Art and I used to be best friends. Constant companions, always together no matter what. Art—not a person, but making art, creativity, drawing—was a part of me, from the time I was a little kid until I was a teenager. I loved art, and art seemed to love me.
Then art and I broke up.
The fault was entirely mine. I suffered from ego problems, though not the oversized ego that some creative people seem to think is a right. My ego was too small, which is just as much of a problem. Thinking you’re not good enough is still thinking about yourself too much, instead of focusing on the thing you’re busy saying you’re not good enough at.
Over many years I tried to reconnect with art, but I still had the same problem: my ego got in the way. It judged everything I tried to do, and with a level of harshness akin to bathroom tile cleanser (with bleach).
I couldn’t power through it, so I’d give up, and my lack of persistence and dedication only bolstered the self-judgement.
Yoga helped save me from these Samskaras, or endless cycles of suffering. Not just the physical practice of Yoga; I’m talking about Yoga’s spiritual tools:
Maitri, or kindness, helped me stop beating myself up for having typical human problems.
Ishvara Pranidhanan, self-surrender, showed me how to stop focusing on my ego and turn my attention to something bigger, Divine guidance.
Bhakti, or devotion, was a path to doing something not for myself, but because it might bring joy to others.
Sutra 1.14 reminded me to never give up.
Asana, the physical practice, helped me to unplug the endless litany of thoughts going through my head, and learn to focus.
Art and I are now friends again. My first love is writing and always will be. My latest book, on the spiritual tools of Yoga will be coming out in Spring 2018. And when I’ve finished another chapter and I’ve done the Asana practice that eases the aches from hours of sitting, Art, my beloved friend, is there for me, waiting to give me a greater sense of Yoga—union—with the creative divine.
If you’d like to take some art lessons, check out Sketchbook Skool. I started making art again after many years thanks to their fun, encouraging lessons. Now I write their blog! (I don’t receive a commission for referrals, which means this recommendation is from the art-loving heart.)