What the heck has happened here? It feels like Mount Inspiration the volcano has erupted. The lava is spilling and spurting, it’s in free flow. I can stop the lava, the words. There are stories at every turn, in every conversation, the words are forming sentences in my head as I run, they invade my dreams. Heck, last night I couldn’t even sleep on account of the words that wanted to be written. You’d think for someone who wants to write that’s a good thing right? Except the more I write those words, the more my heart goes out into the world and in creep the niggles followed by the doubts.
Aren’t kids the greatest teachers? Little mirrors into ourselves. This morning on our way to visit family Jimmy is wearing a shirt and it’s hot, so he asks me to take it off. ‘Wait, when we stop’ I say. Jimmy, who taught himself to ride before I could even think about the old ‘hold the bike with a scarf’ trick decides he won’t wait. He slowly works his way up those buttons and teaches himself to undo them. Of course he does, he is dogged that one.
There is a lot of me in Jimmy. Like this writing caper I want to learn it so I find a way in and I try. The difference with Jimmy is that the lava isn’t in free flow even though he’s trying new things that are opening a new world to him. He’s not thinking was I ok? How did it look? Did I pedal in synch? Am I going to be able to ride tomorrow? I can 100% guarantee that he is not worrying about whether he should have learnt to do his buttons up before he learnt to undo them. Nope! He just moves in and out of his little life and even though the lava bubbles and hisses when he stacks his bike, he scrapes his little body, seeks a hug and he gets back up. Or, he takes a break. His Mount Curiosity remains dormant. Bubbling and hissing yes, but not spilling over into the lego game he is now playing, he’s singing.
In a small town called Benagéber on our way to Valencia in Spain I took one of my favourite photos. To me it was the perfect combination of earth and sky. A reminder of the YIN and YANG where two cannot live without the other. It was an image that seemed to show me so perfectly that my challenge when finishing our adventure would be to learn to live within my extremes. Rather than operate in and all or nothing way I would need to bring in some new habits to balance some imbalances. I would need some busy to meet the idle. Some noise to shake up the quiet. Some ferocity to wake up the meek. Some laughter to sideline the serious.
The niggles crept in yesterday, of course they did. I’ve been putting a lot of heart into this space this week and that’s vulnerable work. I’m sharing a journey. Learning to express the lava into words, words into sentences, sentences into stories. Stories that will hopefully connect with people. There is an intensity in writing about feelings in this way that needs to be moderated. I can only write in feelings.
Unlike when I first started writing I now have a tribe. A tribe that I have built up over time. They come from all over the world, some I’ve met personally, some I haven’t. Some are long term friends, some are newer. I think of them as my boardroom of creativity warriors. Mostly, they are women but recently a creative gentleman has joined the boardroom table. They are the people that I can share with (modus operandi is currently long open What Ap. typed conversations). They make creative choices, some of them make things, some grow things, some of them stand up for things and they always make time for deep conversation. I know that making the time to have conversations about my creative and life struggles has made me fiercer. In turn, listening to others has made me more humble, more empathic and it encourages me to challenge my view of the world and my relationships in a more honest and creative way.
Making time to speak the words is something Annette from I give you the verbs wrote about yesterday. She writes ‘speaking the thing that’s troubling you can be mighty powerful’. Her full post is here, she doesn’t need many words to pack a punch. She writes with heart and she always gets me thinking.
I spoke the things that were troubling me with one of my boardroom warriors yesterday and I landed here back at this image, remembering this lesson. Don’t be all or nothing. I was repeating an old pattern, one that saw me close down a blog because it became to intense. Contrary to my idea earlier in the week that I’m a rule breaker by writing long words. I was, actually writing too much. I spilled too much lava in the previous posts and they were too long for me to keep on track. I was also posting too early because I would go back time and again to edit the posts and spending late nights writing when I am a morning person. Not very sustainable.
I still have all words in my head and stories to write but I don’t want to be consumed by them because like Jimmy I have other things to do and I need to shift between them, keeping the lava bubbling and hissing, yet at bay. Passion is a great thing but never in extremes. In my experience passion in the extreme will lead to a stack. Stacks help us of course but not the same old stack time and time again.
So as I discover how to fit this writing into my life and I need to because it’s where my curiosity is taking me. I need to learn to moderate. To make the changes required to develop a creative process that is sustainable in my life. I allowed my critic to speak and I listened to her niggles and doubts. Sometimes we niggle because we need to tweak something, a thought or a behaviour. Just as sometimes we need to tell her to shut up because we are following our heart, our purpose, we are not making a fool of ourselves by trying.
Lessons to self:
Remain clear about my purpose, my ‘why’ I’m here:
I’m digging in to see where this curiosity wants to go. I want to do something with it. Something bigger than me and the privilege of being creative. I want to learn to hone this writing caper, grow with it. I thought it was to write a book but that may not be the only place that it’s unfolding…time will tell (something is brewing – watch this space).
My life is a full life and not everything is about writing. While I need to fade into writing with commitment I also need to be in the other parts of my life. Dedicate the time and stick to that commitment but don’t give up everything else around me. Sure reduce some things like online activity, toilet cleaning, wine drinking, dishwasher emptying but stick with the other stuff I need like running, laughing, cooking, knitting, photo-taking, kids hugging and drinking the water. Seriously, I’ve been so busy writing that I don’t get up to drink. Hence the free flowing lava. My mind had been totally focussed on the writing.
This is the biggest one. Slow it down on the page. This is where living a slower life starts to shift itself into a new area of my life. Not everything needs to sit here on this page. There is nothing wrong with taking the time to develop a thought. Leave it. Come back. Leave it again. In fact all the shifts in my slow living journey have come from sitting with an idea, playing with it, letting it unfold and adjusting. Honesty disclosure: I came back to edit after a run. So I should run before publishing. Life’s clear when I’m moving. Forward motion. Truth.
She is not all bad. I can listen to her and take what she says on board. I can then either deal with what needs to be dealt with, or, ignore her when she’s telling me to sit back down, be a good girl and be quiet.
Just as I benefit from my boardroom of creative warriors I need to be a supportive creative warrior to others. We need each other. We seek each other out for a reason.
Right take me away curiosity. No, wait, hold on a minute while I readjust my assent up Mount Inspiration. Yes, adjustments made now I’m ready – forward and into the weekend we go. Have a cracker.
This is flipping the bird girl by Rory @samedog (he also posted an opinion today I think should be shared, you know I like when people share gutsy opinions). Flipping the bird girl is my screen saver on my phone and she is on my side.