The biggest roadblock to our creative process is fear. But it’s an intangible fear, hidden deep within us. Our creativity is driven by insatiable curiosity; however, fear and all its baggage, is toxic to that process, depleting us physically, mentally and emotionally. Fear boxes us in and imprisons us, creating a feedback loop that continually feeds us frustration, anxiety and resentment.
The part of us that houses these thoughts and beliefs is our ego. Ego attachment to control blurs our creative vision and has a direct impact on our performances and creations. We overthink, second-guess and doubt ourselves, all of which completely overrule our creative process. The initial joy with which we began to learn a piece of music becomes overshadowed by fear of making a mistake, fear about memorizing the music or the tempo of the piece, and how we measure up to others; are we good enough?
In this state, we are unable to access the functions of the right brain necessary for creative flow. Creativity demands a balance between right brain imagination and left-brain organization. So, while fear can impact the right brain, ego attachment drives the left-cognitive skills.
Western culture encourages left-brain thinking, and our right-brain creative play has largely been replaced by structured activities for children., We have little time to ourselves and computers, cell phones and video games rob us of the whatever reflective time we may have left. Good solutions to accessing our depleted right-brain thinking include meditation, yoga and walks in nature.
But the elephants in the room in our heads that inhibit our creative expression lie in our sub-conscious beliefs behind a locked door. As noted by Dr. Bruce Lipton in his book, Biology of Belief, these elephants were “downloaded” into us before the age of seven, when we are developmentally like sponges, soaking up thoughts, habits, emotions from our parents and all with whom we interact, as well as our environment. According to Dr. Lipton and other neuroscientists, most of our decisions, actions, emotions and behavior depend on the 95 percent of brain activity that is beyond our conscious awareness.
The sub-conscious thoughts and beliefs drive everything we think and create. Even if the conscious mind repeats the mantra of how successful I can be, if my sub-conscious belief is that I will never amount to anything, well… which one is going to win? The 95%!
I recently coached a young musician who was preparing for a concert and audition. For the last year, she has been struggling with overwhelming anxiety stemming from a belief that something will happen to her physically before she performs such as get the flu. This had rarely happened to her in the past, yet now these beliefs completely occupied her mind. Our session was very powerful, and she felt calm, positive and ready to “stay positive” about her health. But as our session was ending, she said “well, I just hope that one day soon, I will be able to feel confident and not let these fears control me.” Her sub-conscious was drawing her right back in to where she had shifted away from! As Lipton reminds us, our thoughts control our biology! Believe something hard enough and long enough, and it takes form.
Our present day environmental roadblocks include personal constraints from the network of people around us. If our sub-conscious has been programmed with negative patterns of thinking, negative feedback will stick to us like glue and fortify our subconscious beliefs. It’s amazing how many people I have coached over the years who still remember a harsh experience with a teacher that set a belief system in place that cripples them to the present day. One of the worst examples of this is a grade-school music teacher or church choir director telling someone they can’t sing.
Here are a few keys to help unlock the sub-conscious beliefs and patterns of behavior, enabling us to reprogram the sub-conscious. As Wayne Dyer said, FEAR is an acronym standing for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” It’s very important to look deeply at the attitudes and beliefs surrounding a particular roadblock and surrender the self-defeating attitude. This is the first key. The second key is to have compassion, love and forgiveness toward ourselves to nurture our creativity.
Some key questions to ask ourselves concerning roadblocks and attitudes are:
As you begin to identify your “elephants” allow yourself to voice what you want to replace them with. For instance, if you worry about being sick, shift your thoughts and beliefs to “I am healthy and well.” If you always worry about being good enough, shift to “I am perfect as I am in every evolving moment.”
Identifying these thoughts and emotions is part one of the process. The second, and most important part, is believing them. Here are a few self-searching questions to ponder:
Love, compassion and forgiveness for ourselves is vital for reprogramming the sub-conscious and establishing a new “biology of belief” within every cell and fiber of our beings. And for them to become habit, we must work at planting these new empowering beliefs of trust, compassion, love and forgiveness within our thoughts and hearts continually through our days. Incorporate these beliefs into your daily living. They allow you to step into the present, out of the past-future loop of the old patterns and the ego.