By Scott Tully

“Moment after moment, completely devote yourself to listening to your inner voice.” -S. Suzuki

I had been in advertising for ten years before I designed my first book, 1000 Extraordinary Objects, for Colors magazine and Taschen. I had gone to my boss, Oliviero Toscani, to ask what the market was, how the book should be designed, etc. and his answer stunned me: “You decide.”

I went home for the weekend in total confusion. No one, in all my years of working life, had ever asked me do what I wanted. All my design tricks and advertising concepts were instrumental, useful for getting what the client wanted, for the company, for my boss. But for me? I wouldn’t even know where to look for “what I wanted.” I was so ashamed!

A lot of people, creative and not, have become very good at doing what’s expected of them. We become experts at marketing, at selling, at playing our roles well. What we aren’t taught, though, is how to listen to our inner voice. And that keeps us in doubt as to who we really are.

Nowadays people talk a lot about “journaling” (which I didn’t even know was a verb). I’d like to add playing music, and painting, and print-making, and even doodling to that mix. It doesn’t matter whether it’s “good” or not, or will ever be seen by others. 

What’s important is that you get it out, and that you honor it by listening to it, by looking at it, by loving it, and most of all: by letting it talk to you. Because talk to you it will, and your faith in your inner voice is the way you will rediscover your real Self-esteem.

What happens is that, at a certain point in our youth, we began giving more value to what others thought than to what we ourselves thought. We stopped listening to the inner voice, and we replaced it with the outer voices. We were told that our inner voice wasn’t practical, and we started to believe it.

Until we listen to the inner voice again, we will never know ourselves, or recognize our innate, inner beauty. And by giving the inner voice value, love, and attention, we begin giving value and attention to our Self. 

And your Self is more beautiful than you can possibly imagine.

So get out some pens, dust off the guitar, open up the old notebooks, and start letting your Self talk to you again. It’s the voice you’ve been waiting to hear from, and you two have a lot to catch up on.

Photo by Thomas Le on Unsplash

Scott “Tejindra” Tully is an Atlanta native and graduate of Williams College with a degree in Social Psychology. He has lived in New York City, London, and, since 1993, all over Italy. After teaching creativity with Oliviero Toscani, designing spiritual books, and living in a spiritual community near Assisi, and raising a family, has now taking up his pen.