It was one of those “stuck” situations that feel like they cut us off in our prime, though I hadn’t felt tipped over by such a thing for ages; so, perhaps the last week had taken its toll on my emotions after all. I’d had one of those impulsive flights of fancy that I’m prone to, a creative spurge of “wouldnt it be great if…?”, but it had reached an impasse between the concrete pillars of life’s circumstance that wouldnt let me go where I really wanted to go and, suddenly, I was like a petulant toddler again, going into a teary blue funk, scowling and sulking my way to an unsettled bedtime. This wasn’t like me at all – I just couldn’t seem to put it down gracefully – so what had got my goat?
Lately, I’ve had such a burgeoning urge to claim more freedom, travel, spontaneity and experience – without so much planning or consideration for routine and responsibilities – and something came up that looked like a perfect opportunity to combine some of these things with a work-related opening. So I had this incredible idea about doing this thing, which seemed almost too good to be true…yet also seemed tenable enough that I ran with it for quite a time, researching it, imagining it, working out its finer logistics…and then, with a sudden contraction, it hit me that it probably wouldn’t work after all since it came up against those two seeming non-negotiables of most people’s lives; finance and responsibility.
The shock of the contraction was enough (after my flight of fancy) to send me reeling but then, I also noticed, it seemed to hurt much more than last time such a thing happened. In hindsight, I think this was because it felt like…having spread my wings so much lately…it was like suddenly having them clipped all over again, mid flight; so I fell abruptly to the ground. I had been pulled back, contracted, had hit the glass ceiling on my way to the sun. And I suspect we’ve all been feeling like that lately, at varying levels; so many of us have taken-off into such supersonic flight that, when the crash, the disappointment, the unseen outcome seems to floor us, we feel like we are falling all the greater distance before we hit the hard surface below and it hurts profoundly. Some of us seem to feel like we have sustained broken ribs and are lying in traction this last week, such has been our apparent tumble from the lofty edges of the unlimited sky. So this minor tumble got me wondering what it is that makes us feel like we have fallen so very hard and whether this is the very thing that prevents us from risking flight in the first place.
When these apparent tumbles in our circumstances happen, it hurts with all the betrayal of thinking that all the glories we have gathered along the way were false signposts, conjurings, mistaken glimpses through the mist. The pain comes from feeling our power taken off us – all over again (or that’s how we feel) but, really, it is because we have forgotten who we really are for long enough to give our power away…again. Its death of a thousand cuts comes from the handing over of our power to outside circumstances at the first sign of “here we go again”, making our joy conditional like we are sheep resignedly walking back into the same-old fold. The shock to our system can be profound after living it large for so long. We allow ourselves to go back to that cramped little world where we “can only be happy if” such and such thing happens or is a certain way, having come to know how expansive it is to live way beyond that. It is not so much that we are disappointed by this thing as in ourselves…for freely handing over our sovereignty to the “stand and deliver” of outside circumstance all over again, having told ourselves we were beyond all that. If there was one week when I needed to easily demonstrate to myself that I was capable of flight…whatever the outward circumstance…this was that week yet the learned behaviours of lie down and succumb can be powerful pattern-makers and they play out even now, in the swan-song of their era; for we are way beyond going back into the small places we have lived in for so long. This week has felt like the death throes of old reactions that hold us small…while we catch our breath…before throwing them over for ever.
This little thing that I was paining over wasnt anything “important” but I recognised very quickly how its disappointment represented a curtain moment between dimensions, like the “wizard” had been revealed as a little man pulling knobs and strings and all the magic of how expansive life has come had all but dissolved like melting snow. That wizard apparently wasn’t a wizard after all and, worst of all, no longer felt like me since I was apparently (still) being pulled hither and thither by things I seemed to have no ultimate say over since they seem to be outside of me, intractable and relentless. When you’ve become used to following your bliss and heading for the expansiveness and light, the vision all lit-up on the horizon, what happens when you try to follow that route and all the same old limitations and rocks appear in your path as ever they did? Perhaps its been too much of a week for me to take another blow but, suddenly on the hinge of this triviality, I felt so “done”.
So while researching and pushing and trying to make this thing come together, I got myself into that blue funk I spoke about and, in the morning, just felt leaden, so tired. Yet, prostrate on my yoga mat, staring out at a skyline that was, at once, lit-up golden with the sunrise held on leaves yet black-stormy skied, I got to asking myself why I could hypothesise about the creative interplay of light and dark yet hate it so when it comes up in my “real” life. Why do I resist the very same birth canals that I push against to get to my greatest light at the end of the my most epic tunnels (or work with in my paint) when they present through circumstance that seems bleakly mundane and shows no easy ending; the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other variety? They must be made of the same material. We have to want, to intend, to manifest in order to paint our own edges and define who we are, what we want to be. Why can’t I treat life more like its a painting?
In going along these lines, I could see how, by having the idea, doing the research, putting in place what I could to make this thing happen (even with its ends left untied…no guarantees…yet I’ve left room for a version of it to materialise, have scattered some arbitrary seeds to the wind and rain), I had done the very same thing as ordering in the new art supplies that are being delivered this morning…the extra big canvas, the new colours…all intended for a completely new work of art quite unlike anything I’ve painted before. Later today, I am preparing that canvas, putting down its foundation, putting out certain colours on the palette, taking baby steps in tiny brush-strokes towards the vision in my mind’s eye…and with no guarantee of outcome yet driven by something, as yet, aspirational, other-dimensional, not yet seen in this physical realm. What manifests that onto the canvas if not the unseeable vastness of an idea so tenuous, fragile, so-far ethereal that I couldn’t really explain it to you if I tried and yet its end product will speak for itself.
