February 24, 2010
and let it drip!
I know — I’m late for my BABY STEP post. I’ve been experiencing a major soulquake, and it has disrupted my routine.
I spent the last five days wondering if I’m going forward or backwards. I feel like I’ve been trying and trying and trying all my life… without ever getting anywhere. Could it be that I’m trying too hard? That the problem with me is in the “trying,” in the wanting to “control” everything?
I even started to question my 12-Notch Plan. Because after all, the whole point of the plan is for me to become more creative, more productive. So am I being too organized? Too structured? Not letting myself go with the flow? Going with what flow? And where exactly is it that I want to go?
After writing about this in my Morning Pages (and in my afternoon pages, and my evening pages, and my night pages… ), I decided to thumb through The Artist’s Way in the hope that I would find an answer.
Well aha! I found it. And I’m glad to say that I can stick to my 12-Notch Plan. But I must understand that when it comes to creativity, I need to stop trying so hard and start trusting the process.
That I’m not the boss…
I’m the bucket!
Here’s the excerpt from The Artist’s Way that gave me the permission to not feel guilty about my moments of inaction:
Creativity — like human life itself — begins in darkness. We need to acknowledge this. All too often, we think only in terms of light: “And then the lightbulb went on and I got it!” It is true that insights may come to us as flashes. It is true that some of these flashes may be blinding. It is, however, also true that such bright ideas are preceded by a gestation period that is interior, murky, and completely necessary.
We speak often about ideas as brainchildren. What we do not realize is that brainchildren, like all babies, should not be dragged from the creative womb prematurely. Ideas, like stalactites and stalagmites, form in the dark inner cave of consciousness. They form in drips and drops, not by squared-off building blocks. We must learn to wait for an idea to hatch. Or, to use a gardening image, we must learn to not pull our ideas up by the roots to see if they are growing.
Mulling on the page is an artless art form. It is fooling around. It is doodling. It is the way that ideas slowly take shape and form until they are ready to help us see the light. All too often, we try to push, pull, outline, and control our ideas instead of letting them grow organically. The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.
Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise. All too often, when we say we want to be creative, we mean that we want to be able to be productive. Now, to be creative is to be productive — but by cooperating with the creative process, not forcing it.
As creative channels, we need to trust the darkness. We need to learn to gently mull instead of churning away like a little engine on a straight-ahead path. This mulling on the page can be very threatening. “I’ll never get any real ideas this way!” we fret.
Hatching an idea is a lot like baking bread. An idea needs to rise. If you poke at it too much at the beginning, if you keep checking on it, it will never rise. A loaf of bread or a cake, baking, must stay for a good long time in the darkness and safety of the oven. Open that oven too soon and the bread collapses — or the cake gets a hole in its middle because all the steam has rushed out of it. Creativity requires a respectful reticence.
The truth is that this is how to raise the best ideas. Let them grow in dark and mystery. Let them form on the roof of our consciousness. Let them hit the page in droplets. Trusting this slow and seemingly random drip, we will be startled one day by the flash of “Oh! That’s it!“
How’s your bucket?
REFERENCES: The 12-Notch Plan — Notch #2 – GOALS for February — Morning Pages
February 15, 2010
FOR THIS WEEK
Ever since starting my Morning Walks, I stopped writing my Morning Pages. Every time I stop writing my Morning Pages, I lose contact with my Soul. And now is not the time to lose contact with my Soul — I’m on a quest for change!
The practice of writing Morning Pages — just like the practice of Morning Walks — is a form of meditation. Here’s what Julia Cameron has to say about this in The Artist’s Way:
We meditate to discover our own identity, our right place in the scheme of the universe. Through meditation, we acquire and eventually acknowledge our connection to an inner power source that has the ability to transform our outer world. In other words, meditation gives us not only the light of insight but also the power for expansive change.
Insight in and of itself is an intellectual comfort. Power in and of itself is a blind force that can destroy as easily as build. It is only when we consciously learn to link power and light that we begin to feel our rightful identities as creative beings. The morning pages allow us to forge this link. They provide us with a spiritual ham-radio set to contact the Creator Within. For this reason, the morning pages are a spiritual practice.
It is impossible to write morning pages for any extended period of time without coming into contact with an unexpected inner power. Although I used them for many years before I realized this, the pages are a pathway to a strong and clear sense of self. They are a trail that we follow into our own interior, where we meet both our own creativity and our creator.
Morning pages map our own interior. Without them, our dreams may remain terra incognita. Using them, the light of insight is coupled with the power for expansive change. It is very difficult to complain about a situation morning after morning, month after month, without being moved to constructive action. The pages lead us out of despair and into undreamed-of solutions.
So from now on, I will wake up at 6:00 in the morning instead of 7:00. I will write my Morning Pages, then take my Morning Walk, and do my Morning Stretches.
REFERENCES: The 12-Notch Plan — Notch #2 – GOALS for February — UPDATE / Week of February 8 to 14 — Morning Pages
February 15, 2010
REFERENCES: The 12-Notch Plan — Notch #2 – GOALS for February — Notch #2 – BABY STEPS / Week of February 8 to 14
Before I explain what the illustration’s all about, here’s how it went with my BABY STEPS last week.
BALANCED DIET / PROTEIN INTAKE
I jotted down everything I ate to make sure I was getting the recommended 78 grams of protein each day… or close to it. Being vegetarian is quite a challenge when it comes to proteins — most days, I made it to 65-70 grams. I have to get used to eating more of everything: beans, nuts, tofu and other soy products.
CONCEPT/DESIGN FOR “ABOUT” PAGE
Had quite a few crazy ideas which — unfortunately — aren’t do-able. Maybe I’m expecting too much of this. Then again, I’d really like to come up with a fun way to introduce myself. Back to the drawing board!
AND NOW FOR THE BABY STEPS INTO THE SOUL
Time came to a halt last week. It’s as if one extremely long day went by. Or better yet, one never-ending night. Yeah… it was kind of dark for a while.
First, a friend of mine needed help. Without going into details, let’s just say that I put everything on hold in order to *be* with her. She’s better now — thank the Universe!
But somehow, it got me thinking about where I’m going with this blog, the whole internet thing, being stuck at a desk in front of a computer instead of being with actual flesh and blood people out there in the real world. This situation is getting weird. It’s not how I want to spend the rest of my life.
Then I caught a cold and the trance-like fever amplified my feeling of isolation. I even managed to injure my foot and couldn’t get out of the house for my morning walks. I was in prison… in a trap. Arrrrrrgh!
Naturally, all that was left for me was to think-think-think. I’m still thinking as I type, How do I get out of this rut? I’ve been in this housing co-op for 28 years. Sure, it’s a nice flat, the rent is low, I’m near the metro. But deep down in my soul, I know that it’s time to go. But where?
I want the road, adventure, mountains, nature;
to walk along oceans and step deep into forests.
I want the unexpected, the out-of-the-ordinary,
My cocoon period has come to an end.
I’m aching for change.
I’m ready for it.
And once I create that change, I’ll have something
more interesting to blog about!
I need a vision.
How about you… do you need a change?