Sunday, August 15, 2021

Train Your Heart to Listen

"Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great. I have written eleven books, but each time I think, "Uh oh, they're going to find me out now. I've run a game on everybody and they're going to find me out."   ~Maya Angelou                                              

MAYA ANGELOU! Wow! If she felt that way, no wonder the rest of us often feel inadequate to act on our creative impulses! 

Continuing to follow our theme of overcoming the obstacles and barriers that arise as we undertake our creative journeys, I'm taking inspiration this week from Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance - a book that  changed my life when it came out 25 years ago and has been my dear friend and constant companion ever since. 

In her August 13th entry, Breathnach writes:

"Many of us have unconsciously erected seemingly insurmountable barriers to protect ourselves from failing or succeeding. We may think we're protecting ourselves by ignoring or denying our creative impulses, but really all we're doing is burying our authentic selves alive."

She goes on to say that we must learn to "remove the rubble of the opinions and judgements of others," including our our internal censors, and tune in to a higher harmonic, a greater universe of creative inspiration that will immediately come to our aid and boost our efforts.

I particularly like this passage: 

"Spirit speaks to you constantly throughout the day. You may experience a hunch, perk up at the suggestion of a friend, or follow an urge to try something new on a whim. Train your heart to listen. Today, adjust your spiritual satellite. Tune in to the higher harmonic frequency for help as you continue your authentic, artistic pilgrimage to wholeness." 

This week, I switched my creative efforts from illustrating my children's poems to preparing to teach a chant class. It's interesting how we tend to assign the label "creative" to certain activities - writing, painting, sculpting, decorating, acting are all "obviously creative." But we tend not to assign the creative label to things we do for our jobs - that's "work" and we tend not to think of our work as creative! 

But for me, every class I teach is a creative effort. Every class is different, unique, and my hope is always to share my experience and what I've learned in ways that will  be meaningful to students. So, though I was excited to share this practice with students, it still brought up anxiety for me for several reasons: 

  • I have not taught a class with this particular focus before and didn't have any previously tested approaches to fall back on - I had to develop it from scratch
  • I had a vision in mind for the experience that I wanted to come through in the practice
  • Having been the one my family described as "not being able to carry a tune in a bucket," any time I put myself in the position of having my musical voice heard, I have to overcome those old (no longer valid) judgements.

But, just as Breathnach described, the moment I took the leap, a cascade of ideas and an intuitive sense of how to put them together presented themselves. I listened, played around with it, let it evolve, practiced it, and landed on something that I loved and which felt good to me. Then, I crossed my fingers, toes, and eyes, and hoped - no, trusted - that it would also work for the participants. 

Let's end with this quote from Joseph Murphy:

"Infinite riches are all around you if you will open your mental eyes and behold the treasure house of infinity within you. There is a gold mine within you from which you can extract everything you need to live life gloriously, joyously, and abundantly."

Open the door of your heart and train it to listen - everything you need is already there, waiting for you. 

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