“I get the sense that she’s creating something she doesn’t actually want,”
Ash said to a group of us girlfriends.
Although the comment wasn’t directed at me. It was.
And with it, the wave came.
Flooding from deep within, an acknowledgment of a truth I was damming back.
In that moment, my body sank.
Salty heated tears precipitated.
Drowning, cleansing, suffocating, purifying water.
The waves of breath. The heaviness of quiet.
For weeks underwater. I felt like I was suspended, stuck in the middle of the ocean, nowhere to go.
“I get the sense she’s creating something she doesn’t want,” I kept hearing repeat in my mind.
I was building a way out, a hope, a creative outlet. But along the way I had created my version of those I looked up to.
And online, just like off, it’s easy to try on skins to see what feels alive, creative, and vibrant.
And with the glittery world of social media, the promise of big money, of freedom, of do this and that and it can all be yours — siren calls, sparking life in the moment but also potentially taking us off course.
However, just like Odysseus, when we detour it’s not always conscious. It’s part of the journey and we learn to shed and become more of who we are by trying on new ways of being. And by realizing what doesn’t feel in alignment we fight for what truly is.
So, when underwater, all I wanted to do was take the weight off to alleviate the pressure. And to do that I had to face unapologetically what I was filling my days with that didn’t light me up.
- Facebook deactivated.
- Business put on pause.
- Newsletters unsubscribed.
- Unaligned paid opportunities, guest posts, and collaborations turned down.
As I stripped, I started to come back for air.
And to grip back on land, I ran. Literally. The shoulds, the personas, the creative wounds, the doubts, the fears that had built up around my heart started to loosen as my heart pounded and cracked the callouses around it.
I kept running, hiking, downward dogging, whatever I could to get back into my body. I cleansed my diet and flushed with water.
The internal and the external reaching for an equilibrium.
Exercise creating friction. Starting to dry out.
But I couldn’t write, so I read.
- I planned my next trip. (Myanmar and Thailand kept me grounded and I hadn’t even set foot on their land.)
- I journaled rather than typed.
- I prayed for relief.
- I revisited a manuscript I wrote that went dormant.
- I started learning calligraphy—Practicing each letter one at a time. Resurrecting an art as a way to resurrect the words within myself.
And with each next right action, slowly the creative fire was fanned.
We never know what’s going to challenge us, shake us, and take the wind out of our lungs.
But these moments are inevitable. Breakthroughs happen after break-downs. Forests regrow after fires, and we come to new evolutions each time we crumble.
And all we can do is move through it in whatever way that we can. Books, wisdoms, perspectives can be helpful, but what we can really count on is our own trusting in the dark night of the soul. For there will be various ones scattered through our lives, and the greatest beacon of light is knowing that we will be able to survive it.
With each metaphoric death, we are called to come back home to ourselves. We are asked to shed. To face the parts of us that we’ve been living and breathing but don’t make us feel alive.
And when we are in a drowning place, all we want to do is come back to life. And the gift of that longing is the longing for life itself.
And in those moments of drowning we need to give ourselves, and each other, more love not less. We need to create from a place of gentleness and fight.
Making sense of it now, perhaps, I never was drowning but rather in the primordial womb. Transforming, growing, coming back home to myself.
In a world of so many sirens, it’s more important than ever to trust full heartedly in our own internal compass.
Those darlings we are asked to shed, at one point brought life and were needed for the next evolution of growth. But there is a time when they are no longer serving and that’s when we need to muster the courage to let them go.
I’m sure there will be more rounds of this process and I’m okay with that.
Although I’ll always be in a process of figuring out where I’m going, one thing for sure is I trust in the writing process. I trust in myself. I trust in the intention for artistry, for vulnerability, for seeking aliveness in the creative process.
I’m giving myself permission to write what wants to come through. I’m giving myself permission to share about this beautifully painful, alive, abundant, radiant human experience. And because of who I am, I’ll be writing about creativity and writing. I’m here to cheerlead your creativity. To help us both navigate the ups and downs of the writing process. These are my lighthouses always leading home and I welcome you to join me on the journey.