Sunday, January 3

the creative high

I've been creative, and after almost two solid hours of this the other day, I was on a high for the rest of the day. And I believe the glow remains. I still feel it's tingle.

 Astronomer by Candlelight, Gerrit Dou

Over the years, I've been living under the Shadow of Impatience. Also, I allowed myself to be in a life where I felt restricted as well as pressured to be something other than I was.

What this meant, is that I was constantly self-learning, formally studying, or working jobs, that were usually not my calling. On the flip side, I would learn or work in something I loved, but was impatient, or felt pressured, to Do Something With It.

I would dive into a course of study for example, but wanted to be an expert Now, or start earning within a year, despite it being a vocation that would likely take years.

Now, at almost 40, I look back and see, okay, not wasted time, because I refuse to view my life like that, despite the pull towards that perspective.... but, I see how if I had taken things slowly and steadily, I could have achieved so, so much more.

I'm not a results-orientated person when it comes to career, I love learning for its own sake, and I've never been driven by the dollar. I'm okay at not being an expert, or not having that PhD (which was really just another trap). So that's not what I mean by achieved more.

What I'm not okay with, is the lie that I told myself each time I started on a new path - it's no use, it will take me years to finish this, to be really good at this, so there's no point.

I look back at say, 10 years, and see how I could have studied something slowly, even taken 10 years to do it, and here today, I would have the substantial knowledge of the subject. Or pacticed an art, craft, or skill.

And again, I don't mean because I would then be an expert and admired, or feel the sense of achievement, or have a brilliant career. No, what I mean is that I would have peace and regular highs.

Woman reading by candlelight, Peter Vilhelm Ilsted  

Without the anxiety of feeling I had to be or do something other than my passion, I would feel peace. I would be doing what I was doing for the pure joy of it. Not because of a pressure to do something useful with it.

And, without the constant stumbling due to the gaps in my knowledge or abilities, I would be able to enter the Flow of creativity more often and with little effort. Or even do something useful or earn money but in the area I was passionate about.

It's this latter awareness that really was a slap in the face for me.

At 30, the prospect of it taking 10 years to achieve my goal looked not only daunting but highly ridiculous to me. And so, I would drop that path and head to another.
Now, I'm on the other side of those same 10 years. An entirely different perspective of the time.

I have spent most of the last 2 months since I came up with my book idea, feeling frustrated, or trying to accept things as they were, because I had no time to write. Time was slipping away I felt.

After my realisation of time, I felt a new dawn.

If it takes me 3, 5, 10 years, to write this book, it will eventually be written, rather than choosing to do nothing and then look back when I'm 50 and saying, oh no, I did it again.

A huge burden dropped away.

Vasalisa, Laura Chicote

So a lot going on here: anxiety of fleeting time, pressure to Do Something Useful, frustration at lack of time, wanting something immediately....

I'm reigning in earthy energy, for steady progress. If the process is what brings me joy, which it most definitely is, then time is irrelevant, right?

How can creativity flow when we place restrictions on it, or when we demand ideal conditions. As a mother, isn't hoping for the latter just plain crazy?
It's likely that the 'perfect' conditions will be rare or non-existent. However, I have many many small moments at my disposal, and even the occassional chunk.
Either this is absolutely unacceptable, and so I change things, or accept things I can't change. Or, if I don't want to change things, I realise that I can choose to embrace the moments. The other option is to remain at a stale mate with life.

Right now, I'm choosing to embrace the moments.

And just like that, I fully see the lie learnt in my chilhood, that happiness is found only in freedom, in ideals. No, happiness can be found within limits, even for an Airy-Firey person like me!

So with this lightness, I didn't say, I can only write at this specific time, and didn't even say, I'm going to write. Instead, I picked up one tiny piece and examined it and played with it, and very soon, without realising it, I found myself writing anyway. Doing my passion, expressing myself, allowing creativity the Flow.

The flame of a candle, is it restricted, or is it the wildness of fire become productive?

What a high!


  1. Wow.

    Is it utterly freaking weirdy-woo-woo that I've been having those same thoughts? And have come to very similar conclusions? Not really, all things considered, huh? ;)

    The peace of letting go of Achieving Something is almost frightening in its enormity....

    ~so much love~

  2. Is earth energy for steady progress? That's good to know because I have lots of that particular energy in my house.

    I always thought it was more for staying in one place, and I always try to rout it out.

    And, from my perspective, I have always given myself permission to try things, even when I can't envision how they would be actually useful. And while I'm not a skilled craftsperson in any way, I am very content and happy. My sister, on the other hand, is a total perfectionist and having a hard time giving herself permission to just do something (photography) without that big looming goal. I'll be sending this post to her because you've got a lot of great insight. Thanks.

  3. As I was reading this all kinds of thoughts were going through my mind but when I let them go what I was left with was a wisdom that spoke to my soul, and for that I thank you deeply.

    I love the project you are working on - and I don't say that to offer you approval, but simply because it's true and I wanted to say it. Even if I didn't love it, I would want to cheer you on, because I'd wish that creative buzz for anyone. There's nothing quite like it.

  4. Ahhh...that tingle and glow...bliss. It is the letting go that enables a lot of that isn't it? Although, for me, creativity needs discipline and focus in order for me to get to that point. A daily practice that I honour and show up for.

