Your 2024 Creative Restart: The Year to Reawaken Dormant Dreams
"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." — Seneca
January is a month for new beginnings. As we stand at the threshold of a new year, I'm reminded of Janus, the ancient Roman god of beginnings, gates, and transitions. He's a symbol of the paradox that every beginning is tethered to an ending, and every ending paves the way for a fresh start.
To move forward in life costs something.
This week I turned my attention to an abandoned lover. After months walking past, touching but never holding, I picked up my guitar again. I cleaned it and tuned it. I strummed and picked. I pulled out a handwritten sheet music for an old tune. And I sang.
Written after a painful breakup with my college boyfriend, that song expresses what it cost me then to make a new start. To my surprise, the chorus is as relevant today as it was when I wrote it in 1976.
“Dreams and wishes may never come true.
Your prince or princess may not wait for you.
But never let that dream slip from your heart
For it will guide you – guide you to a new start.”
Through the years I’ve made too many new starts to count, in every area of my life. My guitar is not the only thing I’ve abandoned along the way. But nowhere have I started and restarted more than in my creativity. That is probably why I'm so passionate about helping my clients do the same.
Recently I’ve been hearing from people who are aching for creative projects they’ve left dormant for decades. They’re coming to me for help to find the courage and consistency it takes to awaken those sleeping beauties. They’ve made the call, set up the coaching sessions. They’ve committed to a new beginning.
There are a lot of us making new starts this year. As our world roils around us, many of us are seeking deeper meaning in our lives. Dreams long forgotten are resurfacing, and some of us are pulling them down from their dusty shelves.
Is there something trying to catch your eye as you walk past?
Creativity is not a talent; it’s a way of life.
David Byrne, in his book, How Music Works, highlights that music does not just arise from within the individual alone as so many people think. The environment the creator lives in plays a big part. The elements of their environments enter the music through them for transformation. Are you listening?
In my book, The Wheel of Creativity, published the same year, I describe our circumstances as the raw materials of our lives. Our environments provide those circumstances, but what we do with them determines what happens next. These choices reverberate through our creative work throughout our lives.
You may have a project you think will change the world. You may define success as fame or wealth. But you don’t have to.
When I wrote my book, I really just wanted to write it. People told me what I should be doing to make it sell; but that’s not the book I wanted to write. My dream then was the old Hollywood myth, “Someone will discover me and tell the world about me and I won’t have to do all that stuff I don't want to do.” But that’s not what happened. I wrote the book I needed to write. And I don't regret it. The rest of the work came later.
Whether your project is great or small – whether it’s for the world or just for you – after you’ve made the entire loop from ideation to completion and beyond, the joy you feel for the work will not come from out there. The joy is in the making. Everything else is just the circus.
So, the secret is to commit.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.” — William Hutchison Murray, Mountaineer and Author The Scottish Himalayan Expedition
When I was a young television writer/producer, I partnered for a time with an experienced producer/director. Marvin and I formed a business and did dozens of interesting projects together. But I was as green as they come. For one project, he sent me in his place to produce a conference in Reno Nevada. When the client began screaming at me for some now-insignificant shortfall, I retreated to my room and called Marvin in tears. He listened and then simply said, “I wouldn’t have sent you if I didn’t think you could do it.”
Marvin believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I never forgot it. And with that conversation, I went back out there and got the job done.
What you believe determines your future outcomes. It determines how high you’ll reach, and how far short you expect you’ll fall.
Whatever dream you're living, this is the power of coaching. It’s having someone who's done it believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself. It’s the power of having a tribe to keep you company. It’s your buffer, your lifeboat, your safe container to retreat to when you've lost faith. And if you want to see what’s out there for you, beyond your comfort zone, it makes all the difference.
There’s nothing like doing things you didn’t think you could – setting and achieving challenging goals – to make you believe in yourself. To give you the confidence to reach for your dreams in the first place. You can either test your limits out there on your own or you can reach higher heights by giving yourself a net.
Some beginnings are easier than others. Some thresholds are tougher to cross. But it’s pretty clear that we need to make some choices for any kind of change to occur.
There was a reason we set our dreams aside, wasn’t there? It might seem that we just got too busy. But more likely we got too close… too close to the feelings that gave birth to our passion, to the disappointments that cut us to the core, to the fears of flying too close to the sun. It’s all in there.
But in the end, it’s the ache, the longing, the loneliness for your own creative life that will have you make the time, take the risk, do the work and feel the joy.
Here’s the truth. Whatever you’re seeking out there, really it is you that you’re missing. The beautiful you – fully alive with curiosity, discovery, tears and laughter – who wakes up when you're creating. It's the making where the joy is.
Just choose one area of your life where you’d like to see a change and make a start.
Begin it now.
“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What are you beginning? What new start is stirring your soul? Come get clarity for the vision that only you can see right now. Boost your courage to begin with us in this month’s Virtual Yurt. Join our intimate group of creators for this free reflection session on Sunday, January 21. Becuase, whether you believe it or not, trust me, you can do it.