Permission to create and the whole notion of it has been on my mind over the last couple of weeks because I kept hearing about it from various sources. On a podcast where Matthew McConaughey talked about it, a book I’m reading (Big Magic) and some artists I follow. “You don’t need permission to create,” they essentially all said. This shot straight into my soul and then percolated there for a few days. Well of course I don’t need permission! I mean intellectually I get that, but hearing it repeatedly made me realize that for much of my adult life I have felt like I DID need permission to become a painter and boldly see where my creative spirit could take me. If I’m honest, I still get this weird feeling sometimes that someone needs to approve of and give permission for this whole creative art journey, I mean – who do I think I am becoming an artist and running an art business? Especially at the age of 50 when I’d been in the consulting business my whole career and never went to art school. I don’t know who this “permission-giving” someone is supposed to be - my husband, my kids, my parents, my friends? I’m lucky to have the support and encouragement of all those people. I think the person needing to give me permission and freedom is myself mostly. I’m the one that has held myself back in the past for the most part. Too much of that pleaser dynamic playing through from my childhood perhaps. That’s why I have a sign in my office from when I first started that reads, “The only one who can stop you is you.” I put that up four years ago when I started painting. Not because I believed it yet but because I hoped desperately it was true and that if I just didn’t stop, I could develop into the kind of creator and teacher I wanted to be. So I’m still working to free myself from this notion of permission when it comes to my art journey and business and creative life (actually maybe in all ways). As this excerpt in Big Magic says: “Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own. The poet David Whyte calls this sense of creative entitlement “the arrogance of belonging,” and claims that it is an absolutely vital privilege to cultivate if you wish to interact more vividly with life. Without this arrogance of belonging, you will never be able to take any creative risks whatsoever. Without it, you will never push yourself out of the suffocating insulation of personal safety and into the frontiers of the beautiful and the unexpected.” So how about you join me in declaring that we have permission or that permission isn’t even part of the equation in living a creative life...deal?
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