Life moves us to see and express the beauty of the universe, the beauty of ourselves.  As human beings we are like fingers on a hand, individual and unique, but all moved by the life force of one heart.  So although it looks as if we are in separate bodies, we are not isolated from each other.  We all move from the source and substance of all life.  Our minds can’t comprehend this, it is through our unconditioned heart that we allow ourselves complete freedom to create.

When I was young, I loved music, the violin in particular.  So my parents bought me a half size violin and signed me up for lessons.  If you’ve ever tried to play the violin or heard someone start to play, you know the painful sounds that one little person can force out of four strings.  But it’s a funny thing how although I knew there were awkward sounds coming out, I could hear the potential of beautiful music, so I kept at it.  Bless my parents for putting up with the noise and for hearing the potential as well.  At least I think they did!

So as I took more lessons and practiced, I got better.  On occasion a note actually sounded promising.  There was joy in hearing the strings resonate with each other in unique sounds, and I strived to create more.  But somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea that playing without mistakes was the most important thing.  So practicing began to take on a quest for note perfection, no mistakes allowed.  When I found myself in a very competitive music school, this drive for perfection intensified to the point that much of my self worth became dependent on how well I performed without making mistakes.

Needless to say, the joy of creating resonant sounds was pushed to the background as unimportant and useless.  The underlying push was that I needed to perfect my playing so that I could get into a good orchestra to make money when I left school.  Of course, there were many times of feeling great love and joy in the midst of all the music that surrounded me.  And for many musicians this type of training was just right to fulfill their passion.   But for me, the constant whisper (and sometimes yells) from teachers, peers, and society was translated by me that I wasn’t good enough.  Whatever that arbitrary good enough was.  Eventually playing violin lost its juice, and I dropped out of the classical music world.

By not fully listening to my heart, I see now how my mind created a standard that I couldn’t possibly reach.  This caused much pain for me by spilling over into perceiving myself to not be good enough for anything.  The truth is, I’m not designed to be a professional classical musician.  That was a lovely idea that was born from my love of music, and it was its own journey that helped me grow in so many ways.  But it took me a long time to hear the rather clear message that by following that one difficult path at all cost, I was squeezing out my own natural creative expression and coming up dry.

Now when I pick up the violin, simple melodies show up, I listen to the resonance of a single note, two notes together, loud, soft, gentle, whatever arises, whatever sounds.  It may not make money, it may not be heard by anyone, it may not be valued by society, but it is authentic.  Its source is the vast unconditioned movement of creativity from the heart. Every one of us has endless creativity ready to be birthed.  May we all fully allow that movement to swallow us in its splendor and to share with each other its expression.


13 thoughts on “Creativity

  1. So heartfelt and true, Lorraine. Great of you to share your experience trying to be a professional violinist. Must have been tough and taken so much of the joy of creating music right out of the whole experience. So much pressure to be perfect and achieve!

    I had the same thing happen to me when I tried to make art into a career and studied graphic design. I grew to hate doing art because I felt I wasn’t good enough and was so overly sensitive to every criticism or low mark. All the constant competition, comparison and trying to measure up took its toll and I never did work as a graphic designer. I fell into desktop publishing which was safer and okay work but not that thrilling.

    I think you have to have a very thick skin and a big ego in order to survive in the art world as a profession. Now I am going to take a life drawing class this Friday just for fun. I always thought my figure drawing was pretty bad when I measured it against the other students. This Friday I’m not going to do that and will just enjoy the creative process which is where the joy resides as you said. Even if we don’t make money or have an audience clamoring for us, just the act of creating and enjoying that process is more than enough, right?

    • Cat, how wonderful to see you here! I’m so happy to hear that you’re taking a drawing class just for yourself. And wow, your creativity is amazing–art, music, writing, baking, photography…. 🙂
      It’s nice to share all this with you because I feel like MV was a place that nurtured our art. We all wrote those stories for the joy of it and for sharing with like-minded people. Very satisfying and fun! Let me know how that art class goes for you. Maybe you’ll post some of your art work sometime? Would love that. ❤

  2. “Its source is the vast unconditioned movement of creativity from the heart. …  May we all fully allow that movement to swallow us in its splendor and to share with each other its expression.”

    Beautiful. I’m reminded of: “If you want to hang onto nirvana, keep giving it away as fast as you can.” Creative expression is giving it away!

  3. Lorraine, your article is so beautifully thoughtful and well written.
    I always wanted big success and lotso $$$$ from my artworks….now I know making art has brought me a lot of happiness and that is the best payback of all.
    Creativity is the soul dancing with the imagination.

    • Mimi I always love when your soul dances with your imagination because both of them in you are so big and delightful! I love you art. Always makes me smile!

  4. Lorraine, one long sustained note from your violin, played for the sheer joy of the sound, without any other agenda, resonates to the core of me. And love to hear you now play mandolin… in your own unique soft style. 🙂

  5. Dear Lorraine,
    I finally figured out how to get to this website to read your stories. Both of the ones I read (this one about the violin, and the one about mom) are wonderful! It’s so true that often we get caught up in the competitiveness and ambitions of the world, which spoils doing something just for the beauty and enjoyment of it. You have so many talents, combined with a very loving heart. I’m so glad you could spend time with mom. I’m also happy that you have time to pursue things that you love doing (writing, playing mandolin, meeting with friends for tea, etc.). I am also enjoying getting together with others to talk about the deeper things of life, play chamber music just for fun, and go for walks in the nearby woods. Yesterday I noticed that the snowdrops are already out, even though it’s still only January. They are so small, delicate, and beautiful!
    Much love, your sister, Danae

  6. Oh, I love how you describe the snowdrops! Appreciating the miracle of nature is one of the gifts mom opened up for us, and I so appreciate that. Thank you for your sweet comment, dear sister. I so honor how you’re finding what is most meaningful to you in your life. I appreciate how you’ve always brought your music out of the practice halls to share with others, and I know you’ve touched many with your passion. Love you. ❤

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