Once upon a time, I taught prenatal yoga classes. At some point during our journey together one of my students would ask about contractions during labor. I would explain that in my experience, it felt like a blood pressure cuff was being tightened around my belly from the inside out and every instinct was telling me to curl up and hold my breath. What I learned is the trick to coping is to do the opposite. Take a deep breath, think about opening, think about being one step closer to meeting my little creation and let go of the fear and discomfort.
This applies to the creative process too. Staring at a blank canvas or white paper can cause my throat to close; my shoulders to lift and round forward; my palms to sweat. Sometimes my chest feels tight.
Knowing that I want to create something but not sure what I want to make or knowing what I want to make but being afraid I can’t do it is paralyzing. Ugh! It’s just like labor. Then I remember what I need to do. I focus on my breathing and give in to the process. I’ve learned that I have to start somewhere. The more I resist and tighten the worse it is. So I breathe, I put some type of mark on my page, then another and another until whatever I am birthing that day presents itself.
It is messy? Sometimes. It is scary? Sometimes. Is the result worth it? Usually. I either make something I truly think is fantastic or I learn things that will help me do “better” next time. I wouldn’t have it another way.
How do you get through the fear stage? I’d enjoy hearing.