Sometimes creativity is about finding yourself, again and again — each new beginning a remembering.
“somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose”
~ Excerpt from “somewhere i have never travelled” by e.e. cummings
The Eerie Familiarity of New Experiences
I gathered up my dirty clothes into a large ball and took them to the courtyard to wash. The late afternoon Lagos sun cast a golden glow, slanted onto the walls of the housing complex. Laundry lines crisscrossed between the buildings, and a few shirts, towels, and socks flapped with each spring breeze.
I filled the stainless steel tub with water and powdered soap, plunged in the grungy mass, and started churning and rubbing each item. It was the first time I had done laundry since my friends and I embarked upon our European adventure, and I was thrilled with the prospect of having fresh clothes.
Overhead, I could hear a radio; I couldn’t understand the broadcaster’s Portuguese, but I could tell by the periodic eruptions of cheers that their football team was in the lead.
I turned my attention to the clothesline overhead. Out of nowhere, a strange surging…jolting…shiver coursed through me, followed by one of the most delicious waves of bliss I had ever experienced.
The courtyard. The laundry lines. The ancient exterior walls of the buildings. The football game. The sounds of life coming from the windows all around me. The soft, balmy breeze with all of its edges rounded. The freedom of traveling with my friends. The newness of it all, yet it was eerily familiar as if I had lived it before.
As I rinsed the clothes and wrung them out, I was careful to stay connected to whatever had taken a hold of me. I did not want to lose it…scare it off. The buoyancy of the profound sense of connection…history…past-present…rolled in giant happiness waves through me.
Finding Yourself Again
It was as if I had found a twin I didn’t know existed. A part of me that had been unknowingly lost up until that moment.
It was a definitive moment of my piercing through a membrane, taking me from one level of awareness to a new understanding…a deeper sense of my true self. One moment I held a certain perspective, and in the next it was exploded open into a connection to my own heart.
It was a beginning of remembering.
When entrepreneurs come to me for coaching, they are quite often in what I call the Stagnation Zone…stuck in some weird limbo filled with anxiety and frustration. They have hit an inflection point where they have run out of steam and can no longer find meaning in their business (or personal life), nor connection with their market.
Whatever they used to propel themselves forward in the past is no longer working, and they are now at a painful crossroads.
It is a powerful moment of choice: they can rise to a new level of self or stay stuck (and/or witness their enterprise falter and fizzle out).
While hitting the Stagnation Zone is scary, it is filled with untold possibility. Not unlike my moment in Lagos, it is the beginning of remembering one’s true self. Finding yourself. An awakening. A call to a new horizon.
And if the entrepreneur is willing to go on a journey, not knowing the destination (nor how things will unfold along the way), she or he will rise to a new level of self…a new awareness. This forms the raw material for breaking free, returning to joy, reclaiming one’s creativity, healing old hurts, and finding market fit and business growth.
New Horizons of Passionate Creativity
In Portugal, I realized my life was connected to something I had never known. A horizon I didn’t know was even there. It was a cryptic message in a bottle, holding a riddle inside. A riddle for me to break apart and understand, decipher, and decode.
It was a nudge to learn much more about exploring inklings and not tune them out. It was the beginning of my journey of coming to understand there was much more to me than I had realized.
We are called over and over from within ourselves to wake up. Often, we choose to hit the snooze button on our lives, preferring routine and familiarity…regardless of how painful it is.
Clients will often assert they do not know their purpose nor their true passion. This is a lie we tell ourselves as a way to stay small. But we do know. We just have forgotten how to remember.
You have forgotten about finding yourself.
Think back to what used to open you…like e.e. cummings’ rose. What unfolds you? What connects you to your ability to see with new eyes and feel with a new body and a new mind?
Look for the ways you used to play that you chose to shelve when life got busy. Gift yourself the opportunity to return to your sandbox of delight…even for just a couple of hours each week. Slowly, the petals of you will open, taking you across the membrane of being stuck to a horizon of remembering and freedom.