The 12 Days of Creativity… Day 8.
We’ve almost hit the mark! Tonight, just after midnight in the US and early tomorrow morning in Europe, the North Pole reaches its farthest point from the sun. This moment is what scientists call the Winter Solstice. Tonight is the longest night of this year. So, it’s an appropriate time to enter Station 8 in the Wheel of Creativity, for Station 8 is Gestation.
Station 8 takes you into the center of the Incubation quarter, where the tender new life conceived in Station 7 remains hidden from view. The creative seed within you cracks open, making space for the fragile new thing to develop, protected from outside influences.
While gestation periods are predictable for our children, our animals, and even most plants, the gestation period of an original thing in your creative process often cannot be known. In Station 8 the game is waiting, and the task here is to be patient.
To look at this egg, balancing on its end here on last year’s Solstice, is to visualize the mysterious and invisible action of Gestation. No matter how hard you try, you cannot see what is happening within. Time passes, and nothing’s happening still. You’re waiting and waiting. Still nothing. And the blissful feeling of a new thing inside turns urgent.
In more than 25 years as a freelance writer, I often experienced this urgency around my work. Deadline is looming; client is squawking; still nothing. I guess it’s where I first coined the phrase: “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. And then suddenly, I know.”
I have also experienced it in my life. When six weeks turned to a year for me in France, I trusted the process. I went back to the US for a month’s visit, and received a surprise offer for a dream job. Ten weeks passed as details were negotiated, until at the last minute, we could not agree on money. I was furious, as I had trusted that process too and given up my place in France. Almost a year later, gestating myself in a small room in a friend’s house, I got an email from France “out of the blue.” It was an offer for a project. I was on a plane the next week, took on the project within the month, and continued it for the next three years.
The Task of Station 8 is to relax. What is needed here is faith. But just as patience is developed by waiting in line, faith is developed on the edge where it is lost.
I had heard it said that, on the day of the Solstice, an egg will stand on its end. And it has become one of my favorite semiannual experiments. Last year I tried it. It works! But only on two days each year: the Winter and Summer Solstices! So try it at home today! And while you’re learning to relax, supporting your egg until it stands on its own, meditate on this:
- What does it mean to carry an original creative life within you?
- What is needed to make space for the new thing to develop?
- What do you risk if you rush it?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting for this day. Starting tomorrow the days will grow longer and longer until Summer. Hurrah! Maybe the little shoot will appear!