Letting Go of One Creative Genius to Embracing Many
by: Eleanor Kinsey
It is Monday morning and the allotted time has come for me to write. I have a deadline in two days and I don’t have anything, not even an outline. I have a vague idea, but mostly I have a blank page and some time set aside.
A former version of me would probably be panicking. I would be fearful that the words won’t come or that they’ll come but they’ll be Subpar. Stupid. Mediocre. They won’t strike a chord in anyone.
I would be frozen with the thought that not only would my words be glossed over as unimpressive, unimaginative junk, but they would prove without a doubt that I am not the creative “genius” I thought I was.
Thankfully, I am not in any of those states. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I am calm. I am excited, open, and I know that my words are going to reach the hearts of my audience.
Because I have learned to let go.
The Weight of Being a Creative Genius
Let me begin by saying that you don’t have to consider yourself a “creative genius” to get stymied by the same blocks that plague those that identify as one. Maybe the reality is that you created something once, be it a painting, a new recipe, or a blog post, that you were proud of and now you want to do it again. Yet, instead of the joy, inspiration, and flow you felt before, you feel heavy and cannot seem to see anything beyond the self-deprecating messages parading around your head.
“What if I never create something as great again?”
“What if I’m a One-Hit-Wonder?”
“Lightning never strikes the same place twice.”
The truth is that when we cling to the glory of our past creations, we no longer have open arms to receive something new. It’s kind of like having a baby. Your creation is beautiful and you love it and you’re carrying it around in your arms, proud that it’s yours. But eventually, it starts to get heavy. It’s weighing you down, tying up your hands, and keeping you from creating freely. Yet, unlike a real baby, you don’t think to put it down (or hand it off to someone else to hold for a while). You become afraid of putting it down, worried that it will never come back, or at least nothing like it.
Creating something you’re proud of feels amazing. It makes sense you would want to hang onto that feeling. It’s no wonder you would want to create it again.
So how do you make lightning strike twice?
From Pleasure to Responsibility
In her book, “Big Magic,” Elizabeth Gilbert expressed her disappointment that sometime during the Renaissance we shifted from thinking that people had the creative genius to people who are creative geniuses. This subtle change in the way we think about creativity from something that comes and goes to something we are or are not, has massive repercussions on creators, mainly in the form of pressure. Instead of being able to create for the sheer pleasure and satisfaction of it, creative geniuses are expected to uphold their identity and continuously create work that reflect their genius status. Creating becomes a responsibility instead of a joyful expression.
So, do we completely do away with the idea of being a creative genius?
I don’t think so.
To say we can only have creative genius and cannot be a creative genius takes away the power and effortlessness that comes from “being.” When we are creative geniuses, our creativity naturally unfolds. It’s who we are.
So, what do we do about this? How do we allow ourselves to be creative geniuses without simultaneously creating an identity we have to uphold?
We don’t just allow ourselves to be a creative genius. We open ourselves to being many of them.
Moment to Moment
Although it may not look like it or feel like it, who you were yesterday is not who you are today. In fact, who you are right now is not who you were a few seconds ago. You are created anew each and every moment that passes.
So that creative genius you were when you made that incredible piece of work isn’t the same creative genius you are now. It just looks like it. By clinging desperately to who you were in the past, you are demanding your new genius to stay within the predictable confines of the previous one.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Your new creative genius doesn’t have a reputation to uphold and doesn’t have any responsibility to create anything that remotely resembles what the other creative genius made. Rather, it’s free to do whatever it wants while still being a genius and more. It has an open heart, no expectations, joy, and faith.
Untethered, your new creative genius can soar.
All you have to do is let go of your previous self.
Letting Go and Embracing
So here’s a little practice to help you let go of one creative genius and embrace many.
- Schedule about ten minutes of alone time.
- Settle into a comfortable position and close your eyes or soften your gaze.
- Take a few deep breaths into the lower part of your abdomen.
- Now imagine that standing before you are both your creative geniuses; the one you were and the one you are now.
- Turn to the one you were and thank it for being there while you were creating. Gently, tell it you are setting it free and let it go (unlock the chains, release your death grip, open the door, etc.).
- Turn to your new creative genius and thank it for being here. Curiously, ask it what it wants to do.
- If you’re inspired, embrace that creative genius and go create.
- If you’re not, ask yourself, “Who will allow me to express myself fully and authentically right now?”
- Wait and see who comes forward.
- Repeat steps 6-9 until you have found your inspired, passionate, and effortless creative genius, and go create.
When you embrace something, you open yourself to it, invite it into your space, and you enjoy it. And then you let it go.
Let. It. Go.
Knowing you are going to release it is part of what makes the act of embracing anything magical and joyful. It is not supposed to last forever. Actually, it gets a little awkward, maybe even a little painful, if it goes on beyond that magical point.
So remember, you can be a creative genius, just do yourself a favor and don’t be the same creative genius all the time. Lightning can strike twice when you let go of the old rod and put up a new one. I promise it is so much more fun and a whole lot less work.
LEADERSHIP STRATEGIST, PROFESSIONAL CERTIFIED COACH & HOLISTIC SELF-CARE TRAINER