Grandparent Your Ideas- Part 2
Anyone who has worked in creative pursuits knows ideas flow best when you begin in a relaxed, loose state of allowing. That’s why inspiration often comes in the shower or when you are driving because you’re usually less constricted at those times. When you aren’t trying so hard to make something happen, ideas tend to just appear out of nowhere.
In her video here, author and writing coach, Lauren Sapala, explains that the single worst thing a writer can do is to pressurize their writing. Which means placing responsibility on their writing to prove something to the world or reflect to them their own worthiness.
Knowing this, we can actively seek ways to take the pressure off our creative pursuits. This is where we draw on the energy of grandparenting. Grandparents have the luxury of being able to freely appreciate their grandchildren without the responsibility of keeping them alive or micromanaging how they behave in the world. And I believe you can also experience the freedom of appreciating your art without feeling like you’re solely responsibility for keeping it alive or micromanaging its reception in the world too.
This freedom all hinges on one word: responsibility. Just look at the definition of the word and you can clearly see how it can suck the life out of things.
Responsibility: “Having an obligation to do something; having control over someone.”
Ugh. Now do you get why this might squelch the energy of your creative love child? As a writer when I’m in the process of creating, I’m generally alone and the only true obligation I feel is to myself. Which means the only person I feel responsible for controlling is me.
And yet I noticed when I started thinking about publishing my book, I suddenly felt my sense of responsibility shifting. And guess where it landed? On other people. I suddenly felt the need to get people to buy my book and read it and like it and share it; to sign up for my email list and visit my website and like my Instagram page.
In other words, I was desperately searching for a way to control of other people. And if you’ve ever tried to control other people's thoughts or opinions, you've probably found out the same thing I have: It’s pretty much impossible.
But I love my work, so doesn’t that mean I have an obligation to get other people to love it too? And if a lot of people don’t love my book, then doesn’t that mean they don't love me? Won’t their reaction be a direct reflection on my worthiness? You can see how enmeshed I was in the outcome, performance of my work. How much responsibility I felt for how people reacted to it once I took it out in the world and that felt like a drag. And a lot of pressure.
So, you’re probably wondering if I’m going to tap into my freedom by stepping back and detaching and just be the fun grandparent, who is going to do the grunt work of my parenting my book? I’ve decided to leave that up to the ever-present benevolent force way bigger than me. I call it the Universe or Source, but you can refer to it however you want. Basically, it’s the Force That Can Be Trusted because it’s the one who created that seed of inspiration in you in the first place.
Just for a moment, let yourself imagine what it would feel like to not have all the worry, all the sense of obligation to keep your dream alive by yourself. Wouldn’t that feel like relief? Wouldn’t it take the pressure off if you could leave the details of your story’s maturation up to someone else? To trust there was someone else out there who loved your idea as much as you? (It wouldn’t exist if this weren’t true.) Someone who would take care of it for you?
When you lighten up, relax your attachment to some perceived outcome, you have a much better chance of seeing that bird's-eye view, of hearing the whispers of inspiration that come when you’re in that chill grandparent mode. And from that place, you might even end up enjoying the next stage of your creative process a little more, just like a grandparent can sometimes enjoy a grandchild even more than a parent enjoys their own child.
So, I guess I’m asking you to shoot yourself through a time warp at different stages of your creative process. Allow yourself the experience of mothering your idea while it’s being formed. Let the seed gestate inside you. Don’t rush it. Revel in the delicious feeling of being pregnant with your story or whatever creative endeavor you’re pursuing. Then be willing to birth it out into the world. (You really don’t want to keep it in there forever, do you?)
But then, once that story baby is out, try skipping over that anxious, worry-ridden parent phase and age yourself to that sturdy, knowing place of a being its grandparent. A place where you can tap into all the crystallized knowledge, the instincts inside of you. The knowledge that guides you to love and appreciate and spoil the heck out of your adorable little achievement. You’ll be surprised at what inspiration comes when you hand off the worry to the Universe and zip off to the early bird special; also known as your next big idea.