On some of our wintry mornings (not today’s fog-full one), I see a glowing through the dark, bare trees. At 5:30 am as I drive my swimmer teens to their daily morning practice, I’m filled with hope at the lovely colors glowing through the lines of trees. It’s expectant, full of promise and I think of all the creative ideas I have, and have had for so long, that I desire to see come to life. The dawning day grants me a sense that these things can happen, that I might, just might be able to see one small aspect of an idea shine full on, like the sun at noon day. This “glow” of ideas, so many of them, often lights each day as I face it’s coming.
But there’s a flip side to having such fun, wonderful, creative ideas. The “curse” of living with them, is that they continue to tap on your shoulder for attention until you give them some. When the normal (and not-so normal) events of life push back the necessary time needed to see these ideas come to fruition, the tapping becomes quite heavy handed. And if there are many creative ideas swirling around in one’s head and heart, the noise becomes deafening, the desire becomes oppressive, the shut-down thought of “why even bother” gets louder and louder too.
My husband is fond of saying, “Ideas have consequences.” I know what he means here…ideas which are based on one’s philosophy of life, or belief system, always have consequences, both good and bad, in one’s life. Whatever belief or philosophy you hold, it shapes the decisions you make, the paths you take, even down to very small aspects of ones’ life. This is true about creative ideas as well.
To see a creative idea through to its birthing in real life, to say “YES” to it, requires that one must necessarily say “NO” to something else. This, I think, is the single most difficult thing for me, as a creative person, to navigate. To decide what, in my very full life, has to receive LESS of my attention, or possibly NO MORE of it so that I can tend to that which I believe in great measure I’m called to, or that I desire to accomplish, or that just seems plain fun…is VERY VERY difficult, painful, and over which I spend an enormous amount of energy brewing. Energy which would quite possibly be better used TOWARD my creative idea, rather than stewing over how in the world it might happen, and then the ensuing sadness when a whole day (weeks, years) goes by in which it hasn’t. The “let sit and rise” part of creative sourdough bread baking often feels like the rising loaves are just left on the stove to rise, then spill over the sides and fall. The loaves never get baked, no one gets to enjoy the result.
Julia Cameron in her books, The Artist’s Way and Walking in this World, encourages us to take baby steps in the direction of our creative ideas and dreams. These baby steps are designed to let a little of the pressure off of this backlog of creativity, a bit at a time. I do make every effort to do this, so as not to completely shut down the ideas and energy altogether…daily sketching and this blog are examples. But the thing that’s so difficult, is that in opening the door just a bit in one little direction, ALL the other “on hold” ideas are clambering to come out and play too! Like kids waiting to get out on the playground, they are pushing and shoving, jockeying for the best position to be the first out the door!! What’s a girl to do?
Well, I haven’t all the answers to this, other than to say that I’m hoping, in this idea-glowing morn, to unveil a few of these little baby steps. In my next post, I’ll start with the first creative “kid” out the door, introduce it to you, then roll out the next one…and the next one…slowly, perhaps over the next weeks and months. At least I’ll try.
And “try” is all any of us can do…to have the courage to try and try again. To stick with it, little by little, saying “yes” to a creative idea here and “yes” to another there as we say “no” to other things. To be willing to make the creative leap or jump, even if you have once before, to be willing to begin again, to continue on, to move forward, taking the next step creatively towards your ideas. Join me. Feel free to share how YOU are doing this…or not. I’d love to hear.