Gut Check | What are you afraid of?

Gutcheck Image by Michael Lagocki
Fear is the enemy of art and it comes in different flavors.

And no matter how tough we appear on the outside, we’re all afraid of something. Yet most often, we pretend as if we aren’t. Because it would seem if we acknowledge it, it might swallow us whole. (And it is much more fun to pretend in our heads that we’re Chuck Norris.)

As an artist, fear and the doubt that it produces, create daily battles. We fear failure, exposure, rejection. That if we were to admit it…we aren’t really good enough.

If we truly love our art…if it matters to us…then we have a lot to lose. And each time we put ourselves out there, there is the possibility that someone might think, “This is terrible.”

Hafiz–a Sufi teacher and poet in the 14th century–writes: “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.”

The best artists are courageous. They take risks in how much they reveal of themselves. Not because they banish all traces of fear, but because they “desire better living conditions.”

So do a “gut check.” (There is a reason we have the phrase “gut-wrenching fear.”) Can you identify your fear?  Expose it?  Fear likes to hide in the bushes trying to make itself bigger than it is.

Margaret Wheatley writes, “It is our curiosity that transforms fear. Most often it dissolves into energy that we can work with. And all because we were willing to develop a relationship with what at first, appeared so frightening.”

If you can learn to acknowledge your own fear and work alongside it, you aren’t guaranteed freedom from rejection, but you can be sure you have a better chance of creating something that matters.

–Cathy Hutchison


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