I have long admired Chris Zydel, her approach not only to creativity, but to life as well. Chris runs Wild Heart Painting workshops that use an intuitive approach in Oakland, CA and other locations.

Here’s what she had to say in her post, “Breaking Through Your Creative Joy Ceiling” 

“There is an issue that comes up again and again and again in my many painting circles, which is the idea that happiness and joy and ease and pleasure are not REAL spiritual and emotional work.

And not to be taken seriously.

Because of this belief, there’s an impulse to be constantly looking and digging for what is painful or difficult or challenging as you are creating, because that’s where the REAL art comes from.

Of course, I call bullshit on all of this.

This attitude is just another version of the starving artist syndrome, except in this scenario artists believe they have to starve themselves of joy.

Also, opening yourself to the power of joy can be TERRIFYING. Because on some level it is the most transformational energy of all.

We learn not to trust our joy because joy makes us vulnerable. Joy means we are open to life. And open to possibly being hurt. Many of us got all kinds of messages growing up about how joy wasn’t safe. Or welcome. Our joy was part of our natural exuberant expression as children and was often seen as threatening or too much. We were also told that joy can’t be trusted and that it won’t last or will lead to even greater disappointment when it inevitably goes away.

So we stuff our joy, Sit on our joy. Close ourselves off to our joy as an automatic and unconscious response.

And deny ourselves the deeply soul nourishing experience of being fed by the energy of joy.

I’m always SO excited when someone reaches the point in their creative process when they begin to challenge these old patterns around stifling joy and find themselves at the edge of their joy ceiling. Because when that happens, it always means that they are ready to break on through to the other side into a greater experience of liberation and a deeper connection with their life force energy.

Which then leads to an increasing capacity to experience more and more joy.

I know it can sometimes be hard to believe… but joy is our birthright. We were MEANT to feel joy on a regular basis. Joy doesn’t have to be hard or complicated or rare.

But it does need a matrix within which it can grow and thrive.

And that matrix includes doing the things that we love… like making art… on a regular and ongoing basis. Surrounding ourselves with folks who can SUPPORT our joy by embracing their own joy. And healing the limiting beliefs and ancient messages we have internalized around being worthy of our joy.

If you nurture your joy, your joy will nurture you and continue to grow and blossom into a robust and thriving force of endless goodness in your daily life.