Don't be freaked out -- it's not a spider, just a friendly cicada. Well, a cicada skin, actually. We found this very still little creature in the backyard, perched on the winter sled we never bothered to take inside. Upon closer inspection, we discovered it was empty.
(Let's ignore the freaky mental picture of a cicada climbing onto a sled, removing its skin and scurrying away, shall we?)
I guess you could say I'm trying to shed my skin, too. Lately, when I'm not wandering around the backyard looking for bugs, I've been working through The Joy Diet by Martha Beck. Part of the daily practices she recommends is to write down the painful stories that are playing in your head. You know, things like:
I'll never be a good enough writer, so why do I even bother?
This is so embarrassing, I don't even know why I'm trying.
Or the classic...
I'm not a real writer.
The funny thing about these stories is that we often don't even realize they're there. In my head, these thoughts aren't loud. They're more like whispers on a loop, playing over and over until they feel like reality.
But they're not reality. They're just stories we made up, and we can make up better ones.
Getting them down on paper is the first step towards wiggling out of these painful beliefs. Then, she recommends asking yourself three questions:
- Can I be absolutely sure my painful story is true?
- Is my painful story working for me? Is it improving my life?
- Can I think of another story that might work better?
It seems simple, but doing this teensy bit of journaling every day has really helped me loosen these thoughts so I have room to write without worry.
What practices do you use to free your creative self?