I once attended a Compassionate Communication training with a welcome that has stuck with me for years. This greeting is also what has me thinking about how much of who we are is present in our creative work.
Here's the Welcome:
You are welcome here.
Every part of you is welcome in this space.
- Your excitement to be here is welcome
- Your caution and nerves of being here is welcome
- Your gender is welcome here
- Your race, ethnicity, color of your skin, hair texture, and traditions are welcome here
- Your ability and disabilities are part of this space
- Your experiences and the stories that capture them are all welcome here
- The part of you that is incredibly proud of who you are is celebrated and welcomed here
- The part of you that is shy or ashamed is welcome here and there is space for it
- ALL of your comfortable and uncomfortable feelings are welcome here
- The parts of you that are still unknown and becoming are welcome here
- Your hopes and dreams are all welcome here.
- Your fears and hesitations are welcome here.
- How you have shown up today, is welcome here.
All of you, exactly as you are, is welcome here.
Take a deep breath noticing what it feels like in your body to know that you are fully, wholly welcomed.
I remember when I first heard this, it felt a little awkward, and then the intention behind it slowly sunk in. This greeting centers the whole person. It took a minute to try on how it might feel to be BOTH fully welcomed and fully seen for all that I am, all of the pieces that make me, welcomed in a space.
This greeting highlights that we are whole beings in a world that does not always welcome the whole of who we are. It brings to mind how many spaces we may slightly or drastically shift who we are so that we pass enough to be welcomed.
I like to think that more and more spaces are being courageously and radically created to see and welcome the whole person. Whether it is friends' homes, family events, community gatherings, and even our creative spaces.
This idea has shifted my own creative process. It has made me question if all of me is welcome in my own creative work.
Here are the questions I've been pondering:
What if all of you were welcome in your creative process?
- What would you create?
- What would you be making more space for?
- What would be different?
- What type of representation would your work be creating in the world?
- How would it feel different?
Are these questions tough for you to answer?! They are for me!
I feel a push and pull between wanting to be welcomed by as many people as possible and my pieces landing in as many spaces as possible even though I may be editing to be more palatable... and yet, I get so excited about the idea of boldly, sassily, and cheekily just going for it! Allowing all of the real, sassy, introverted, theory-loving, mobility-challenged, social justice, and environment-loving person to fully take up as much space as I can in my creative process. Genuinely... What would that look like? It makes me so curious... and it is also something I'm craving.
I am still navigating what it means to welcome my whole self into my creative process. A part of me is still hesitant about being fully open, transparent, and honest about my internal world and how I take up and navigate physical space. And yet, at the same time I feel like I already have a welcoming space because creativity and play make this space available by default. Our authentic selves are expressive, creative, playful, and curious... I'm slowly embracing and learning that my whole self is already welcome in my creative work. There is already space, I just get to decide when I feel ready to fully take it up.
Finally, I get chills thinking about the impacts of more and more spaces and pieces created through full acceptance and belonging. When we welcome our whole selves and design/create from this space it also allows others that are like ourselves to fully see themselves represented. What if my radically welcoming space helps others welcome themselves?! Hell, yes! What if your writing, painting, song, or pottery helps me and others better embrace our own selves!? Hell, yes, again. AND, thank you!!!
We get to create welcoming spaces both internally and externally.
My friend, I HOPE that your creative process is a space that fully welcomes you! Let's keep artistic stuff weird, and oh so welcoming! Let your creativity be your warm welcome.