A few months ago I had the pleasure of spending 6 hrs in a workshop talking about creativity. This workshop happened right after the election and it is indisputable why it's taken me a while to process and distill some of the information I've gleaned. The workshop centered around more of what holds us back in creativity rather than the celebratory aspect of a job (well) done. Low, dry & slow moments of creativity are bound to occur, and to me the stagnation has felt more like a prison sentence than a time of incubation. Does this ring true for you?
Over the last five years I have been on an expedition of the dark night of the soul. Sounds dramatic or dumb. I guess at times it certainly has been both. I graduated from college with a fine arts degree. I spent a lot of money perfecting my craft and lived, breathed, ate, slept theatre. I had a mini life crisis before graduating that I didn't want to pursue theatre in a professional aspect but packed up and moved to NYC anyway. I wasn't even keen on moving to NYC. I felt distracted, un-grounded and swallowed up by the city. Pressures from mainly myself hurdled me to the tiny island. I did a few artist-in-residence gigs, taught, took classes and had a few small parts but it felt more like I was keeping up the momentum from school. I didn't know how to operate outside of the womb & structure of my program and felt scared to step outside to see what else might be happening. I flogged myself mentally for not wanting to pursue "my dream" because here I was, bright city lights and all I felt was stagnation and a listless spirit on the inside.
The flogging continued for years as I filled my time working freelance jobs, waiting tables, baby-sitting and starting my own business. The amount of embarrassment I held inside about where I was in comparison to "where I should be" was insurmountable and guess what? It kept me stuck. It kept me small. A game I was comfortable playing albeit my personal torture device.
In the workshop we talked a lot about stagnation and its meaning. That stagnation is the signal of "I'm Done." You're scared to leave because that thing you used to do doesn't feed you anymore. A revelation for me. (I don't know, maybe you figured that out long before I did!) In addition to this light-bulb moment is that you can't get to the next season until you've left the last one. You don't need to know what's supposed to happen next. You're going to be afraid and will have to do things before you're ready. I feel like I possessed that quality early in my life and somehow misplaced it. In my late teens and early twenties I was so Gung-ho for change. I leapt without thinking many times and the ground was right beneath me each time I jumped. I have grown more timid over the years and my enthusiasm has turned into a sad, lazy cloud hanging around my heart.
To keep this away from "How I Turned MY Life Around in 3 Easy Steps." I'll be honest. My life looks nothing like how I imagined it to be at 31. Pretty much everything that was recognizable 5 years ago doesn't exist. The tectonic plates of my life have done so much shifting that my above ground world is separated, new waves thrashing upon shores that have never experienced the sea. My world below feeling the rumbles and chaotic shakes of movement and change. Echoes of these rumbles still present as the dust settles.
In honoring the internal seasons of our life, I have bid adieu to this last season. The few things I carry into this next season, relics of the past, reminders of what I've learned. My hope is that curiosity prevails and leads the guard in this next season.
I'll leave on this quote by Glennon Doyle Melton:
"An eviction from your life means that life is not accurate anymore and it opens itself up to a more honest life."
Disorientation leads to re-orienation. May we find the beauty in each season, as that is integral to our survival.