We are delighted to welcome Jamie Ridler to our series of creativity interviews today. Over to you, Jamie!
What drives your creative work?
An unquenchable inner impulse. Ever since I was a kid I just had to create, create, create. I just love to turn an idea into a happening or a piece or a “something it wants to be”. Bringing an idea to life in the world, that’s magic to me.
What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and meet yourself at the beginning of your creative career?
Don’t worry. All of these threads, all of your interests and experiences, they will eventually come together and make sense. And the beautiful thing is – you don’t have to understand in order to make it happen. Just relax and enjoy what you’re doing. It will weave itself together before you and you will love what you see.
How do you keep creating when things get difficult?
Well, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes a whole lot of “hard” means what I need is a whole lot of “rest.”
And sometimes it’s not about taking a break; it’s about finding my way to staying with it, of keeping my bum in the seat, my heart in my chest, my self in the room. I’ve found that takes a whole lot of trust and a whole lot of breathing. When I’m feeling that tightening response to difficult, the impulse to cut and run, I start focusing on my breath and opening up my heart, softening my gaze a little bit and loosening my grip. Then I kind of let the work do its thing. As best I can, I get out of the way.
This is new for me. For a lot of my life I’ve tried to drive right through. Sometimes that works but more often something gets broken – sometimes that’s been me. Right now, as I’m starting to work on projects that are bigger than anything I’ve ever done before, breathing through it feels like the better option.
How does your creative work affect the rest of your life?
It’s essential. My life is an organic whole and it includes everything from my home life to my personal life to my entrepreneurial life to my creative life to my spiritual life. It’s like an ecosystem and the healthier each subsystem is the more the flow from one can nourish the other and the more vital and productive the whole becomes.
What is it like to send your work out into the world?
Tender and exciting. I have this deep belief that the world needs each of our gifts, that we were given our talents and interests and uniqueness in part so that we could make a special contribution. So when I’m making something from my heart and sending it out into the world, I know I’m fulfilling my purpose. At the same time, it’s incredibly vulnerable. What if those seeds land on the wrong soil? What if no one loves what I have made?
I read something recently from Mark Silver (http://www.heartofbusiness.com/
) that really helped me with this. He made the beautiful distinction between our heart and the gifts of our heart. As creative people we really identify with what we share so we often collapse this distinction, thinking that a rejection of our work is a rejection of our most sacred self. It’s not true. That is the work of our heart, but our hearts are safe within ourselves, always.
What was the best advice anyone gave to you?
I carry around lots of well-loved advice in my back pocket from many wise advisors. One of my favourites, one that’s helped me repeatedly, came from Alicia Forest (http://aliciaforest.com
): done is better than perfect.
Oh, yeah. I see it in my colleagues, my clients, my friends and myself. There’s this sticking point where we get caught both in our desire to create something exquisite and in our fear of actually putting it out there. That’s where “getting it perfect” turns into “not getting it done.”
Savour the joy and discover the confidence that grows when you find the courage to put it out there – even if it isn’t perfect!
What helps you to pay attention to the world?
My curiosity is a living, breathing, wide awake pixie that seems to need no rest! My creativity inspires me to engage with everything – to write about it, to think about it, to consider the possibilities, to photograph it, to doodle it, to wonder about it, to imagine it, to combine it, to look at it… whatever “it” happens to be.
More difficult for me is unplugging, dialing down, putting on a softer focus, taking a break from paying attention. Quiet, quiet, quiet. The past year has been really internal for me. I’ve needed much more of this disengaged time so that I could unwind, uncrinkle and rest. I love paying attention to the world so much that I can totally forget it wears me out.
Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us, Jamie.
Jamie Ridler is a creative living coach and the founder of Jamie Ridler Studios. From coaching to workshops, from podcasting to blogging, Jamie’s work helps women find the confidence and courage to discover and express their creative selves so they can be the star they are. Her main website is here, and you can also find her on Facebook & Twitter. Her podcasts are here & her ecourse is here.