The following is an article I started nearly three years ago. I went poking around in old files today, to find something you might resonate with and found it. I had no idea that three years ago I was writing it to myself—today. Holy Hanna how does that happen?
To understand how this applies to me, I’ll let you know that I just finished my book… well mostly. Some tweaking still required but for the most part it is done—It took nearly five years. As soon as I sent it off for interior design, my life fell apart. Or more like, my identity fell apart. It was as if I’d poured all of me into that project and once it was off my plate my identity was just… well… gone. Who the heck am I? I didn’t like myself. I didn’t like my work. I didn’t like my life.
To understand how this applies to you, I’ll let you know that I see similar things happen to and for those who dream of being out of their marriage, and into something new and better, or at least different. Perhaps it is the end of the dream that causes the letdown. Perhaps you can relate to a lost identity.
For my part, it’s taken several months of focused inner work—including therapy, writing, grieving, being coached, talking with others, hiding, blaming, protesting, cursing and more meditating and praying than I’ve ever done before.
Part of my recovery plan (if you could call it a plan) was a four-day meditation trip to the Colorado mountains. I found the perfect secluded spot along a river. I would be completely alone for 4 days. I walked in the cool of the mornings and the evenings, and read The Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior before I went to sleep at night, and the rest of the time I just watched, felt, connected… and waited for answers to arise from stillness. I suppose it’s not surprising that some surprising answers came. I had to listen closely because they came stealthily…more as changes to the way I felt than some big revelation dropped into my brain.
So, I’m back. This next phase of my personal evolution is, at least for now, complete. I’m back with a renewed sense of BEing. A new curiosity. And new direction, which is the same old direction but with a different heartbeat. I have more to give…and more of a desire to give.
I hope you enjoy the article that’s been waiting three years for this day and time and hour to be published. I call it…
Creatives and The Rest of Us
Creatives. You know, artists, writers, sculptors, inventors, playwrights, musicians, teachers, and the like. They’re often a step ahead of the rest of us in finding our life’s calling. Their drive to do so is very strong it doesn’t let them rest. Life brings us what we need… to grow, evolve, change…. to become a larger version of ourselves. Once awakened to our purpose we become the craftsmen of our own lives. Once glimpsed, we become obsessed with living it. We hunger for it, long for it, and will destroy for it. Sometimes, before we even understand this newly awakened drive, we cut important ties in order to follow the scent, which is as elusive as the wafting smells of a freshly baked pie on the windowsill.
The Soul Awakened
When the soul awakens it goes on a search, like a bear coming out of hibernation. It’s starving. It requires nourishment—books, talks, conversations on higher subjects, art, theater. It craves creativity dammit. To find ourselves back on the couch looking at the spouse and kids and a mortgage, we become convinced that that is what is standing in the way of our more purposeful life. We take drastic measures to begin the search for that sense of purpose that has heretofore eluded us. Yay for the heart that searches, but it’s a good idea to look into the future before destroying one aspect of our lives to create another.
The Let Down
Laurie Cameron, via several of her books, my favorites being The Artist’s Way and The Right to Write coaches artists on the finer points of BEing an artist. She speaks of the ‘letdown’ an artist will experience after long engagement with a piece of work. I believe it could also apply to romance. The experience portrays the struggle of someone who has gotten a glimpse of a new purposeful life and compares that dream to the daily realities of life. Here’s an excerpt:
“When we are making things, we sometimes get very, very big. Or simply very, very free. In the height of the creative moment, we are not constricted and downsized by our daily rigmarole – our age, our family tensions, our feelings of being a cog in the wheel. It is hard to come back to our normal size after such a heady expansion – and often, we don’t, at first.
“Creative flight is exactly that – flight. We get a higher than bird’s-eye view of our life and our dreams and often many other things as well. We “see” the big picture, and such a vision can leave our ordinary perception shattered. We are staggered by the magnitude of what we have seen, and our own size feels foreign.
“As we try to land back in our own life, we may shoot past our real size and feel like someone very small. This is normal, just scary. It is hallucinogenic, like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: I was so big and now I am so small. Or our life may feel like Mother Hubbard’s—we feel pinched and can’t quite wedge ourselves back into the shoe we normally walk in. It’s not so much that are head is too big that that it’s still full of very big ideas.”
This is written specifically to artisans/creatives. But aren’t we all artists and creators of our own lives? The principles are the same. We can become drunk with the possibilities. The ‘very, very big’ and ‘very, very free’ of which Cameron speaks is intoxicating. The view from the mountaintop can be so awe inspiring. We visit the mountain tops, but we live in the valley. The question becomes how do we bring this expansive vision of ourselves back into our day to day?
I’m certainly asking myself that question. I’d love to hear what YOU know. Maybe your insights will help us all.