Every time I sit down to write this article I stop. It’s really hard to write about the space-in-between — the creative pause — the gestation period… when I am in it. Yet these words are insistent on being written.
It hit me when I arrived back from London, though I had felt murmurs of it even back then. This strong urge to do absolutely nothing. When my friends write to see how I am I keep replying:
I just want to spend a week or two, alone, in nature, in a luxurious bed. And sleep, and rest and do absolutely nothing for a while! And then go back to the drawing board and see what I want to do. And I could… but I have commitments and responsibilities (clients and a new house… what was I thinking)!!? Lol. Jokes. I am really happy and life is good. I’m just going through a massive transition: physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and sometimes I feel a little crazy.
One thing that I’ve discovered time and time again is that the creative process requires a gestation period: a phase where it simply sits in my body and incubates, before I start taking steps towards bringing it to life.
You cannot create and put out at the same time as you receive. And right now you mustn’t keep trying to create. You must relax and receive.
I am most certainly in a receptive phase in my life. The two words that have accompanied me everywhere this past month are surrender and receive. I keep hearing them over and over again and sometimes I want to shout I am! and they reply More!⠀
To begin with I was unwilling to surrender. But I have so much to do! I thought. Until I had no choice… The words, the motivation and the energy to do the things I do vanquished and I was left feeling hollow and alone, at the precipice of an existential crisis. Until I tuned in again… surrender and receive. And I finally did.
The first few weeks were tricky. I tried but couldn’t distract myself with tasks: my energy immediately deflated. Social media felt overwhelming, and sometimes even answering simple emails and writing in my journal felt too much. How do I balance the things I must do with doing nothing? I kept asking myself, the universe, and anyone who would listen.
Then I went through the 4 fours stages of surrender:
Denial: Maybe I don’t really need to slow down and surrender. Maybe I’m just bored and need to find more things to occupy my time.
Fear: What if people think I’m lazy? What if this feeling of living in a space-cloud never goes away and my enthusiasm never-ever returns!!!!
Guilt: Maybe I AM lazy! I should just get over myself and start doing all the things?! Am I just feeling sorry for myself?
Acceptance: I realise I am simply going through a change. I recognise that for my body to heal and my life to be lived at its highest expression, I need to slow down and surrender. I trust myself and I trust life to guide me.
I have entered my creative pause. In this place I must be open and receive. I know that on the other side of this time period, I will be filled with clarity, insight, direction and enthusiasm. But for now, I must simply surrender, be open to what the world is giving me and trust.
What that means is that I have limited my tasks to the bare essentials: just enough for my work and life to keep ticking on, while creating enormous amounts of time and space for quiet reflection and self-care.
Instead of filling my time with being productive, I take my time to prepare and eat good meals, play my ukulele and sing, listen to music and audio books, or do yoga and hike the hills nearby. I lie on my yoga mat or on my bed for hours, just feeling, allowing my awareness and thoughts to drift. I watch movies and tv shows that I would have previously considered a waste of time, and write in my journal, as often and as much as I feel drawn to.
I’m living out one of my fears: to have a very simple, boring existence, for a while. It surprises me how good it feels.
While I can’t put words to what this creative pause is bringing with it yet, I am catching glimpses of what the future holds. I feel more sensitive, the world had more vivid colours and is filled with more love, everything feels more significant, beautiful and touching, than before. I keep receiving these illogical downloads of how my world and my work will unfold from here, but my mind cannot make sense of them.
So I wait, patiently for this creative pause to unfold.