutes with us gets introduced to the O’Gara House Rules. Rules keep my family safe.

There are many types of rules, man made and natural. Rules have uses that are to keep us safe, keep us happy and keep life moving as it should. These rules are necessary and have value.

There are two realms where rules are not helpful or needed. The creative realm and the spiritual realm. All of these are natural situations where rules were applied unnecessarily by humans.

Rules in these aspects of your life will kill your creativity and spirituality.

In creativity, if you look at what rules others have set down in whatever your creative outlet is, you will not create anything that is unique or worth anything. Your art, poems, or fashion will be the same and like everyone else’s stuff. You will look like every other person on the planet. You will drive the same car. You will live in the same house eating the same food. Have the same things in your life.

John P. Weiss says, “If you want to be successful with your art or business, stop spinning your wheels on social media. Instead, focus on these two things: Rare and valuable.”

In spirituality, it gets a bit more complicated. You choose a path. You follow the rules of that path. Like the rest of the sheep walking obediently along that chosen path, you keep moving to whatever goal is set before you to fix whatever problem you are told by the rules that you have. No grazing on the side of the path in lush pastures for you. You become a follower of tradition, not a connected spiritual soul.

Rules in creativity and spirituality create a life of fear. Fear of being less than enough, not good enough and rejected.

Live a life “that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.” 
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

I realized that I was living confined by a set of rules. I was writing what I thought would be acceptable by people. I was doing religion the way I was told to do it. I was afraid of offending someone, who? Doesn’t matter. Fear of not being accepted or good enough ruled me.

I was hiding behind the rules. I was using them as an excuse for my failure to honest with myself and for not having the courage to live the life I dreamed.

So, I stopped hiding. In the case of creativity and spirituality, I said to hell with rules.

First, I made the choice to be creative my way.

I wanted to be unique and make a difference in the lives of people who read my words. I began to get curious about what my writing would look like and be without the fear of being wrong. So, I worked outside the rules that I had been living in for my entire life. I have made no secret that I am a Christian. I stopped making excuses for not writing what I wanted to write because it might offend some Christian friend or family member. I wrote my words, my way.

Then, I made a decision to make my own path to know God.

Not only did my writing improve but my relationship with God improved. I stepped out of the confines of church rules and fell in love with the person of God, the why of God and the reality of God. What I discovered was that God is unfathomable. All the things I was taught about God just scratched the surface to what is really an unknowable truth. My faith in God and love grew exponentially.

I still intend to enforce rules in my home and follow them when I am required to. Rules keep us safe. Let’s not get crazy and start a rebellion. However, when it comes to creativity and spirituality, that is no place for rules.

No shame in being YOU a creative spiritual unique human who sometimes breaks the rules.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here.

P.S. If you send me a letter I will write you one back.