The countdown ends today!
Today is the last day to get the Creative Endurance video course when you pre order Creating Stillness (in the course we question common beliefs on creativity and replace them with new supportive mindsets) today we also turn our focus to the topic of feedback.
Over the last few days, we have been exploring 3 insights that I have harvested from the process of writing Creating Stillness in the last days before the book launches. Yesterday we explored story looking as sense making and the day before that it was our attention and energy- both are available on the blog if you want to revisit the mini lessons.
Intention as a
(an art journal page from my journal where I was exploring my intentions.)
For me this lesson is going to be an ongoing work in progress, in fact I might be writing this more for me than anything else. Tomorrow my vulnerability officially launches into the world. I know standing here today that this book will receive a range of feedback. Some will find parts that help and support them, many will appreciate having yet another voice cheering them on towards a new way of creating, and for some Creating Stillness won’t be for them.
I remember years ago a work friend saying to me “you just want everyone to be happy with you, but it’s never going to happen.” They were right. Like so many people my life’s unnamed and unexamined ambition had been to please other people. I really felt like if I received other people’s approval that I must be doing things right. I have come a long way but honestly this often is still my default position.
And here I am on the eve of putting myself out there. My words, thoughts, art, and ideas on display in black and white ready for the worlds feedback. Deep breathe. I have been asking myself what will I do when the wolves come to prey? How will I stay soft and open ready to truly listen to what is connecting with people and what’s not? What compass will I use to navigate this bumpy terrain.
Some of you have been in formal arts programs and endured the beast that is “criticism.”
Many of you have been in formal programs of study where grades are assigned, and competencies gauged. I also see lots of you publicly sharing and showing your creations on social media, your best work, your mistakes, and your learnings posted for all to see, a public diary of art reduced often to a tiny heart of accolade.
You feel me, you have been there I know, and thank god for that.
I have already tested the waters with feedback on this book when I sought endorsements and had folk’s beta read it amongst other early readers. The process gave me some instincts about feedback in general and how we can be creatures seeking learning, insight, mastery and authenticity in the realm of other people’s opinions.
Let me set a scene for you…
I sought out a prominent expert’s endorsement and they responded with a nasty retort because I hadn’t sourced them in my book. In the same day someone who pre-read the book shared with me in tears how life changing the ideas were, while another used this as a chance to critique me as a person not commenting on the work but rather who they perceive me to be.
And then shortly after all this a magical email came, an endorsement from Jack Kornfield along with his feedback about the book (I didn’t even know he was reading it let alone going to give me feedback!) His words were kind, generous, and his critical insight was so helpful and aligned with my own intuition about where I could grow. He keenly could read through the lines and see where I was people pleasing and where the writing was pleasing me. It was the best feedback I have every received.
This swinging pendulum had me reeling for a bit, but then I pulled back and took a wider gaze. I squinted my eyes and blurred out the words and tried to read the spirit and the energy of the feedback. When it focuses on the work itself, I can see my role it in and take ownership. But when it is flooded with pain, ego, or the like I am not sure it’s even possible to wade through what’s relevant.
And this feels helpful and true. But it's incomplete. I think feedback only works if I am clear on my intention first and let this help me determine the best action. I might be getting great feedback but if it isn’t aligned with my deepest desires, it will only be a red herring pull me astray to other people’s desires. I can’t be everything to everybody, but I can be the truest most authentic version of myself.
When I reflect on my deepest intentions in this work, it is always to go deeper, make more connections, green and grow into my own roots, and to support others to do this work too. I want to keep creating for myself and show others how they can create for this way too. I want to keep listening and be open, I want to make everyone happy, but I know this isn’t possible.
All I am left with is my deepest intentions which are my guide. And the energy of the feedback that others share with me. Strip the rest away and here it is.
Explore Your Intention as a Filter for Feedback
What is your deepest intention in this life? In other words what does the wise part of you most seek in every interaction, touch point, and action you take? If you don’t have clarity on this right now, post this question up somewhere you will see it frequently. Explore it in your mediations, journaling, art making etc. Let it ruminate and wait for clarity.
Before you let the feedback and energy of other’s opinions of you, or your creations in, hold this intention close first. Ask yourself do you want to meet this energy; does it help you move closer to your deepest intentions?
A simple formula for a difficult thing. I don’t think it makes it easier, but I think it offers clarity in the maze. Because of this experience I now know how I want to give feedback and have a mechanism for receiving it.
I hope you like the book. If you don’t I welcome your feedback, and I promise to bring it through my filter and my quest towards going deeper and finding more connections through my words and art and helping you to do the same.
Today is the last day to get the freebie. Tomorrow Creating Stillness is born and I am taking some time off to rest.
Thank you for being here and celebrating with me.
Grab the course and book here (offer expires March 7th 2023!)