We do this all the time, with every intention we set (assuming we are not wing-clipped into thinking “we can’t”). There’s a particular feeling of excitement that comes with starting a new painting and its a vibration that I recognise so well so could I not bring that “note” into my life, into everything; even those aspects of playing with the heavier colours, the hefty old furniture of a world built of apparently immoveable circumstance? Like megaliths made of unfeasibly heavy stone, could I not learn how to shift those details of my life around the landscape of my life all the better to suit my higher visions; no different than paint, shifted into my chosen position one intentional brush-stroke at a time?
As I started to detect this very feeling of lightness burgeoning in me and braced for a morning spent “doing accounts” in a new-creative way, a well-timed bolt of sun came like sundial arrow of light between the crux of two rooftops and flooded the dreary autumn room with a cross of light. And isn’t this the very crux of the matter – where the circumstances of life meet up with our consciousness, we get to choose what that meet-point looks like. When we stick to only one path…the logic path, of what seems to be…we contract into “I can’t do that”, “how on earth…I’m stuck” and when we hide away in the flight of fancy in our head, we deny the hard logistics of our physical world and remain equally stuck in our airy-fairy imaginings. Yet when we bring them both together…living with a foot in each camp, doing what we need to do in each moment and yet leaving space for the new potential, taking whatever steps towards it that we can, preparing “as if” it is a likelihood rather than cutting it off in its prime, we bring these two quantum expressions of existence – the particle and the wave – together as the pivot-point of ourselves at the centre of that star of light experienced as our daily reality.
Above all, by not giving our power to the roots of our frustration; those feelings of not having choice, not having freedom, not having the “right” circumstances all lined up perfectly so that we can follow every golden impulse, we dont surrender ourselves to the kind of hopelessness that halts all creativity. I’ve witnessed a lot of usually expansive people apparently halted in their tracks by feelings of hopelessness this last week and I know what that feels like; on so many levels of life’s experiences. If that’s you, acknowledge it, love yourself a heap for bearing the contraction of it (heaven knows, you’ve borne enough wounds from such contractions across many lifetimes of experience) and then brace yourself for a new level of experience; one that you get to create through the interface of whatever circumstances happen to present themselves at the meet-point with an aspect of you that can see way beyond that to something entirely new and expansive.
Life can seem so set in its ways and yet, conversely, when we open to the possibility that, regardless of what is presenting to our “logical” minds via our five senses, we are still being led (by feelings of excitement that make our hearts flutter) towards this shining new outcome on the horizon of our broader perspective, like a glinting oasis in a desert then, by going towards it anyway, we inject the “hard” reality of circumstance with a whole new jet of potential….like light bursting through a window to transform a dark room. This transformation could be anything that we want…a “miracle” recovery from a health condition, an injection of finance into our bank account, an unseen outcome in a dire-seeming political situation. By serving as the crux of creativity we become the crucible of alchemical transformation devising new “chemical compounds” using the everyday ingredients of our world, like discovering new colour pigments that we never saw with our eyes before. Notable is that “crucible” is a word referring to a “melting pot” yet also derives from crux = “cross” and we are both of these; the meeting ground of all our experiences and yet the place where they all melt down into whatever interpretation we give them…you could say, the material and the immaterial experienced as one being, with the choice point determined by where we place our focus (or, our thoughts). Like the quantum particle and the wave in action, we decide what to make solid and what to allow to pass through without even touching our sides. When we play with these perspectives through experience, we discover we have far more creative power than we ever realised and more than enough confidence with which to wield it in the face of life’s supposed “rock solid” circumstances. I know the feeling of this oh-so very well from my art-pursuits; it makes me fizz inside, is like electricity coursing through me when I get this close to the creator impulse that changes realities so now to use this on the broader canvas much more than I have been doing so far.
I know I have already done this countless times before; using the same skill-set as when I paint to shape-shift so-called hard realities into brand new endings, getting what I really want, like I daubed my brush in completely different paint, holding that inner vision steady and working on that thing until it manifested. To date, I realise, I have almost had to trick myself into not noticing what I am doing in order to do this successfully; like suspending my own disbelief. And I have tended to reserve it for some sort of middle ground; not the really terrifyingly big things nor the really trivial. Now is the time to get masterful with that thing like never before, all of us, for we all have this skill if we but choose to use it; not just when playing with the inherently joyful things but with the harder stuff, the bits we don’t like dealing with so much, such as redesigning the hard-structural landscape of our lives. Its the exact same domain…just so long as we don’t allow ourselves to contract with fear or limitation mindsets, which only make us fall off that bicycle we’re so good at riding (when we don’t think about it too much)!
Those words I’ve used as the title to this post could be applied to a myriad situations…a diagnosis, an election result, a job loss, marriage breakdown or any other kind of set-back, whether earth-shattering or utterly trivial (since its all made of the same raw materials). The feeling of joy comes not so much from getting what we want as in taking those steps to express how truly liberated we are; free enough to choose our responses and, ultimately, our outcomes in any situation that might present itself…this is what delivers the true creative bliss of a life well lived and its opposite is the feeling of contraction that comes from the delusion that we are trapped by any circumstance “outside” of ourselves, though nothing really is “outside” this creative domain. My own contraction has forced me to look at the much broader canvas of myself (since life’s canvas is far too broad to see without pulling well back from it; just as I might take a walk across the room to see how my painting is coming along) and, from this expanded and very honest perspective, I have learned such a lot about areas of my “picture” I was using well and not-so well, even parts I was trying to ignore. This is such a moment for us all to do that – together; resulting in much more cohesion as we pick up our brushes to paint what we really want once more.