I am often asked this question: When I try to meditate, I fall asleep. What does it mean? The deep and enlightened answer to that question is: it means you are tired ; )
It’s the same thing when you finally make space for your creative work. You carve out a couple of hours or a few days out of your routine for it, and you get sick or you are too tired to focus or tap into your creativity. It means your body needs rest, attention, and support.
We are so conditioned to be busy, to fill up our days with tasks that often the first time we have a chance to stop and realize how tired we really are is when we hit the pillow at night. Chances are we weren’t very creative that day because soul-fuelled creativity requires us to be present to our being, to pause long enough to hear or feel the communication from our soul.
When I left my teaching job at the university for focusing on my passion full-time and become self-employed, I found it very challenging to go from “reacting” to “creating”. There is a huge difference between the two. When you have an employer and you have specific outcomes and times to be somewhere, you make it happen. You react to an outside demand. Someone else is setting the boundaries and that's familiar. If we were raised to believe we needed to find a job and that our creativity had to be a hobby, not the main thing, we have to become the advocate for that creative space, because the outside world will most probably tell us that it is not a worthwhile priority.
When you are working for yourself, writing a book, building your soul-centred business, no one sets your schedule, you can create your day in any way you wish. And that can be destabilizing. If I can be and do anything, how do I choose? What do I really want? Reacting is easier than creating. But for innate leaders and artists, reacting won’t be enough. It will always feel like something is missing.
It’s the same with parenting. We are so used to reacting to what our children need that when they don’t need us as much anymore or we get to carve out time for ourselves to create, it is often difficult to shift gears and create from within as opposed to react to an outside situation.
When I wrote my thesis, I had a thesis director to respond to, I had his comments and feedback to react to, I had his timeline to follow. Even though I had to self-motivate to write every day, I still had an external point of reference for what I needed to do and that would get me going. When I began writing my book, without a deadline or a book contract or any kind of income related to me writing, it was sooooo hard to make the shift.
I wanted to write about my heart’s musings and in order to hear the musings, I had to quiet my mind and still my body long enough to shift my focus. When I did that, I realized that my heart wasn’t the only part of me that had something to say: my belly was uncomfortable, my mind felt sluggish, my neck was in pain, I felt restlessness in my solar plexus, and all of it deeply frustrated me, made me feel so impatient, and I would often give up and tell myself it must not be meant to be. That’s why it took me 8 years to get my first book done and out!
I often felt like I didn’t deserve space and time to tend to my musings. Being creative meant I had to unpack and question conditioned beliefs and habits on how my days and my weeks were to unfold. I had to heal old wounds that had been begging for my attention. I tried hard not to make the contemplation and healing work another excuse to not carve out time and space to focus on the writing. I did the work concurrently. This is our life. Our daily commitment to be an artist in the medium of life includes the uncomfortable work.
Space is uncomfortable because space is love. And we are not used to so much love coming our way from ourselves. But we all know that if we don’t make the time, do the healing work, take care of our bodies, then the whispers of the soul will come back, and they always come back, but louder and bolder, and we will have to, one way or another, answer the call.
So let's answer the call. Do one or two things today that will support you becoming more comfortable in your being, more comfortable with silence, and do one or two things that if you do them, tonight, when you go to bed, you will be able to say: I honoured my heart today, I gave her time and space.