As an artist, I have been on a journey. There was a time I doubted my abilities in the light of so much natural talent out there. Comparisons were made, and I decided the "artist" label did not apply to me. I just didn't measure up. Since then, my definition of artist has changed and broadened to mean anyone who is on a creative path. There is a whole inner running dialog about the meaning of creativity, and included in that dialog are thoughts about origins.
Originality is something I strive for. I believe it is a real struggle. Judging something as original (as in, originating from me) requires my inner critic, yes, and it also helps bring out work that is unique to me. My art is the expression of who I am, distilled to its essence, originating from itself, an outer expression of the Flow I somehow tapped into.
Somewhere along the way, we are taught that the wisdom of books and experts is exactly what we need, that our own wisdom is not to be wholly trusted, that our ideas are suspect. The educational system I was brought up in encouraged a surface knowledge of facts, and an aptitude toward easily recalling these facts. The times I was encouraged to discover and explore and think for myself seemed fewer by far, and by the time I was given those opportunities, I sincerely didn't know how.
I bring this up because we are all a product of our society, we all have so many outer "voices" that contribute to who we are. We definitely live in a society filled with noisy opinions and news and facts and experts and methods and trends. I also bring this up because I believe art and parenting and creativity and relationships are inherently bonded, and if you are a parent, the memories you create for your child, the words you paint with, the habits you form, these are your art.
This art has an origin. We have all formed our parenting based on the example of our parents, books we've read, other parents we've connected with. But still, the relationship we form with our children is unique. Each moment we spend with our child is the expression of those decisions we've made and which voices we've identified with. Still, I ask myself, and I ask you...what are you...what are you and your child...when you are distilled to your essence....stripped of outer voices...trusting each other? What are you when you are empty and that emptiness is illuminated with only love? What kind of dance ensues when one is that open?
One of the blessings of working with parents in a parent-child class is watching a group wisdom unfold. If I allow the space for parents to talk to one another (rather than jump in with the "right" answer), they touch on what is right for their child...they help each other strip away those outer voices...they help each other remove self-doubt and trust their intuition. They are able to observe more. They engage in the art of parenting.
Being original requires thinking through a thing before merely parroting something we've heard, or our own parents. It requires coming from a place of listening as opposed to mere automatic reacting. Sometimes what we imitate rings true for us, sometimes it doesn't. It is important, at least for me, for me to find out where I am composing the song, where I am putting my voice to someone else's song, or where I am completely composing and singing my own song. When I am the singer and the song, I have found my voice....as parent, as artist, as wife, as friend.
Today I will ponder the meaning of emptiness and openness in my parenting, and keep myself original!