When it comes to soul creativity projects, I am not a complete slouch. I completed a music CD last year. I have created enlightened comedy characters that people prefer to my own company. Yet, though I had wrestled a weekly slot labeled “creative writing” into the schedule, momentum eluded me. Things often took over. I slept in, or took a break.
Last month my coach gently called me on the fact that my creative soul was showing up. Yay coaching. Yes, this was one of the focus areas I had named. He told me that of my three goals, this felt the heaviest. Heavy! What!? Why? I asked. Because it’s not happening, he answered.
OMG. Oh, oh, oh. I had to realize, he was right. I was talking the talk, but not walking the walk. Around that time, (thanks universe), I happen to listen to a podcast about challenging writing periods. I took action to join a weekly one hour writing group, one of the suggestions. Happy to say, Soul Creative Flow (SCF) has restarted. A bit more structure/support was needed.
And I noticed a new angle on keeping soul creativity alive that’s relevant. This angle also helped me be compassionate with myself. These blocks – be they dragons or other guardians at the gate – are often partly unconscious. Small mind versus big. In the background yet powerful. And once they are named, you can tame them. You can get that momentum back, get back to the flow that makes life more fun.
Let’s bust ‘em out.
DRAGONS AT THE GATE OF SOUL CREATIVE FLOW (SCF)
Reptiles, dragons, guardians at the gate. It made some sense, why it can be so damn hard to keep those creative, intuitive, soul work juices going. Seems so simple – just do the work! Steven Pressfield will tell you this, amidst a lifetime of working with what he terms resistance. But that JUST DO IT doesn’t always work, despite Nike’s advice.
No, we are soft animals. The devil is in the details of how you will keep that fresh air of soul alive. You will find your unique way. Guardians and dragons are not meant to kill. Not immediately. And as covid has unveiled, death, when looked it the eye, may not be so scary. Compared to some other things. Like dying before you do this thing that matters.
Let’s look at some dragons that recently shared their warm breath and lit a fire … in various body parts.
DRAGON #1: The Dragon of Doubt and Comparison
The Dragon of doubt will, oh yeah, wonder why you even bother, because it’s all been done, there’s nothing original to express in this world anymore, and what if it sucks and you’re humiliated/taken down/finally have to take up residence under that bridge?
The dragon of comparison wonders, “Um, why exactly haven’t you already done this?” It’ll add an eye roll, sigh, and whisper, “Loser”. Or you’ll happen to see the TED talk or hear the podcast or watch the movie about the charmed emergence of said gifted artist or entrepreneur who effortlessly created X. After only six months at it. And you see it at just the right, prelaunch, knee-shaking time for maximum discouragement.
When small mind doubts/compares, let it know that your voice is gonna be different. Maybe just a slight tweak of difference, but it’s what you came to do. It doesn’t matter that Ethelyne did the same cover or used the same colors. It doesn’t even matter if anyone else ever sees it. What matters is what your spirit getting its say. Your soul light shining. And yes, finishing the thing does count. Huge. Even if nobody knows but you.
DRAGON 2: The Set-it-Up-Perfectly or Finish-the-Last-Thing-First Dragon
I notice this sometimes when picking up the creative thread after it’s been dormant. In reentering the flow, mind may say, “Oh, you need to clean the office first.” Or it points out that you have no idea where the microphone is and you really should find it. Or it points out that you need to sort and reorganize the old piles of writing, before you start. And hey, that busy work counts toward your creative and productivity hours, right?
This may be partly true. Yet, It may be an HSP thing, that highly sensitive person view. HSPs go deep and do things with a level of detail that is, well, often not appreciated. Especially when the deadline’s passed. And sorry, HSP, wishing for the perfect birth, it’s messy here. Starting messy is better than taking another day to get that perfect set up. How about doing the thing first? Even for a short time? Then work on that old writing pile or creating the perfect writing nook. Make it a reward even.
DRAGON 3: The Dragon of Emotion Past
When I did finally start (writing in this case) – there be emotions around the threshold. That avoidance that was going on? Probably wanted to perpetuate the romantic hope that creativity is just a blissful romp. It guarded my facing an emotional truth and some regrets about the love song I thought would be fun. Not. Well, maybe partly. But first? I had to cross into shadowlands of life’s sadness and tragedies.
It’s OK. This didn’t kill me. This dragon and I are now drinking tea. Yes, it did put out a fierce fire at first. This may have been one reason to hesitate, to procrastinate, however unbeknownst to me. Helpful that Dragon burned my ass; at least my la-di-da expectations.
These emotions may be uncomfortable. You may cry. But you won’t die. Let’s guess that such emotions can even enrich the project. Sadness and tragedy is part of that love song, part of what may make it more deep and true. Hence country music.
Hidden emotions can be a seed of the deep aliveness you’re craving, who knew? Facing a regret or past mishap one more time – it’s not a lost effort. Yet again, you can recreate your perspective and rename lessons learned. You get to face the humble truth that you are human and thus, imperfect. Another country song in the making.
Dealing with Dragons
There is hope for dealing with these dragons at the gate. I can vouch for more aliveness from just the last three weeks of restarting. Even for one hour a week. My artist senses have returned. I’m seeing color and design anew. I hear subtleties of composition in songs.
I was able to create amidst the chaos in the office. That night, I cleared the way for the new standing desk, still in its box for weeks. I did hours of decluttering. Flow still a trickle but it’s noticeable. Fun’s back.
This is not just about the finished product or the genius acclaim. No. Recapturing your soul creative flow enflames aliveness and amusement. Aliveness is what so many seek. It’s the core of what helps your smirk and swagger for life return.
I hope this helps you move out of procrastination to that next step into the mess of what matters. To give the list making a break and yes, just do it. You know one next step.
And as long as you’re stepping like that, SCF rebounds. You’d like to die happy, right? Joyfully slide home? Amen. Oops, watch out. Smoke ahead.
Photo by vecteezy.com