Seth Godin recently said
…if you stopped actively sabotaging your own work.
We must be talented, powerful and resilient creatures indeed given how much we manage to produce despite the constant undercutting, ridicule and needless censorship we aim at ourselves.
Self criticism has been a constant battle for me my entire life. I can pretty much nail down every huge life trial, and hindsight will show how it was either caused or made worse by this very factor.
As a pianist, I was never as good as [blank]
As a composer I would never write as moving of a work as [blank]
As a missionary for my church, I was never righteous and holy enough. My heart was never soft enough.
As a person, I was never thin enough, never pretty enough, never funny enough, never smart enough…
Seth’s right… its amazing what we still produce despite the constant ridicule and “needless censorship we aim at ourselves”.
So how do we get rid of the censor?
Because if we were able to produce, create, and contribute without it–we could be AMAZING. UNSTOPPABLE. INSPIRATIONAL.
Julia Cameron’s theory for recognizing and ridding ourselves of the censor in order to allow us to move forward is detailed in an amazing daily ritual in her book, The Artists Way.
First of all, the book has changed my life. FOREVER. This book is for every person. Creative or not. (cause secretly, we’re all creative, and secretly, we all need to get past the sensor.)
She introduces the idea of “morning pages”. A simple journaling exercise of daily writing stream of conscious thought for 3 pages. (I type for ten minutes). The stream of conscious thought is important. Because we aren’t to edit, correct grammar, think through typical writing structure or write for an audience. There is no audience. We can be honest. We can give voice to what is on our conscious (or as I often discover, the subconscious).
She points out that often what comes through are the words of the censor. That voice that keeps us from being productive and amazing. The voice that holds us back. As we habitually give time to let the censor speak we start to recognize it for what it is, and eventually we start to write and not care about the censor anymore. We start to discover awesome things. We start to generate solutions to our life’s problems. We start to discover our own capacity to create and make a difference in the world.
It sounds kind of corny. But it works.
BOY DOES IT WORK.
I’ve been religiously doing morning pages for almost two years. It has changed my life. I can not imagine my life without it and would sooner give up my right arm before letting go of my morning pages.
It has made a complete difference. Both in my creativity, as well as my personal life.
For me… this is my personal secret formula for revelation and inspiration.
I’m thoroughly convinced that everything we need to know to solve life’s problems and move forward creatively in our lives is already in us. That blasted censor just gets in the way and keeps us from trusting ourselves, listening, and discerning truth. All the more need to habitually find a way to move past it and recognize it for what it is. Because when we do… the sky’s the limit on what we can do.
What helps you get past the censor?
Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. There are not a lot of things she is capable of doing on a daily consistent basis besides eating and sleeping. Journaling the morning pages has excitedly made its way into the daily ritual and makes just as great a difference as being fed and well rested. All ingredients for a happy and productive life.