To Thine Own Self Be True

As an artist, it's often difficult to keep to your vision. Everyday we are pulled away in different directions. We are bombarded with all manner of suggestions and advice: “Do this if you want to make more money,” or, “Do that if you want to be more famous.” Every internet guru has something to sell you to make your career better.

And it's not just the internet, but friends and family too. While they may be well meaning (or not), they will often go out of their way to offer unsolicited suggestions on our artistic endeavors. It's easy to feel like we are being tugged in a thousand directions, so much so that we can't focus on our art.

Practicing the Sacred

What's an artist to do?

The first thing to do is not to listen to advice or suggestions unless you've asked for them. And even if you ask for advice, you need to weigh the merits of the advice given, vs what you know to be true about your art. We are deep inside what we do. Everyone else if far outside that bubble. Even with a critical eye and ear, outsiders can't know the full extent of what we do, what we see, what we hear, what we feel.

As artists we are usually thinking 4, 5, 6 or more steps beyond where we are currently working. We can see the vision, see where it's leading, and often see the end result. No one else can. 

This is where having a regular practice, both connecting to our art and inspiration, and actually working on it, is important. This connection can sustain us even when we're not sure where we are going. This connection can be a bridge to an unknown outcome. And even if we're sure of where we are going, this connection can show us the way to get there, even when no one else can see it.

Who's art is this after all?

What you do—good, bad, or indifferent—is yours and no one else's. As difficult as it may be at times, we need to stay the course and be true to our artistic visions. If we truly approach our art as a spiritual practice, then we need to respect it and nurture it. We need to treat it as the sacred thing it is. 

When you feel pulled off course by others, listen to the voice inside. Listen and follow what it tells you, not what others tell you. They don't know what you know.

~ MB


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