There once was a goddess made of fire. She towered high, enormous in her rage.
Her eyes burned in endless flames and she hurled balls of death and destruction to anyone who came near.
Anyone who threatened her.
Any contact with water would send her screaming as her fingers turned to smoke, her skin to ash. She guarded her black mountain range, ready to attack, just on the edge of the water.
The Fire regenerated her wounds, and without it she was pure darkness.
On her chest, a single black spiral, ending with a hole, a single space where something was missing.
Something she had forgotten.
So her Fire burned on, raging day in and day out, her eyes and mouth gaping holes, blazing yellow, hot, and endless.
Until one day, a young girl appeared who held the key to what was missing. In her small human hands, she held a tiny green stone, with a spiral on it.
And she reminded the goddess of who she was, and placed the stone back where it belonged, in the middle of the spiral, in the hole that had been forgotten.
Within moments the Goddess was restored, erupting in living life, flowers, creation, and glowing green. Her Fire went out, her body filled with lush tropical growth, and a smile returned. She was restored to who she truly was. A creative being.
This past week I sat with a smile wide, watching Disney’s newest animated feature, Moana. Written by the same team who brought us The Little Mermaid, and with music by Hamilton’s Lin Manuel, the movie was a throw back, traditional in form.
And of course, it was a musical, so I was in heaven.
Moana, the heroine, sang soaring notes, as she sailed the sea. And she sailed with one mission:
To restore the heart, and lift darkness from the land so her island would grow again.
And not only grow, but her people would remember who they truly are. To embrace their ancestry, and return to exploring.
But in order to restore, there had to be a moment before.
95% of second graders say they are Creative.
50% of 5th Graders say they are Creative.
By high school, only 5% of the students say they are Creative.
What happens in that stage from the 7 year old mind to the teenage years? How do we go from hands clutching colorful crayons to cutting off 90%?
I remember filling my pages in Creative Writing class in third grade, my pencil racing across the lined paper. I loved writing with all my heart. As I grew up, I got the very strong message that there was no career or money in writing, and my writing became more and more private. I would write poems for friends and loved ones as gifts, but my energy started to shift to my performance.
My journal entries became less and less frequent, my poetry only emerging for the holidays.
And a fire was building in me…one fueled by frustration, exhaustion, rejection, and comparison. I wasn’t where I wanted to be in my Performance Career and life. And I began to lash out, blame others, and believe I wasn’t worthy.
I began to believe I deserved to suffer, and I drew into isolation, too scared to share with anyone how much I was hurting.
And then my heart broke in a million pieces, as my life shattered. And in one giant flame, I burned to the ground.
And then something extraordinary happened……
It was when I began to write again that my Career took off. It was when I began to write again, I found my voice. It was when I began to write again, I discovered my deeper purpose, and stepped into the Creative I really wanted to be, launching my own company and empowering artists across the globe to success and acclaim.
In this creation, I wasn’t bound by the roller coaster of rejection and elation, feast and famine.
I was ready to explore again, and grow.
I was restored to the third grader who knew all along where her heart was at, and sang it loud and clear for all to hear, like Moana on the sea, with the stone in her hand.
So, what have you forgotten?
Which box of crayons do you want, in all their color and glory, and are you ready to pick them back up as an adult?
What is the 90% you have cut off to keep you safe in your blazing fire?
It’s so common to believe we are alone in our struggles, to believe we are Creative islands and must isolate and suffer. And we can build enormous black walls, stoking our fear, but this is not who you are.
No, you are something far more powerful.
Take a moment and remember. Restore your heart, by opening to your Creative beginnings, and exploring again.
In the 95% you knew, and it’s a memory away.