I love the movie “Fireproof” and if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. One of my favorite lines in the movie is when Kirk Cameron’s character is being told not to follow his heart, that the heart can be deceived. Instead, he should learn to lead it.
“Don’t follow your heart, the heart can be deceived. Learn to lead it.” ~ Fireproof Movie
When I heard this my mind was blown away. This perspective was so different than the one I was used to hearing. Everyone always says to “Follow Your Heart”. I have even told it to myself and although I fully understand the intent behind this message, I now truly believe it to be pretty bad advice. The heart can be deceived because overall it is pretty emotional. This makes the heart unpredictable, confused and at times, a bit unstable. It can be immature and naive and capable of throwing tantrums. Sometimes, submitting to the will of the heart is like submitting to the will of a child. It just wants what it wants. When I think about it like this, I have to ask myself, why on earth would I want to follow that? Why would I give my heart that much control? Yet, as erratic as the heart can be, I don’t believe we should completely discount it. Emotion is a part of our humanity. Without it, we are lost. But, if we learn to lead our hearts, to listen to it and apply wisdom and experience to what it is telling us, we can take better control over our own direction and hopefully be more satisfied, more often, with where we end up.
For me, art is personal and when it comes to creating the kind of personal art I strive for, it’s not always easy to stay true to myself. The fear of rejection can sometimes be so great that I want to bend under the weight of it and cry out uncle.
“Through The Looking Glass”
To create one’s own world in any of the arts takes courage. ~ Georgia O’Keeffe
What adds to the pressure is the unfortunate way that I sometimes want to cave into social media as a barometer for determining the direction of my work. I find myself questioning the risks I want to take in order to create something others would like. The results that come from playing it safe can be tempting but they are not real. When I silence my own voice or restrict my vision, to say only what I think others want to hear or share only what I think others want to see, my work becomes less than it could be and so do I. I deprive it the the opportunity to be truly great because the compromise alone makes it mediocre. It is not truly me but a fake and I have stripped away the one thing that gives it purpose. Therefore, all the accolades in the world mean nothing and I feel emptier than ever.
Yes, creating my “real” art takes courage. To speak up, to bare my soul, to stand alone when no one else gets it, to tell my secrets and share my heart with the world means I have to be brave. I have to have the courage to create.
“We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.” ~ John Green
I realized one day that my art has become like the child I never had. Born not of my womb but of my soul. And all the hopes and dreams I would of had for a child I now place in my art.
I want my art to be beautiful and strong. I want it to experience the best parts of life and grow from the worst. I want it to be empathetic and non-judgmental, to love and be loved. But most of all, I want it to know God. I don’t expect it to be perfect. There will be flaws, but I will love it no matter what, unconditionally.
In her book, “The Artist’s Way”, Julia Cameron attributes creative blocks to fear. I was meditating on this and wondering what it was I was fearing in those moments of being creatively blocked. When I get to this point, I feel unable to come up with a fresh idea. But not just any idea. It has to be an idea that is better than the last. I guess, in a way, that would be a fear of failure. But as time passes, I am becoming more comfortable with just doing what is in my heart no matter how it turns out. Maybe it will be better, maybe it will be a complete flop, but of course, failures as much as successes are all part of the process. So, although it is not easy, It is something I must surrender to daily.
“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland
“The Lady Hatter”
“You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.” ~ Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
“But he who dares not grasp the thorn, Should never crave the rose.” ~ Anne Brontë
“Love Not With Words”
“Watered by tears and rooted in faith, my experiences have become the soil from which I grow”. ~ Lisa Richelle
“Nourish The Soul”
“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” ~Sam Keen, To Love and Be Loved.