May 17, 2012

Authentic Motivation

Teaching brings me creative and personal fulfillment. I reflect on the current topics and on my particular class of students, and then I piece together an activity, set of questions, helpful explanation, and/or interesting example (and perhaps some levity). 

Outside the classroom, I enjoy varied creative outlets. (These are the color in my life.)  My creativity takes many forms: photography, card making, journaling, cooking, poetry, gardening, and my blog. These are soul-filling activities for me. Yet they are also a place on which my comparing-mind latches. 

Here's an example of my comparing-mind: "Look at so-and-so's blog. She's way more creative than you are. Her pictures are more beautiful; her words are more powerful; and the layout of her blog is more interesting. She's an artist. You're a hack."

Sometimes my response is "but I'm a statistician! She's an artist by profession. That's not a fair comparison." Yet even that response is not authentic--it's defensive. It's a response meant to protect my vulnerable heart. It's a surface response and doesn't address the real issue. Here's the important question: why do I create? What is my authentic motivation?

The creative process keeps me in the moment, teaches me about myself, encourages me to experiment, and brings me joy. These reasons are my authentic motivation. When I'm centered in these motivations, then comparing-mind disappears (poof!). It's just me and the creative process (and no one else).

Comparing-mind flares not just in creative work, but in any and all places. Some varied examples of comparing-mind: "She's a more devoted mother than you." "He is much smarter than you." "She runs much faster than you." "He gets so much more done than you." "She has more publications than you." "He has more friends than you."

These are all versions of the same untrue, fear-based story: you are not okay just as you are. Yet they flare in all of us. It's us being human. When comparing-mind takes over my thoughts, I find it helpful to center myself in my authentic motivation. Why do I create? Why do I exercise? Why do I make cards for my friends? Initially, I get a defensive reaction, but if I sit still long enough, I access my genuine motivation: I create because it brings me peace and joy; I exercise because it feels good to move my body; I make cards for my friends, because I love them deeply. 

Once I reconnect with my true intention, there's an easiness and spaciousness. And with that gentleness I'm better able to serve my true self and serve others. I'm better equipped to interact with this beautiful, crazy, always-changing, awesome world.

No comments:

Post a Comment