Yes, please. I’d like just a bit of that.
I mean, is there anyone out there who prefers the fog of indecision? Or worse, the cloudiness of not even knowing what the question is? We all want clarity.
The yearning for clarity requires awareness and it’s that awareness that places you in the gap that is your Creative Play Zone.
In a recent blog post I wrote about your Creative Play Zone, that space between what you want and what you have; where you are vs where you want to be, between knowing and not knowing. A foggy spot, that gap.
How does your gap feel for you? Is it like the feeling of hunger and not knowing what will satisfy it? That persistent aching thought saying things are not as you’d like? Not knowing where or how to start? Nobody wants to stay there in the foggy breath of not knowing. You want the veil to part and the other side become visible. You want clarity.
The way out is to step right in.
Even if things are unclear, just start.
Even if you don’t know the whole picture, just start.
Even if you don’t know what the end result should be, just start.
Start, as Carl Jung suggests, by looking within and waking up.
It’s in the starting that clarity arrives.
What might “start” look like?
"Trust that still, small voice that says, ‘This might work and I'll try it’. - Diane Mariechild
“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to "jump at the Sun." We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.”
If you’re ever going to get clarity about what you want and what is best for you, you need to wakefully and intentionally start. You need to look within and trust that you have the answers. If the answers bring up a little fear or resistance you’re probably on the right track. (Read this blog for a discussion about resistance.)
P.S. As your coach I can be quite helpful in lifting your fog. Schedule a free 45 minute Discovery session to chat about how working together can make a difference.
This past December, at the end of the month and the end of the year, I left my part-time job. I wanted to put my energy and focus on my own business. One part of my plan was to get out to walk and then go to the library to write. I was going to do this at least once a week. Sounded heavenly.
Well, life had other plans. Now, several months have passed. Things are settling into a new normal. Oh, yeah. I was going to get out and walk and go to the library to write. As appealing as the plan was in the planning stage something was causing resistance here in the execution stage.
I can probably guess at some things that prompted that nasty gremlin to show up. (Enjoying a walk isn’t work… Creativity is for leisure time…Stay safe at your desk and feel like you’re “working”…) Whatever the reason, there he was. Aha! It’s you! I had remembered and he had appeared. So I put writing on my iPhone calendar. I procrastinated. (Resistance, yes?) Then I did some writing at home. Last week I made it to the library. I was going to walk but I dilly dallied enough so I only had time for the library.
Yesterday I remembered again. It was sunny and breezy, a little chilly. Despite a little dawdling I got out and walked. I was determined to go even if it was for just fifteen minutes. Bliss! I explored a new trail. The bluest sky beckoned and admired itself in the pond. The wind teased ripples onto the water’s surface. The woodland floor was soft with old leaves. Someone had placed small logs alongside a big fat fallen tree trunk to help me scramble over it. Birds busied themselves amid leaves not quite the green of summer. I was ecstatic. Could this really be part of a workday? Could someone please give me a new word for a productive activity that moves an idea or purpose forward?
I'd worked on a free-writing exercise earlier in the morning from #KriswithaK’s 30 day writing challenge. The exercise was to compare the two ideas of freedom and resistance. Although I originally packed a different small question to take on my walk, thoughts of resistance and freedom chattered alongside me.
"What you resist persists.”- Carl Jung
That old chestnut had come up in a recent conversation so it too came along.
Could surrendering to resistance bring freedom? Just getting out there. Even if not as early as planned. Even if not for as long. Even if I was sure other things on my desk were more urgent. Just doing it imperfectly.
That became my small question as I tramped through the woods.
What’s behind resistance? I think it can be distilled down to fear. Fear in all its guises. Fear of being seen as less than perfect. Fear of not being accepted. Fear of looking foolish. Fear of a misplaced comma or a missed opportunity for a semi-colon. Whatever your fear du jour is.
I would not think less of you, dear reader, for any of this. I would appreciate your small imperfections because otherwise you would be quite bland. I would accept you with my whole heart. What you might feel is foolish I would see as wise. And, seriously, I can get into the rhythm of your writing in spite of a missing comma or semi-colon.
So why don’t I turn that understanding around and direct it at myself? Why do I give resistance air time? And where is the freedom? The freedom to listen to my heart? Part of my plan when I left my part-time job was to link arms with other journeying souls and help them surrender to what is – not what isn’t or should or shouldn’t be. To listen to what is calling them in their next phase of life and surrender to the freedom of listening. I recognized that I needed to do the same for me.
We all come up against the gremlin of resistance. He’s right across the room now, perched on the arm of the futon. Yesterday he was striking a languid pose against the door frame. Sulky, pouty, sexy. Anything for attention. He tried to come along on my walk yesterday but I got him to stay in the car. I asked him what it was he really wanted. I just want to keep you safe, he said. Well, that’s a load of crap I responded. Your idea of safe hasn’t worked very well for the past fifty years. Later he was playing hide and seek among the aisles of books here in the library. Aye yi yi!
A few thoughts on dealing with resistance:
I am rising out of sleep, not quite awake. It’s 4 AM. Half in/half out of a dream. Seemingly disparate photos slipping away. They get fainter and fainter. Just the sentence “Find the thread and follow it in” remains.
I grasp for the images but they will not be caught. They go. The who, what, where and why go with them. Just the one line remains.
Find the thread and follow it in.
I often wake to words that stay with me. I start writing in my head. Sometimes I reach for something to write on but more often I don’t want to disturb the flow that runs so easily in the quiet dark. In the relaxed body state where I’m melted into the bedding, where my body hasn’t awakened but my mind is gearing up. Many of my blog posts start there.
Where do things start for you? What quickens your imagination and shifts your thoughts to possibilities? Opportunities? A project in the studio or around the house, a job or life change?
What do you do with the idea once it arrives? Dismiss it or explore it? How would it feel to grab that thread and see where it takes you? Recognizing where it starts and allowing your process to take over can be the difference between a dream realized and a dream deferred.
Once the idea is allowed to live, what is your process to get started?
Do you feed it with small questions? Do you talk it over with a supportive friend or coach? Do you allow yourself to daydream? (Yes, daydreaming is a productive activity!) Do you make a list? Do you sketch it out, mind map it, doodle it? Do you look around at what’s out there to find what you like and, sometimes more importantly, what you don’t like.
Most importantly, do you let it emerge in its time, like a butterfly out of its chrysalis?
For me, with writing, it is often starts in that half asleep state. Rather than dismiss it I let it take its own course. It could be hours or days before anything gets onto the page. That’s okay. I find that the theme will linger for a few days in my waking-up time and show me more. I also find that it will spark other ideas. Those spark more and so on.
This is intentional creativity and it is available to us 24/7. In our dreaming and in our waking. When you're aware of how ideas take hold - when you're able to recognize your thread - you become aware of your creative process. This will take so much of the struggle out. Your awareness will provide a magic carpet that you can ride into anything. Your process is as unique as you. Go with it.
If you'd like to explore how a creativity coach (that would be me!) could help you with your process schedule a free discovery session. I'm a very good thread detective.
Kathy Kane blogs about the creative process in the everyday, in writing and in the magical transition to the second half of life.
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