Have you seen Hadestown?

The award winning Broadway show is a brilliant, modern retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. (And yes, it will blow you away.)

Here’s the quick and dirty:

  • Orpheus and Eurydice fall in love.
  • Orpheus has been working on his masterpiece, an epic song that will change the world. He gets so wrapped up in his song he forgets Eurydice for a while, who grows very hungry.
  • Hades, king of the underworld, finds her in a desperate state, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse. She’s poor and hungry and without hope, as Orpheus kinda ghosted.
  • Orpheus goes to find her, and learns she’s gone the underworld. He vows to get her back.

Of course, it’s not that easy. The king doesn’t let his property go just like that. But when Orpheus sings his epic song, he is moved.

So:

  • Hades puts forth a challenge to Orpheus (as the myth goes): He can leave and take Eurydice with him, but he must walk ahead of her and never turn around to check if she’s there. If he does, she will be banished to Hades forever.
  • Orpheus accepts the challenge, and with every step of that long, arduous journey, becomes racked with self-doubt.

After all, why should the king let him go? Why should he be able to get what he wants? He doesn’t deserve it. Maybe it’s a trick. The king is surely going to win. He thinks he has no choice. But he does.

We know how this ends. How it always, always ends:

He’s almost home. The light is just cresting the hillside. At that last moment, just as he’s almost home—

…He turns around.

His love has been there the whole time. At this moment in the show, she covers her face and sinks to her knees as the floor drops away, drawing her back down to the underworld, forever.

It’s a sad song, Hermes says, but we must sing it. Again and again. Each time we hope it’ll be different, but it isn’t.

Orpheus’s story is your story. My story. We go through this over and over again. Sometimes doubt seizes us and won’t let go.

We are all trying to do work that matters, work we care about—our epic song, as it were. We believe that if we could do that, if we could just get that song done, it could change everything. And it can! But if we can’t shake that doubt, we’re stuck in a vicious cycle.

The question is: HOW do you know you’re creating great stuff? Don’t rely on the critic to tell you that. It won’t.

We can’t banish the critic forever, but we can become better skilled at seeing the brilliance in our own work.

When you practice seeing what’s working, you can weaken the grip of the belief that every effort you making is going straight to hell in a handbasket.

Come experience it first hand. With me.

Join me for 30 Days on the Page, my audio program where you will get out of your own way—and feel your own work expanding, instead of feeling constricted by fear and self-criticism. 

Check it out here. It’s just $1/day. Seriously, don’t wait.

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