“If you make things and share them, your heart will at some point be broken. If you never share, it will harden. Your choice.”
~Todd Henry, The Accidental Creative
I came across the above quote a few months ago, and wrote it down in my journal because it resonated as so strongly true.
At the time I was thinking primarily about my art, and how in many ways I had experienced a lot of heartache around sharing my art over the years – rejection, disappointing sales, hurt from (usually) well-intended words that nevertheless stung, flat-out thoughtless comments, galleries and shows that rejected my work, and galleries that accepted it and then put it in storage without telling me when they updated their stock, etc. Being an exhibiting artist takes a willingness to keep going in spite of the heartache and disappointment. It can be a lot of hard work, and the hardest part is to keep believing in yourself enough to do that.
And I have to admit that a few years ago, I stopped believing in myself enough to endure it any longer. It’s not that I allowed myself to actually admit to anybody, much less myself, that I was too emotionally wounded and tired. Oh no. My body stepped in and gave me the excuse I needed. It was around that time that my shoulder was causing me a lot of pain, so I let it be the reason to stop sharing, and to stop making art with the intention to share. I mean, yes, my shoulder did need therapy and rest, but if it hadn’t been for intuitive process painting, I probably would have stopped painting all together.
And that would have been a personal tragedy.
Because what I’ve been realizing about this quote is that it applies to all acts of creation, because all acts of creation are vulnerable to being criticized, unappreciated, destroyed, ignored, disrespected – whether it’s art, writing, music, acting, dancing, or a meal, a business, a mixed-tape, a blogpost, a life… And SHARE is another way to say take a RISK. Sometimes to share even with yourself.
To not take that risk is one of the most dangerous of all, the most heart-hardening – not allowing yourself to even know or to see your dreams and hopes for fear of a broken heart.
What I didn’t really know and understand a few years ago is what I really needed wasn’t to turn away from my dream, it was to be with the heartache, the brokenness that makes it possible for it to transform and grow. Because of the fear of heartache, I closed down part of my true self in order to try and protect my heart. All that actually accomplished was putting it into a too small box and hiding its light in the false hopes that it wouldn’t hurt anymore.
I am so thankful to my intuitive process painting practice, and to my training as a facilitator, that I came to learn that the way to heal, and not just hide this heartache is to keep creating through and with the broken heart. To keep sharing for that one person who needs what you create to be created – even when that one person is YOU.
What hopes and dreams are you hiding, from yourself and the world, for fear of heartache?
PS – I am sharing my artwork again. I’m starting slow, with the lovely Corina Bakery/coffee house that’s in the same building as my studio. I was shaking like a leaf as I placed the paintings, but it felt really good to have them exhibited somewhere besides my studio again.