i just returned from assisting a week long creative workshop for high school students that has left me both physically and emotionally exhausted and really proud of what these kids accomplished. for many of these students it was their first time in the big, scary city of Los Angeles and a few were definitely out of their comfort zones. throughout this week i ~ and the two bad ass ladies i was working with ~ witnessed oodles of creativity, excitement, fear, bonding, frustration, accomplishment, inspiration, self~discovery, singing, laughter and tears... many, many tears.
i believe these students left this workshop not only learning more about the creative process and what that entails but, perhaps more importantly, learned something about themselves as well. great friendships were born, walls were torn down, personalities were uncovered as were new ideas on how to conquer the world in their chosen creative careers.
i had my own moment of self~discovery during this time. i took it upon myself to be the official photographer of the event, finding opportunities to capture moments with the students throughout their week and put together a twenty-minute slide show for friends and family. i thought this would be a great way for them to see their son, daughter, sister, brother, niece, nephew or friend completely engaged doing something they loved as well as witness the friendships that were born between kindreds.
As more and more people approached me after the portfolio awards ceremony to share their gratitude for having done this, some with tears, i sensed how powerful our creativity really can be in touching peoples lives. for me, it washed away the tiny bits of negative energy that appeared now and again during the week and reminded me what it really was all about.
since i still work for a corporation, what i did will never be considered as a positive contribution in my upcoming performance review as it had nothing to do with numbers or the bottom line. but for me, just knowing that i contributed something powerful and positive makes my own personal performance review shine just as brightly.
there is a creative retreat happening in september called squam art workshops. it's kind of like summer camp for our inner artists. i wish to go very much but am not in a place to leave bella-boo for so long without being able to pop back home when i need to for her at this stage of her life and am completely okay with this. however, i have been reading on so many other blogs about some of the fears attached to attending this event, or any other event that takes us out of our comfort zones.
to you who are still on the fence about it, i encourage you to GO. i witnessed a group of students take the leap last week and came out better for having done it. give yourself gentle permission to leave your comfort zone and get messy.
if you feel intimidated ~ know you are not alone. i can pretty much guarantee you everyone attending, instructors too, are excited, yet nervous, about the event. i would be wary of anyone who didn't have a bit of that fear that pushes us to do great things. silence your inner critic, and if it won't shut up, you have my permission to smash a bottle over it's head.
if you feel like you aren't creative enough ~ know that you are. we are all creative and leaving your comfort zone may just be what opens up those floodgates of creative mojo. unfortunately, many of us have had past experiences with people that slammed the creative doorway in our face and we gave them the power to do this. giving yourself permission for a gift like this allows you to take that power back and recharge your creative energy.
if you feel like parts may be too emotional for you ~ go knowing that tears are a release and a symbol of letting go to allow the creativity inside you to be excavated. it will be emotional. and thrilling, messy, twirly-whirly, inspirational, exciting, juicy, peaceful, fun, raw, real, playful, magical, perhaps even life-changing for some.
if you feel like you will be the only one sitting by yourself at the lunch table ~ give yourself permission to not wait for others to come to you, but rather find someone you would like to meet and ask to join them. i know all too well the feeling of being not hip enough for the popular kids but i can guarantee you if you approach someone, they will be open to having you join them. who knows, you may find your creative tribe or meet a soon-to-be lifelong friend. you will be safe.
if you feel that money is the issue ~ we had a student last week who is a brilliant artist but not supported by his parents in his desire to pursue art as a career. he held fundraisers and had businesses sponsor him to raise the money to come to this event. his creativity holds no boundaries, neither does yours. invest in yourself.
the world needs your vision, go and show the world what you are made of.