Creativity for the Rest of Us

Loving Good Enough, Part 2


I’ve been reflecting more about perfectionism and busyness since my last post.

Perfectionism is how we protect against the unwanted, unexpected, and uncomfortable that we don’t want to deal with or are afraid of. I will be safe and all will be well if everything in my life is planned, rehearsed, and in its proper place. If I follow the advice of the status quo, I cannot be blamed for mistakes. If I don’t stand out from the crowd, I will not be hurt or judged. If I focus on pleasing others, I will be accepted. These thoughts – consciously or not – underlie our desire for order.

It’s the same with the need to stay busy. Busyness protects us from feelings of uncertainty and being present to what’s happening right now. Driven by our lists, calendars, and itineraries we don’t leave any space or time to explore new ideas, bigger questions, or follow our curiosity off the beaten track.

Man plans and God laughs. – Unknown

These are both patterns of control based in fear. Fear of my own vulnerability – that I will somehow not be able to handle what shows up.  I could go on and on about fear.  Fear of losing control, fear of loss, fear of visibility, fear of my emotions.  Ultimately it all comes back to fear.

Whatever comes to my gate I can handle or else it wouldn’t be here.

– Angeles Arrien

On the other side of a control pattern is trust waiting to be claimed. Trust of self. Trust of the other person. Trust of the situation.

We strengthen self-trust when we:

  • open in times of uncertainty
  • look at new opportunities with a sense of adventure
  • approach new activities like a child learning something new
  • ask questions instead of judging, jumping to conclusions, or making up our own stories

These are all practices of self-trust that we can strengthen through practice. There is no magic elixir to swallow or time machine to arrive faster. It takes courage, vulnerability, and the willingness to be in a state of not knowing.

There are always two energies at work and two choices to make in every situation – love or fear. It’s easy to tell which one you’re in. Love expands and fear contracts.

Perfectionism is fear in better shoes. — Elizabeth Gilbert

Love and fear – creativity and control – cannot exist in the same space. Creativity needs air to breathe, room to move, and freedom to express. It needs us to trust ourselves, first and foremost. (Let’s not confuse control with creative constraints. Control stifles creativity. Constraints are the boundaries in which to express it.)

When we strengthen self-trust we can respond with our abilities, calling on our gifts and talents to meet each situation.

We’ll be exploring more on strengthening self trust and loving what’s good enough in my new program – Women at the Well – debuting as a New Year’s retreat Jan 2-4, 2015, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Look for the invitation coming next week.


One Response to “Loving Good Enough, Part 2”

  1. Lisa Hern says:

    wow, count me in on the retreat.

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