Disappointment and the Creative Path
Disappointment is the first stone on the creative path. But it’s the second stone that counts.
what I lived for – no longer
nourishes my soul.
A few weeks ago, I made a promise to a friend. I started writing one haiku every day. It was all I could commit to.
This friend calls me “The Poet.” In his eyes, what I say, how I see things, my relationship with the world is all poetry. I feel slightly embarrassed by his reflection, but I humbly agree.
He takes me back to a time in my life when I knew this to be true. I had just arrived in LA from Chicago, my first leap into the void based solely on intuition. Not knowing but KNOWING. One morning, pinned by doubt to the floor of the bathroom in my temporary home, I said it out loud to a wise woman who knew me well, “I am a poet.”
But what place do poets have in this world?
Within months I had turned back to the profession I left in Chicago. And despite the crazy competitive environment out there, I quickly found work as a scriptwriter and producer. Good work. Interesting projects. Respectable clients. I was grateful. But somewhere along the way I lost touch with the Poet. It happens. To a lot of us.
Where are you on your creative path right now?
You may think creativity is a hobby… something you do in a corner of your house after all your real work is done. You may think it’s a gift you’re born with or not and there’s nothing you can do about it. You may think it is a competitive advantage you can harness to build your business and make more money. You may think it’s a skill to be developed and used for a purpose.
I have long thought of Creativity as the force of Life itself. I’ve believed you can tap into it anytime you wish. You can learn to dig deep, cultivate it and make it grow.
Lately I’ve wondered if I was wrong. After all these years of hard work, business building and productivity, the room in myself where Creativity lived was dark and cold. She had left me.
I was bereft.
And there I was on the day that I spoke with my friend. Driven to my own exhaustion by if-only and never-enough, I lay in the depleted, cracked soil of my own life. Curled up in the ashes of my burnout, I shed tears that moistened seeds I’d almost forgotten.
All I could do was haiku.
Just 17 syllables. One poem each night before I close my eyes. One stone after the other on the path through the desert of disappointment to… I never know exactly where. But I am moving. I am alive. And Life is moving in me again.
A sacred union
Creativity is a sacred union of two universal energies: Active and Receptive. The Active is the one we worship today. Masculine. Left brain. Productivity. Results. We get down to work and we make things happen. The Receptive is the one we subjugate to second place. Feminine. Right brain. Allowing. Process. We let go of the work and allow life lead. We’re all more comfortable in one, but we must develop the other to be strong.
I’ve recently been called a workhorse. I lead with the Active. When I set a goal for myself, I will work with singular focus and relentless energy to do whatever it takes to reach that goal. But focus, hard work and doing all the right things do not a guarantee make. And the harder I work, the deeper the disappointment if the result fails to meet my expectation.
Creativity is the lover that makes your life worth living. But she needs your attention. He is jealous… and impatient. Without her, the ground of your being is cracked like the desert floor. Without him, life is pallid and dull.
Are you creating? Are you working? Are you waiting for a sign? Wondering if you have what it takes? Disappointed with the way things have turned out?
Those who are willing to do the work – to lay one stone down at a time on this uncertain path – will truly live.
Disappointment is the first stone on the creative path because it awakens your deepest longing for something more. It launches a creative process in you and brings you to the start of the creative cycle I have mapped in The Wheel of Creativity.
It is what you do next that counts. The next stone you lay is the most important one.
If you've been feeling disappointed with life, with your results, with yourself, make some space for your creative response to emerge. Join me on May 27th in the virtual yurt for a free Reflect & Reset centering session, so you can make that next stone you lay really count.