I’ve been trying to write an introduction to a book proposal for longer than I care to admit. I keep chasing words like they are pixies adorned with promises they can’t keep. Nothing has felt right.
These pixies keep telling me to write something profound. To make a conclusion. To have a clear path. To be wanted and wise. And they love to speak a poetic truth when I can’t capture it. When I’m bathing a baby. When I’m squabbling about algebra homework. When I am cleaning the rabbit cage. When I am very nearly sound asleep.
Life just keeps happening and I keep saying, tomorrow. I keep believing: Tomorrow. I keep wanting tomorrow. A break. A blip. A space. And then even when I get it, I’ll be honest, I fill it up with something less than productive. Because what I decide I need at that moment is some escape in the form of faux me time. I realize that I’m not being kind to myself when I say that, as the reality that sits in front of most of us right now is that we have no idea how to sequester productive creative time away from faux me time. We have to pick one and, let’s face it, if isn’t paying the bills or taking care of tiny humans, then it must be something brainless and entirely numbing. This is where we all are.
And while I say it is ok, on the other side of that statement is a big hill to climb up that says, YES AND. It is ok. Yes. And. It is also time to dust off the heart and soul and dig deep because we don’t want a year to turn into a decade and a decade into a lifetime. I’m not suggesting we have to do anything grand. I don’t intend to qualify this statement with inspiration to suddenly make your dreams come true or quantify it with self-helpy goal setting. Instead, I am just suggesting something else … it starts with a shhhhhhhhhh and ends with a _______.
Maybe there’s a little knock on the door to the part of you who used to doodle or sew or make jokes. Or the part of you who turned the music up way too loud and danced until you were breathless. Or the part of you cut out images from magazine or collected rocks from the sidewalk and glued them into collages.
I don’t know. But I know it starts small and with a flicker. I also know that courage keeps it lit. For me, when I feel the flicker, I also feel a frustratingly real fuck-it moment, which stands in my noggin like a huge fork in the road: Escape or Tap In. I most often decide on Escape and then I turn on Netflix or Hulu or Prime or HBO or omg there are too many subscriptions stop it you know if you know. I think I will find something profound or fulfilling and then I end up falling asleep. And I wake up and go, hmmmm, maybe I won’t do that tonight. And then tonight comes after a day of YOU KNOW IF YOU KNOW and, well, I am cooked. But I don’t want to go to sleep. I need some tinkering time. The flicker comes again and that dang ol’ fork in the road appears AGAIN.
Tonight, however, I took the Tap In option. I’ll admit that that happened mostly because this was a work-related deadline. The good news is that that deadline was a useful disguise, as it has entirely helped me tap in. And as I sit here right now, I wish so badly that I could bottle up what the courage to take this option feels like right now. It’s not beautiful like we think it is. It is not a smooth beverage. No. It’s bitter as hell at first. You want to throw it across the room like a toddler and demand a better flavor. The first sip of courage is medicinal. But, the next sip soothes your throat. The next, your belly. The next, your bones.
This is what I feel right now. And this is what I want to remember. It won’t feel good or easy at first and then it is just is exactly right. Even if no one ever sees it or it is all blabber blah blah with no editing like this here blog … your willingness to keep that flicker lit—just briefly even—is 100,000,000% worth it.
I’m going to spend this next month of April sipping on the courage to be creative. I am going to fail most days/evenings. I am going to fall asleep on the couch after convincing myself that that show/documentary was a good idea. I am going to stay up too late doing stupid procrastinating stuff. I am going to avoid creating anything many many times. My forks will often be towards Escape. But, it’s ok. Because at least I’m going to try. I’ve got to wake this part of me back up because it’s what helps me make sense of my world, what helps me laugh and giggle, what helps me soothe my children even when I need soothing, and what helps me stay close to things that matter most.
Come to Imagination Station with me this month and get some inspiration from four amazing members of our own, all artists and creatives and thinkers and tinkerers. You’ll also be challenged to do 5-15 minutes of daily exercise with me, which in all honesty is the best secret life hack for courage that I know. It sounds simple, but we all know it isn’t easy, which is why you deserve company as you trudge through it.
I will see you there, each day. You can register as a current member by clicking on Challenges in your browser navigation. If you aren’t yet a member, well, sign on up (you get 14 days free) and then click on Challenges. Oh, also, bonus move: You can gift a friend a month.