Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ~ C.G. Jung
Many creative types tend to be introspective. According to Merriam Webster introspection can be understood this way:
In-tro-spec-tion (n.) a reflective looking inward : an examination of one’s own thoughts and feelings.
Introspection is interesting, it can become rather obsessive and addictive. I’m introspective by nature…and when not being introspective, I’m extrospective – examining the world outside me. So, while watching y’all I’ve noticed, introspection can be like quicksand. People get in, but have a great challenge trying to get out. Sometimes they can no longer interact with the world…going under…that’s bad. Still, it’s important, nay, essential, to understand oneself and our place in the world. It’s especially important to creative types because part of the art we create springs from that very introspection. But, as art critic and philanthropist John Ruskin said,
“A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel.”
And he should know…he looked at oodles of art and thought… A LOT.
So how do we wade through the quicksand and get out safely? I’ve made a “life-saver” observation while in a time of extrospection…EXPERIENCE COUNTS.
It’s a bit like when you start a new job or take on a new responsibility. You have any given number of balls and are expected to keep them in the air…at least the important ones. But, since you aren’t sure which are important, you juggle, like a caffeinated clown. As you gain more knowledge and confidence, you realize some of the balls can take a rest, and that you can take a breather. Introspection is like that. While some realizations may seem looming and huge, that doesn’t include every single notion we conjure. As you get older – ah, here’s yet another benefit – it becomes more apparent where to put our energy, what notions to tend to, what can wait.
As we gain experience we learn how to extricate ourselves from being mired in the quicksand of introspection.
We realize the value of extrospection and can lace the two together knowing how to bring the best of ourselves, our talents, our voice and the needs of others together, to be a formidable asset to the world. It’s the gift, the payoff, for having gone through the fire in our youth.
So please, cherish your introspective time, enlist it to create, express and own who you are. Taking that time allows your authenticity to shine through in your work. AND also, take some time to observe the world, to extrospect. Find how you can help. Introspection and extrospection work so well together. The perfect marriage.
I’ll be waiting for my wedding invitation,