The 12 Days of Creativity… Day 5.

Posted on Dec 18, 2011

Today I continue my tour around the Wheel in 12 Days of Creativity. Day 5, and Station 5, is Isolation.

Have you ever launched a project, gotten it off the ground with great enthusiasm, only to have the wind knocked out of you a short time later? This is the point in the journey where the voices of doubt begin screaming:

  • What were you thinking?
  • Who did you think you were?
  • How could you possibly have thought you could…?
  • You should never have left… [your day job]!

This is the point in the creative process that I call Isolation. Station 5 is midway through the Exploration quarter, and you are out at sea. The shore of all you’ve left behind is out of sight; the shore of the new world is nowhere in sight either.

Each quarter in the Wheel of Creativity has its own dark places, where the old forms stop working in order for something new to come in. In the Exploration quarter, it is here. In Isolation, it is easy to be distracted by the circumstances of ‘reality’, which are inevitably not what you were expecting:

  • The agent rejects your book proposal.
  • The business angel decides to invest elsewhere.
  • Your sample warehouse goes up in smoke.
  • Another boyfriend turns out to be married.
  • You don’t get the job.

Station 5 is the place of despair, where after weeks or months or years of searching, there is still no land in sight. The voices within you – what I call the crew – cry out for mutiny:  “There’s nothing out here!” It is a frightening time, one that every great explorer has surely faced when the land that was supposed to be there wasn’t.

My European walkabout began, three months behind schedule, with two American friends at a holistic holiday center on the Greek island of Skyros. It was just what I needed to reconnect with myself. After two weeks in paradise, we said our goodbyes in Athens. They headed back to the US, and I got on a plane alone for Florence. I did not know why, but I was completely terrified. It was September 10, 2001.

Three tips for navigating Station 5:

  1. Stay vigilant. Only if you are alert when land appears will you see it.
  2. Learn to navigate. The only instruments you will ever need you have within; learn to use them.
  3. Form a deeper connection. Turn you attention away from the disheartening circumstances and remember your vision within.

Though Station 5 may feel extremely uncomfortable, you are exactly where you need to be. It is in your lostness, where you will connect the dots between yourself, the stars and the horizon, in order to reap the reward of this difficult station…

Discovery of the new world.

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The 12 Days of Creativity… Day 4

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The 12 Days of Creativity… Day 6.