Being Big Together, a Guest Post by Chris Zydel

May 25th, 2011

BIG ... That is one of those words that has a lot of baggage associated with it... especially if you are a sensitive, creative type.

Big is related to being VISIBLE.  To taking up space. To coming out of hiding. To asking for what you want and need.

On the surface these all sound like really great things. We can look at that list and say "OF course that's what I want! Who wouldn't?"

But when we actually start moving in the direction of BIG we can find ourselves surprised by fear. And nagging feelings of guilt or apprehensiveness.

Thinking about taking up space can lead to a whole cascading chain of worry. "Maybe there's only so much space to go around? And if that's the case, does my getting bigger make me a greedy space hog?  Does it mean that I will be pushing someone else out? Or that I am taking something away from another person?"

These fears are based on the notion that there is only so much BIGNESS to go around. That not everyone gets to be big. Which stems from the belief that we live in a world of lack and limitation.

When you come from the reality of "not enough",  being big starts to get all mixed up with things like competition. One-up-manship. Hierarchies and being better than someone else. Looking through the scarcity-every-woman-for-herself-lens, being big means that someone else has to be small. That there have to be winners and losers.

And if winning means that someone else has to lose, and you are a heart centered, sensitive type person, that means that winning is no longer very much fun.

Under those circumstances, being big starts to lose its appeal. We certainly don't want to hurt anyone else. Or to be seen as too much, too self important, too grandiose. So we think that our only other option is to keep ourselves stunted. Hidden. Invisible.

These attitudes and beliefs around getting bigger also make an assumption that it is either or. Either we are part of a tribe, a group, a loving family where everyone is treated fairly but it means we give up our desire to shine. Or we get to be big and visible and even get a chance to shine but it means we end up lonely, isolated and excluded from the circle of love and acceptance.

n my studio I offer high quality paper that is of ample size, but students can tape the sheets together to make even larger paintings. It's a heady time when a student can let themselves spread out and take up some real space. When they can make a HUGE painting, one that can sometimes cover an entire wall.

Creating a giant painting is a dizzying and terrifying prospect, and most people need lots of encouragement and support to take this step. Which of course is present for them in great abundance at my workshops.

In the past year or so this desire to go big has moved through my studio like a glorious wildfire.  More and more folks have caught the big bug and I have watched as paintings have grown to gorgeously stunning and wildly gargantuan proportions. And yes, this HAS meant that I have had to build a few more large easels to accommodate the growth.

But it has been so worth it. Because each time one of my students took the risk to get bigger in this hothouse environment of love and respect and sheer abundance , their longing to spread out has been met with joy and excitement. By everyone. No one has felt at all diminished by someone else's expansion.

When someone gets BIG in an atmosphere where lack and competition don't exist it gives permission and creates a sense of possibility for EVERYONE. No one is left out. We all get to shine and shimmer together.

Which is really the way it should be. So I invite you today to take a risk to be BIG .... and SHINE ... to TAKE UP SPACE... and ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT.. in the spirit of creating that magnificent space of BIGNESS for us all!


Chris Zydel, founder of Creative Juices Arts  has over 32 years of experience as a compassionate and soulful creativity guide. Through her classes, workshops and training programs she has devoted herself to providing the support, guidance and inspiration that allows her many students to connect with the sacred force of creativity that lives inside of us all. Visit her website at

5 Responses

I’ve always had a problem with working on bigger canvasses but never thought about “why”. Maybe, as a person who is particularly respectful to the space of others, I have limited my own space? Something to think about and a great post! Thanks =)

Chris – I am always so inspired by what you write! You have got me thinking (again)! I haven’t worked BIG in so long, and it’s definitely an issue that I have been pondering lately. In fact, I started working very small but now I don’t want to anymore! My studio / art space doesn’t leave much room to work big, but I am thinking about how I can rearrange in order to work on some bigger pieces! Thanks for your very interesting and thought-provoking post!

Abundance vs scarcity thinking. Feeling worthy. Taking up space. It all leads to claiming our power. Terah

Oh Chris! You pointed me toward something important, something I hadn’t quite seen in such stark relief before, that being big means being alone. Thank you so much. Now I can meet this fear with some understanding. Maybe I’ll take it by the hand and we’ll go take a walk in the big world together. Thanks!

Great Post! Big terrifies me but I haven’t let go of wanting it. I have a gigantic canvas that has been sitting in my garage for oh…10 years. I want to put something on it but I have no idea where to begin. Gack.

Maybe with a big splotch.

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