What is the opposite of creativity?
You are innately designed to use your personal power. When you don’t, you experience a sense of helplessness, paralysis, and depression—which is your clue that something is not working as it could. You, like all of us, deserve everything that is wonderful and exciting in life. And those feelings emerge only when you get in touch with your powerful self.” ~ Susan Jeffers
I took my legal pad, pen, and phone to the master bedroom porch and closed the door behind me. I didn’t want the kids to overhear my conversation with my divorce attorney.
Chris and I exchanged pleasantries, and then I got right down to business.
“Do I start with dealing with my financial situation, and then the divorce, or both simultaneously …. or what exactly should my strategy be?”
His reply would become etched in my memory forever: “Susie, you are in a boat in the middle of the ocean, and the boat is quickly taking on water. You need to jump out and start swimming for shore … now.”
What he was saying was that I needed to stop wallowing in helplessness (which I had cleverly cloaked in waiting for the right strategy/moment to act) and get into action. Any action.
I stared ahead at the hemlock trees as he spoke and felt a surge of optimism and power that I hadn’t experienced in months. Even though I had zero ideas at the moment as to what exactly I was going to do, I was no longer chained to some false notion that there was only one way to go forward.
I could choose any path and be right.
And as I got into action, momentum followed. Ideas came. Problem-solving. Creative ways to handle very messy and emotional issues.
Getting going got me going. Got my brain back online. Courage followed. I discovered inspiration for creating a new business, finding a new place to live, moving, helping my son adjust, and sorting out the myriad legal and financial issues between my husband and me.
I could have easily chosen to stay in helpless mode—the vast nothingness of no options, the opposite of creativity. Swirling around in circles of indecision, fear, sadness, and unable to spot the horizon.
I came to understand that the opposite of creativity is not destruction—it is hopelessness. A lack of willingness to take a step, to try, to experiment, to risk your fragile heart, to get it wrong.
As I dove into the water, leaving the leaking boat behind, I felt a rush inside my stomach that signaled to my soul and mind that a heartbeat of hope continued to pulse inside me. Once I rose to the surface, I could tread and look around. I felt warmth on the side of my face and turned toward it.
I imagined what the shoreline would look like. How it would feel when I would emerge out of the breakers onto the sand. How delicious it would be to rest in the shade. How I could gather materials for a fire and quick shelter. How I could signal for help.
I knew as I made my way, stroke by stroke, I was actually already on that shore. I had said Yes to myself the moment I tucked my chin into a dive and my feet lifted toward the sky.
Even though the water was shockingly cold, threatening to pull me under, a power rose in me that felt divinely sent. Contrary to what my eyes told me, I wasn’t alone.
We are creatures of infinite potential. Unstoppable power. Vast creative vision. It doesn’t require a crisis for us to awaken and embrace this. We can find it on a rainy Monday in line at the grocery.
Once we uncork the stopper of helplessness, every drop of gorgeous color can flow from us. That technicolor current has no limit, and we can surf upon it to any shore we seek.