For about six months I’ve been feeling something shifting inside of me. I can only compare the sensation to being made of sand; where every move I make shifts a million grains into a new order that fills the holes and packs down to take the shape of each novel form, motion and angle into which I contort. The shifting brings confidence in its settling. But it also brings some discomfort in its weight and slow reluctance to continually resort itself from a form in which it was content. Regardless, this shifting brings me no alarm; it feels natural, timely and called (subconsciously) upon. While I feel it scraping around my insides and clearing the space for something new, with too many options on my table, I wonder if I will be doing the choosing or if, eyeing the clean and ready slate, it will be one of my choices that will snatch the opportunity and choose me. But then again, perhaps every decision is only the “x” where time and opportunity cross – and one (choice and chooser) could not exist without the other. In any case, comforting is the fact that there is also an unaccredited confidence that I am approaching a surprise conclusion. I’m not sure if I’m making any sense, but I attempt to explain this “shifting,” because I like to call out my phases as I move through them, especially for those mislead into thinking that I’m as solid and unwavering as my path sometimes projects.
While the shift is still nameless, there is a new theme that is taking shape. This week I found myself pondering my history and recognizing that while in high school and college I pursued what I imagined to be a “perfect” life (with perfect grades and perfect partners and perfectly pretty places) I finally (and think correctly) rejected the preposterous notion of “perfect” and replaced it with “unique.” And so I spent the next ten years singing to the theme song of, “of all my lives, this will be my most unique” and whistling this tune I walked to a few corners of the earth. Now while this message, of the options and expanse and magic of a unique life, continues to be the most important I carry and share with others, I feel myself now ready for something new. There is an important parable in Buddhism that asks, when you cross a river with a boat, and finally reach the other shore, do you pick the boat up and continue to carry it with you? In this way my “unique life” has served as my boat; and while it was essential in transporting me to where I am, I feel it now weighing and constricting me from my path forward. On a new side and shore, it’s time for me to respectfully leave the paradigm, as I would a child that has come of age, and reassume responsibility for my life, free of the constraints that even a “free” life contains.
So I move. And while perhaps it is not wise for me to so casually and quickly replace one word with another, it is my nature to theme my living, as aims, goals, intentions and dreams, I have yet to resolve as unessential.
The word I have chosen is, “creative.”
Can you hear the sigh in it? Does it not immediately drop bars and overwhelm with relief? Does it expand horizons beyond the straight lines of “unique”? Doesn’t it give room to color in instead of expand straight lines out? It does all these things for me.
And the word is full of challenge.
With a left brain sharpened by a business degree, statistics, excel spreadsheets, and finance, my right brain, while spinning quite out of control in dreams and sometimes in type, has yet to find the outlets through which it would like to fully breathe.
My “creative life” was seeded in birth, fostered in childhood, neglected through school and only started dropping hints as to its existence through the pockets discovered in the path of a “unique life.” But I’m turning those pockets now inside out, and challenging myself, starting this week, to the task of exercising the muscles and employing the tools of a creative life; to drop my bars of perfectionism and contours of exclusivity and open myself to the peaceful process of coloring my life in; focusing on the details, character development, and the lines on and stories behind, the hands that touch my life. It’s a big theme, but a small daily task, to stop looking forward, and instead consider the angles. And it’s a new beginning, with creative muscles that shake with neglect, weakness and fear. But it’s also an invigorating relief, to have a new boat, and new shores, and a new journey, to color in front of me. And I’m especially appreciative of the community of exercised artists that, with great luck, I have subconsciously called into my life as best friends, and of whom I will be calling upon for mentorship on this new phase of, “my creative life.”