From the creative cave of my music studio where I have been completing new albums, I was reminded the other day of how the artistic process is cyclical, with ups and downs on the way to completion. I often reflect upon the wise words in the Bhagavad Gita, which says that a yogi is one who acts without attachment to the fruits of his actions. I am blessed with regular reminders of this understanding, which is at the heart of my life’s work and purpose.
The tendency may be to get caught up in believing that we are what we do. Refreshingly, yoga reminds us that we are not the doers. Instead, we are the witness to the unfolding of life force through us. We are called to humbly serve its arising with joy, trust and deep surrender.
I often say that my creative process is like taking dictation. My wish is to simply get out of the way so that the creative flow may move through me unimpeded. In that alchemical process is the potential for something transformative for the creator and for their audience.
When I first started to write songs, I would go to the piano or pick up my guitar in a state of joy, with a sparkling idea, only to soon find my head spinning with dizziness. An interference pattern was short-circuiting the flow. Not knowing exactly what it was, I was sure at least that it was temporary. Being very focused on the creative thread I was courting, I would lie down for a moment until it eventually passed. Then I would immediately sit back up and keep writing and listening to the muse, focused on my goals to communicate the inspiration.
When I first saw the popular image above, I literally laughed out loud. You may have seen it too. I love how it sums up the creative process so clearly.
My husband and music manager Rishi knows my process so well now that we both have a good laugh when I am moving through a “this sucks” phase. I do my best to watch it move through and not give it energy, as inevitably, some kind of breakthrough and delight is just around the corner. Nature shows us this daily as the darkest hour is just before daybreak.
Fear and doubt can creep in at certain stages of the creative process. They could even be a sign that you are onto something in your work. It seems that when something selfless and potent is getting ready to shine through you, your ego may feel frightened and destabilized and seek to dissuade you. How you manage fear makes the difference between pursuing a life you love and waiting on the sidelines.
You have a choice. You can give power to these voices or you can let them go by learning to see them as they are. They are distractions, old stories that have no real power other than what you feed them. Meet whatever fear may be present in the moment, rather than pushing it away.
The very love, spark and passion that made you start your journey in the first place are the source to which you return again and again. You may feel afraid. That is okay. You may feel challenged and unsure how to make it through. That is okay. Beyond any obstacle, you learn to touch with confidence the reality that you are guided, that you are not alone, that you are loved. Though the dark may scare you, you know you are a being of infinite light.
Adversity will come. But so too will the help. The universe conspires to support your greatest joy. In this you will learn to believe. In your creative process, remember that fear and doubt are only passing clouds on the way to letting your soul light shine. Put yourself out there and discover that your dreams are indeed possible.
Parvati is an award-winning musician (I Am Light, Electro Yog, Yoga In The Nightclub), yogini (YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine), author (Aonani of Avalon, Confessions from Your Awakened Self) and founder of the not-for-profit Parvati.org. All her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS).More info: parvati.tv; parvati.org.