When’s the right time for a butterfly to emerge? At what point does an idea, piece of work, intention or practice benefit from being shared? It’s a fine line. The one between sharing something you have been working on too soon, or not putting it out there through a fear of exposure that ultimately also destroys the creative life. I walk this line a lot. Walking it right now. I publicized some of my poetry the other day on Facebook, thus opening up the possibility of people I know reading my stuff.
It was good to get some positive feedback, but this was outweighed by the sense that I’m not quite ready to bring my embryonic blog to the attention of everyone I know right now. This is not a forever statement. It’s a right now statement, one which acknowledges that I am at the stage of accumulating power and belief in my creative life, and that it is worth being protective of this space while it is still so vulnerable. Don’t crack a chrysalis before the butterfly is ready. That shit kills the winged life, to paraphrase William Blake. To kiss the joy as it flies, don’t be rushing the germination process. Equally, you can’t be trapping the life when it is ready to emerge. Tricky balance.
One way to tell if it is the right time to share, is recognising when work is being put out into the world because some part of ourselves is looking for external affirmation that what we are doing is good. This is a way of getting permission to carry on with it. the permission givers are located outside of ourselves. It’s a disaster because it is always unsustainable. If praise is recieved, the ego issues another demand for more. If it is not recieved, the ego can be sufficiently crushed to refuse permission to enter the space of freedom in which creativity thrives. It gets really hard to let go of the judging self. Steven Pressfield puts it like this,
“Resistance wants us to cede sovereignty to others. It wants us to stake our self-worth, our identity, our reason-for-being, on the response of others to our work. Resistance knows we can’t take this. No one can.”
Again, the dangers of seeking out external validation are not to be confused with the benefits of sharing embryonic work and processes in spaces of camaraderie that generate genuine insights. Did I mention the minuscule thinness of the line? Microscopic. I’m aware as I write this also of how vital it is to share work as part of a process of getting past fear of failure or rejection, which freezes action and prevents movement of any kind. The channel must be kept open. Now. How to tell the difference! I’ll keep working on that one. Hoping to let some butterflies free in the process.