use the voice

Calling the authentic Creator out of hiding

Month: June, 2012

Hiding is an illusion (part 1)

You think we can’t see you, but we can.

Maybe you don’t even see you. Thinking that you are easily drifting somewhere in the status quo, dealing with your everyday problems, making your small triumphs, getting through the day, and that’s it.

But it’s not, is it?

I used to be an insomniac. It started in my early teens due to a mix of hormones, bad health choices and an overlying restless depression. While I taught myself to fall asleep out of necessity, it came back in my early 20’s. I was clear of the hormones of puberty, most of the drugs and junk food, but like an old t-shirt I didn’t have a change of clothes for, the restless depression remained. During the day I had great friends, a job, a lifestyle. Everything was deceivingly peachy until I’d go to bed and stare at the ceiling and feel that terrible, haunting feeling.

Something is missing.

Like a fire in my belly, knawing at me. The Voice, a seething creature trying to get out, and me, helpless to heed its call, pleading, “What do you want from me? I’m doing everything right, right?!”

Right?

We hide to be safe. We hide out of necessity, tucking the most essential, vulnerable, brilliant parts of us away until life is deemed more welcoming, less volitile. The problem is that some of us do this from such an early age, we don’t know life without hiding. We might even forget that the Voice we are working so hard to protect is even there. Try to convince ourselves that life as-is is good enough, because it is for everyone else, right?!

Right?

The first step to letting your creative Voice out of hiding is to acknowledge it is there and it is important, no matter what everyone else seems to be happy surviving on. It won’t leave you alone until you do. I didn’t shake the depression until I connected to the Voice and it will creep in again anytime I waver on my commitment. I have come to know my creativity as a life force, my life force, if I’m not letting it out, I feel less alive.

The conditions will never be perfect, just like you. What if today is the day to finally let it out?…

(more in Part 2)

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Become a focus heavyweight

I have a theory that it isn’t talent, purpose or even passion that makes a creative practice thrive. While all these things are behind what makes it meaningful and fufilling, it’s been my experience that there is one major factor to seeing your work through:

Focus.

Focus, it’s an enigma in our digital day and age, where we are granted stimulation every 15 seconds to make us think we are busy, productive and socially engaged. And maybe we are, the problem is when it comes time to partake into a creative process (note the word process and not “job” or “task”), we must allow our internal ideas to penetrate our action in what is often revealed as an illusive and non-linear experience. It takes a different kind of attention span to be creative, not only in time spent, but also in doing our work consistency.

Every time I take on a new project or I am learning a new method I know it’s going to be bumpy until I build my focus. The first burst is awesome, I am filled with the momentum of inspiration and vision and I’m certain I’m a genius. Until, inevitably, I slam into my first block. Or second, or third…What happens then?  What happens when you can’t get the right soundtrack to your day, or you feel tired, discouraged or “out of sync”?

While the romance of art is essential and important, I think it’s like a one night stand if you don’t have your method down: when push comes to shove, having clear focus will see you through.

I see it like a muscle, you have to build it, even if it means being mechanical sometimes. When I was writing the first draft of my Sci-Fi feature last summer, I got up at 6am every morning for months until I finished the draft. There would be days where I was nodding off at the computer, or my writing was totally useless, but I knew the dicipline was key – building the focus would assure me that the project would get done. And it did, after many failed attempts of getting a first draft done, I saw it through, and built the focus to work on the second draft without having to get up early.

Building focus is a testament to your original inspiration: the Voice. It’s the way to build a type of structure for your impulses to see themselves through. Maybe it’s a time of day that you devote daily or weekly, maybe it’s a group you meet with or a room you go to. Patiently, consistently building the muscle is one of the best ways to honor the Voice that wants to be heard.

How do you build and hold your focus?

It begins by starting

The beginning of any new project is daunting, there is no question. The blank page staring at you, waiting to be pierced into being-ness by a stroke of your words (or lines, paint or image, depending on your medium). The great passage from idea into action, risking it all to make manifest what would otherwise remain an impulse, an idea.

Why is it so difficult? It has been my experience that when something is simply a spark in your brain, it feels pure, protected. You can control every edge of it, ensure it’s remains untainted and even predict its undeniable success, as long as it doesn’t touch ground.

So what happens when it touches the ground?

Usually it becomes less perfect. Like when blood meets the oxygen of the outside world, it changes colour. It doesn’t match the original image or the feeling, it takes on a life of its own often with unforeseen challenges and questions. For some, they react by abandoning it, interpreting the lack of control as a fault of their ‘talents’, which have failed them due to an inability to render the original intention.  For others, they will forget the original impulse and let the creation run amock, not offering it the proper guidance as it meets the eyes and ears of the world and moulds to their pre-set ways.

Either way, the Voice can be lost. When I say the Voice, I mean the essence of the original impulse.

Thus I introduce this blog.

Use the Voice is about coming out of hiding and being our authentic selves as creators. After years as a practicing filmmaker, artist and spiritual teacher, I’ve learned a lot of what it takes to build a consistent, empowered creative practice. I also still feel like I am restarting everyday, re-commiting and confirming that the artistic path is valid, worth it and essential. Both sides of the coin have created a passion for the process, leading me to seek new insights and tools around every corner from fellow adventurers. Now, more then ever, with the world in the tenuous point that it sits, I feel a pressing in of this truth:

It is our time as creators.

I believe the world needs us and we need each other. By practicing my own feat of being seen by showing up everyday on this blog, I hope to inspire and learn with you how to get even better.

So…let’s begin…