Inner Fire

Inner Fire     

A post via Inner Fire

By Michael Croaker

In the spirit of this Page, thought I would share a little personal recollection to tie into themes of living fearlessly and out of the way of you – not always easy I know, but necessary if to genuinely move forward through the years we are given.

My father was always a great ‘drawer’. He would spend his time away from work either playing guitar or drawing, and I was enthralled with what he could do. I took up his passion with a pencil and drew most of my spare time as a kid. During primary school I had been successful in winning art competitions and found great release and joy from the process of creating sketches and paintings.

I remember then very clearly being out of Primary School and sitting in a Grade 8 Art Class with a teacher named Mrs. Robinson (and ‘here’s to her’). Art at this time was becoming a real passion, and before the memory of this day, I had just completed a mail order art class. I’d asked my mother if I could send away to a ‘Commercial Art Course’ that I’d seen in a women’s weekly magazine that she’d had in the house. She and Dad approved and paid for the course. I completed the initial drawing program and sent it back to Melbourne, a place I imagined to be a world away as a kid, and I waited anxiously for my remote tutor’s review and notes

After a couple of weeks, my drawings were returned to me with supportive review. The notes were very positive. There was obviously work to do, but largely the feedback was centred on the fact that I had demonstrated ‘potential to go further’. I remember feeling motivated and excited to push on. I held onto my notes and waited for the next class with Mrs. Robinson, almost unable to wait to share this with her.

The day came when I had a double period in the afternoon and there was time to go to her and share the drawings and the comments. I clearly recall how it felt to share this with her and even more clearly remember her response after looking across it all.

She was quiet while I spoke and after seeming to listen to me, she then looked across the work briefly, before she asked, ‘Did you pay for this course Mr. Croaker?’

‘Yes,’ I answered.

‘Well, that’s why you have the positive comments. These people are doing what they do to make money. There’s no value in these sorts of things’.  She finished and handed the sketches and notes back across to me.

I walked back to where I was seated, not knowing then what it was that I was feeling, but more or less it was shock. This was the absolute opposite response to what I played out in my head days before. I stopped committing to the program immediately from that day. I stopped drawing at home and surrendered the joy I had found from just sitting with a pencil and paper, only ever picking up occasionally across the years that followed.

It’s now I’ll hear my own children say, when drawing for them, ‘you’re a great drawer Dad’ and ‘how do I do that?’ My joy now comes out of passing onto them that they ‘can do anything’ and that ‘you just have to believe and try and then never give up’.

Children come into the world fearless and with an idea that anything is possible. Truth is, this is our core human instinct and that’s why it exists. Of course, ‘the world’ does come crashing in. The insecurities, anxieties and fears of others are passed across to us through years, sometime completely unconsciously, and it is ultimately left to us to become self aware and self realised to then decide what we take on and what we leave behind.

For me, the goal is to leave a legacy for my children to be ‘fear-less’ and not ‘fear-filled’. To be prepared to take risks and not foolishly for the sake of, but to pursue dreams, whatever they might be, with passion and independence from the need of the ‘good opinion of others’. This life is brief and the most important opinion there will ultimately be about you, will be the one you have at journey’s end.

Author: Michael Croaker

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