Lately I have found myself surrounded by a new set of creative people. Not that I do not always have a gaggle of musicians, artists, and writers always around, but it is when I find myself in a new group of such people, people with amazing talents I might add, that I often question my own abilities and talents.
We all go threw different phases in which we randomly find ourselves in a new place with new friends who all show us amazing different parts of both themselves and ourselves. It is in these new environments and company that often we question our own selves and what we have and can accomplish. As I found myself surrounded by a group of people, one of which a family with an unending amount of musical talent, I found myself grasping for any way in which to express my own demons and angels and talents. Although instead of looking in the very obvious spots for my talents I wished and longed so to have some inkling of a musical bone in my own body. I wished that my sitar was up and running and that I had already spent months perfecting the beautiful sound. “Sure” I would tell myself, “I’m smart, and there’s not a theory that I can not understand, not a history book I have not devoured, nor is there a change in the way that mind sponges up information that passes threw it. Not to mention the way that I can flow in my yoga practice.” This was nothing short of a reassurance to my own mind and ego, nothing that I was being pompous, nor arrogant about.
I was grasping for any sense of artistic ability that I had, my drawing and painting was never something I really shared, and as far as me singing, well, outside of hiding in the back of the choir during high school, my Janis Joplin sounding, cold redden voice was nothing I really felt like embarrassing myself with. The lower I got the more I seemed to open myself up. I was writing in my journal ten sometimes twenty pages a night, just getting out my different events of the day, and running in so many circles that I eventually was seeing many of the fears and problems within my own self.
It was here at almost a point of giving up and giving in to the idea that I had no talent, where I was critiquing the ideas and talents of others, a brave and wonderful friend of mine looked at me and said, “Why don’t you go into journalism? I bet you would be great at it.” It was so nonchalant, so passive, but yet so hard and hitting. It was here that I said “yah, I think I will do that.” As I pondered and went over the idea in my own head I began to recognize my own creative outlet, writing.
The idea of a creative outlet is that when life gets you down or when things seem too tight on you, the creativity of your own talent allows you to express it. Janis Joplin would explain
“I’m a victim of my own insides. It used to make me very unhappy, all that feeling. I never seemed able to control it, to keep it down…My mother would try to get me to be like everybody else…and I never would. But before getting into this band [Big Brother], it tore my life apart. When you feel that much, you have super-horrible downs. But now, I’ve learned to make feeling work for me, through music. Man, if it hadn’t been for the music, I probably would have done myself in. I’m full of emotion, and I want a release. And if you’re on stage and if it’s really working and you’ve got the audience with you, it’s a oneness you feel. I’m into me, plus there into me, and everything comes together. You’re full of it. I don’t know. I just want to feel as much as I can. It’s not wise always, but it’s super-valid, and maybe its much wiser. Its what ‘soul’ is all about.”.
(As a side note to this quote, the idea of Tantric yoga is very into ‘feeling as much as you can’ and reaching enlightenment threw the idea of the senses, quite the opposite of the ideas presented most often in yoga and in the Bhagavad Gita.) Often we hear stories of tortured painters, musicians, and writers using their own talents to do the same.
Yes in the interest of yoga, because this is still a yoga blog, there is the idea of using one’s own practice to explore and expel the different pains and sorrows of ones life. Still, in this space it is often overwhelming to put all of ones problems on one practice. It can become more than heart-wrenching exploring all these hurts with them flashing before one’s third eye constantly. It is here when one should explore the idea of the second charka and open up the creative juices.
Yoga opens one up to everything in their life and forces you to deal with it. As Godfrey Devereux points out, “Yoga, yoga is not for the aversion of pain, it is to meet pain head on.” And when any one, any yogi is facing as much pain as can be had in this mayistic (illusionistic) world, it can be more than a bit devastating.
Being that I am a writer and in the Niyamas (relations with ones own self) part of the eight limbs of yoga, is Siddhanta Shravana (study, often time looked at as self study and that of the scriptures), I find that the best creative outlet is journaling. While lost to the ideas of your own thoughts in a special book with pen in hand there is no telling how and what will come out. Some times it can be a prose, or a beautifully written memories about the day, or even a poem, song, anything can come from just the freedom and privacy.
It seems that in order to learn all that the wonderful practice of yoga has to teach us, there needs to be additions to how we all practice, and how we are taught. The practice in it’s self should always be something personal, and something personalized, for we are all different expressions of the universe, we still have individuality and individual needs that differ from one to the other. In your own practice I suggest that you find your own way, outside of asana and other forms of yoga, in which to work out and deal with the druggy of emotions that often times a well rooted practice brings out! Namaste!