BrainPickings.org is a wonderful source of thoughtful material. Recently it quoted Kahlil Gibran on what inspires creativity in people. The thing that struck me from a quote of his was our innate desire to belong. Here is what Gibran wrote:
. . . there is no deeper desire than the desire of being revealed. We all want that little light in us to be taken from under the bushel. The first poet must have suffered much when the cave-dwellers laughed at his mad words. He would have given his bow and arrows and lion skin, everything he possessed, just to have his fellow-men know the delight and the passion which the sunset had created in his soul. And yet, is it not this mystic pain — the pain of not being known — that gives birth to art and artists?
What struck me from this quote was not only the desire to be known but to also be accepted. We do so often hide our light under a bushel for fear of ridicule. We have something to say, that we feel is important, that matters. Yet, if we reveal it, we place ourselves at risk. We may indeed be ridiculed. We risk being misunderstood. It is a difficult struggle between revealing what you believe or think, something deep in your core, and the possible outcome of being outcast.
This need to belong is a powerful, powerful force in our lives. It is so human. There need be no apology, for it is at our core. For many, certainly for the artist, the need to reveal oneself is more powerful than the need to belong. Sadly, it is only through hindsight that many artists’ contributions are appreciated. While alive they are often debased. How marvelous that they can not resist, that they must say their piece.
Our challenge is to look around us at those who are saying their piece now, to step back and not judge, to try to listen with an open heart to a possible message we need to hear. So many lessons to learn. Being alive is a joy!