    And also for me personally, a PhD wasn't a trap, because I didn't do mine for the thing in itself - to get that qual, or title or whatever. Doing mine - sinking myself deeply in it for years, without rushing through or looking to the end and what it would get me, actually allowed me to be at my most creative (and be paid to spend my time that way!). Even though there were times it drove me utterly mad, the regular highs I would get from it are something that I miss having on a near daily basis. And why pottering and being full-time with a child at home really isn't for me.

    So I'm a little wary of seeing things like PhD's etc as "traps", (although for some people I completely understand it can feel that way, and be yet another lure for perfectionist performance to be played out).

    Can you tell I'm protective of mine? I curse it now and again, for what did it get me other than a "who does she think she is with a PhD?" did bring me a beautiful gift of creativity.

    Your project is so exciting and it's a wonderful thing to be steeped in the writing process - and enjoying it!

  5. Mel - would be interested to hear what you're going through, although, erm, similar I guess. ;)

    Wendy - earth engery does not remain still, it doesn't like shifting around, but it is productive.

    Sarah - wow, whatever that means for you it touches me that you found something for yourself.

    Nettles - Of course! PhD's are NOT traps, it's just a qualification/study.
    It "was really just another trap". In other words, for ME!

  6. Oh, I love what you said at the end about the candle! I love it!

    I have an impatience shadow, too... As I age, I think I can feel it subsiding.

  7. Funny, I feel like my blog is all about this...but I don't know if that is truly conveyed in my writing.

    It took becoming a parent to really question how long I would continue to blame my parents for programming me to be practical. That was my trap. My trap was also the investment concern. I went to school, worked in one area, "excelled" and became a so called expert in my field - a field I now have no interest in.

    I hear you in your struggle & peacefulness with this process. It's a worthwhile story to tell.

    I am remembering a woman that I worked with 20 years ago. She was 45, going back to eventually become a speech language pathologist. Her (younger) husband stated bluntly one day that she would be 52 before she could practice, and her reply was that she would be 52 it would be even sweeter that she would be 52 and finally doing what she really wanted to do.

  8. Yay! I'm so glad you are writing! I mostly have a healthy view of time perspective and accomplishing things and all this you are talking about--I generally trudge along at a comfortable pace knowing that I'll reach my goal eventually...even if it is in the next life...but if it brings me pleasure then I will keep at it.

    But occasionally I do look for that ideal circumstance, and that's when I start losing opportunities. I was doing that with my book. I tossed ideal aside but for a moment and started writing. Then I got caught up in doing research so I could do it the "right way" and I realized I hadn't written in weeks! So I am forgetting perfect. It's better this way. I can always go back and make improvements later, if I want.

    And the whole age thing...I think it's irrelevant. Why on earth would accomplishing something at 60 be less satisfying than accomplishing it at 25? Don't we learn to appreciate things even more as we age, not less? Clearly, you've figured that out.

  9. cypress sun - Becoming a parent is such a gift in ways that I never even considered. Finding my strength was not what I expected. So glad to hear you found yours too.
    "her reply was that she would be 52 anyway"
    I LOVE that. :)

    Lisa - It is wonderful to have that sense of time. Those with this Shadow, just think that plodders are missing out on 'more'. When in actuality, we're missing out. You can't experience joy fully with anxiety. Our fearis the loss of time.
    Age isn't an issue for me, it was more about the concept of taking years to complete or learn something.

  10. All I'm going to say is one big YAAAAAAAAAAAY to this and you.

    And to celebrate and be inspired, I'm going to go and play with a pencil and paper.

    I so know what you mean. Gooed eh?


  11. um, yeah, that was meant to be good eh, not gooed,
    eh. lol

  12. Beautiful post!

    This has been a lesson I've had to learn too, and one I'm still trying to get the hang of fully. Becoming a parent has definitely helped. Nothing has made me look over my life as much as that.

  13. Your expression here has helped me change my perspective with something I've been internally battling with for a while. Letting go.

    I love your ability to put into words how you feel and at the same time inspire.

  14. "If it takes me 3, 5, 10 years, to write this book, it will eventually be written, rather than choosing to do nothing and then look back when I'm 50 and saying, oh no, I did it again"

    yes! my own view too...this has so been the motherhood journey for me...learning to accept and even embrace the unknown pace, the moments, creativity as this open-ended process...I was very achievement-oriented prior to leaving my career to have kids, and then wanted to apply that to my teaching, blogging, writing, etc. all of which were meant to be 'side projects' to mothering...sometimes it felt easier not to be doing anything but mothering, so that I never felt any conflict about it...but now I am feeling more comfortable with whatever pace unfolds...

  15. Absolutely perfect and again exactly what I needed to be reminded of. I am that stage of wondering who I am without my story, without the things that I tell myself I could, should, must be. To be creatively lost for nothing more than the pleasure of the flowing, that's magical.

  16. I can relate to this in a way that gives me chills.

  17. 'Age isn't an issue for me, it was more about the concept of taking years to complete or learn something.'

    Ah, I see that. I've been there, too. I just got over it early in life, I guess. (I wanted to be done with college by the time I was 20, and then get married and start having children right away!) LOL I am laughing at myself.

  18. had to come back here, because i saw the movie julie and julia last night (which I did enjoy)...although I knew julia childs hadn't started cooking until her 40s and hadn't published until her 50s, i didn't know until seeing this movie that it took her (and her co-writers) almost 10 years to complete their book and get it published...a toast to slow and steady!!!

  19. chuckle, thanks Lisa.


No comment is too long or short around here.

Comment moderation on posts older than 7 days.