Opening Up To The Universe: The Self-Compassionate Guide To Discovering Your Inner Artist

To Be A Cartoonist

When I was ten years old, I wanted to be a cartoonist.  I would doodle in my notebooks all day.  My best piece was a toucan that my mother assured me was beautiful.  Two of my best friends were very gifted artists.  Corey created entire comic books, and Sean drew portraits. We had big dreams, and were impatient to take part in our very first art class. 

A man with reddish-orange hair, and one single gold hoop earring noticed Corey’s comic book work, and expressed great admiration for Corey’s broad range of character depiction and dialogue.  He was equally impressed with Sean’s attention to detail.  He looked at my work, sandwiched in between Corey’s and Sean’s, and articulated very flatly, “You have absolutely no talent.  You will never be an artist.”  I was heartbroken, and shrank into myself, a character in my imagination, who looked very much like a Dr. Seuss character asked me where we would go.

Finding My Capacity For Expression

We went to English next, and something magical happened.  We had to write a Haiku, which I did very easily, secretly returning to the headphones I had rigged up my shirt that were connected to a Dick Tracy watch, which got radio.  My English teacher Miss Sanner was surprised that I had finished so soon, and she asked to read my poem. 

When she finished, she reiterated the importance of creating something new.  I told her that I had written the poem myself without a secondary guide.  She was dumbfounded.  She gathered her thoughts, and very kindly told me how well done and beautiful she felt the poem was. Then, she made me promise that I would never stop writing.  I never did.  Of course, it did not hurt that she was my favorite teacher, and that I had a slight crush on her. 

Sometimes, we become so enveloped in the goals that we have created for ourselves that it feels too painful to open ourselves up to what suits us best.  We think about how we would like to give.  We tie our value to these plans.  When these plans do not pan out, we take it hard, and acknowledge it as proof that our value was actually quite low all along.

Cultivating Your Own Practice of Expression

To practice Self-Compassion successfully, it is as important to set goals as it is to let them go in order to make room for what will actually bring you a life full of meaning and ease.  I would have made a poor illustrator, and would have struggled to move anyone with my work.  Writing, on the other hand, has allowed me to inspire, soothe, motivate, and reassure people nearly my whole life, even when the writing was not that great.  Sometimes, it still stinks, but I keep writing anyway because my self-compassion practice has taught me that more often than not it is more than good enough.

Perhaps, there was something that you always wanted to do, and after failing to find any success there, you gave up trying to find a way to express yourself that inspires and uplifts others.  For my sake and for the sake of others, I would ask that you take some time out of every week to sit with your experience; notice what comes up; make space for it; watch as it passes from your experience; then bring kindness to it. 

From this position of well-being, ask yourself how you might communicate the messages that lie inside you: the calls to action, the heartfelt connections to which we can all resonate, your unique experience of the universe, your own sense of kindness, and your capacity to reach out and touch joy.  Make sure that this medium matches your core values, and brings you and others well-being and meaning.  Then, no matter where you are with this skill, begin to develop it.  The world can never have too many people, who passionately provide hope, insight, and joy.  I have faith that this journey will be worth it for you.  May this journey fill you with purpose, meaning, ease, and enlightenment. 

365 Days Of Kindness.  Self-Compassion.  Day 108.  In The Books.