C is for comfort zone.
The edge of our known world. The edge of reason. The edge.
We all know our comfort zone. For most of us its the place we live in day in day out. It’s familiar, safe, furnished to our liking, and of course, mighty comfortable.
Or is it?!
Gabrielle Roth says ‘if we are not living on the edge then we’re taking up too much room.’ OK then love. OK.
The thing about our comfort zone is exactly that, it’s not so challenging or life giving or dynamic. Its daily turning can sometimes leave us slightly uneasy. As our heads touch the pillow at the end of another day we might find some voice within us imploring ‘is this it??’.
Now don’t get me wrong. If your comfort zone is working out all tickety boo for you then great. Don’t fuck about with the status quo. And as they say, if it ain’t broke…
But what if there is a gnawing within? What if there’s a part of you that drifts off into dreaming of a life that looks rather different? And what if you know full well that mamma be parked her car in the zone for far far too long it all gone goddamn rusted!!?? ;-) :-)
Within our creative life there will come a point where we will meet the edge of this zone. To be frank if you’re an artist then it’s likely that you’ve met it already, a thousand and one times before. Indeed you might be there now, feet planted firm on terra cognito, nose peering out into the void, heart beating, palms clammy, and your mind racing a million miles to find the how to step in.
Stop. Stop right now. No my dear, I wasn’t talking to you I was addressing your mind. You see the thing is about stepping outta ones comfort zone is that we do not, cannot, and will not, know what happens next. It’s impossible. It’s the very nature of it all. It’s the whole fuckin point!
Ironically, it’s not the stepping outta the comfort zone that’s the problem. We’ve just made it that way with our if’s and but’s. In fact to even think that we are stepping is a falsity as what we are really doing is expanding into, or responding to, this supposed edge. This unknown.
It’s not a new place with a different postal code and temperate climate. It’s still our life, only bigger, with more of it available, a broader and wider and deeper perspective one might say.
Let’s see if we can connect the dots a lil more shall we?
Take a moment to close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Put down any ideas on how or what and just quieten into just this moment now. Feet on the floor if possible or at least be aware of your bottom on your chair. Good. Now I’d like for you to picture yourself in the life you are peering all telescope at, the one ‘over the edge’. Really see yourself in it. Use all your senses. How is it once you’ve written your script, completed that series of paintings, taken a bow at the end of your performance’s first night? Really go into how it feels. Allow yourself to feel elated, satisfied, joyous, peaceful…Notice too what else is in there. Maybe a little resistance? Is there any fear? Anxiety? Numbness? Embarrassment? Doubt?
Find these in your body. Are there any beliefs or thoughts that wanna sabotage or dampen or even destroy this possibility, this place?
Be totally honest with yourself here, as in all truth, because you are most decidedly and defiantly human, there will be both. The joy and the doubt. The peacefulness and the anxiety. The elation and the fear. All a hodgepodge of human feeling and emotion. Same with your thoughts darling. You may well have the ‘look what I created!’, with the ‘what the fuck did you do you stupid talentless idiot!’ running side by side.
OK. Good. Let it all be there, the good, the bad, and the ugly! ;-)
You see here’s the magic key. It’s in our ability not to run for the hills or bury our heads under the duvet. It’s in our superhero power of simply staying with. Staying with. In feeling and allowing all of what arises to be here. Yes it will fly up and slap us vehemently across the face, whip us into a fretful frenzy, and pull at the strands of our hair in all the directions of the compass. And yet. And yet.
And yet if you choose to stay, to feel, to allow, to even say ‘hey you fuckers bring your worst!!!’, something begins to happen. After a while they begin to calm down, to settle, to slow and become quieter. They may not go away all together, and they probably won’t. But they’ll calm and as they do you will notice that you’re still there, or ‘here’ really. You’ve not been blown away. And as the dust settles you realise that you are still at this edge but now, but now, you are not so at the mercy of all your mind made lunatic possibilities. And this my dear even includes the ‘good’ ones because, hells bells, we really don’t know how we’ll feel or what kind of impact our creative work will have, but we will have done it. We will have stepped outta our comfort zone and grown!
Choices. Make a choice. Do it anyways despite the gabbling lunatic voices? Do it anyways not knowing if it will all be crap? Do it anyways even though we may be laughed at? Do it anyways despite not having a fuckin clue what happens next? And do it anyways even if so aquiver with fear that you be shakin’ and vibratin’ like nobody’s business hon??! ;-)
Yes. And yes again. And one more time just in case you’re still dithering, yes!
Don’t wait til you got it all sorted out. Don’t wait until you’re perfect and coiffed and fixed. Don’t wait until you’ve got the new safety harness figured out. Because paradoxically the more you live like this the more you realise that our safe and familiar comfort zones are in actual fact, our prison. They’re not safe at all. They need a lot of controlling and tweaking and managing. They are in fact quite surprisingly exhausting. And what we also find, in this place of freedom, that the fear, doubt and anxiety that we had associated with ‘the edge’, were really practically what we we’re living on in maintaining our comfort zone! Go figure!!!
Meet your edge. Every day if necessary. Choose life and the unknown. Live in the not knowing. Grow up and in and out, all wings and roots. Create and go for it because it’s in the making remember, it’s in the making that we are affirmed and alive and in joy. It’s in the moment by moment action and breath and craft. It’s never really about over there is it!? But you never know, you may look up one day and realise that you are in that place you once dreamt of, the one over the edge, the edge that seems so insignificant and small now, that you laugh at the beautiful and amazingly human being that you are. And maybe, just maybe, you find yourself dreaming and itching and facing a brand new edge. Keep dissolving that edge of comfort darling one. It’s the only way.
P.S. Disclaimer. Sometimes, often, just chilling in our comfort zone is exactly where we choose and need to be. It’s duvet days and devouring Netflix and box sets. It’s faffing and procrastinating and going over n’ over n’ over the same old questions. It’s sad days and flat days and human days. It’s life and living and all of it, every damn moment.It’s all, oh so stupendously, ours.
Hey lovely creative genius, let me know if you resonate with any part of this musing :-) And if you would like a lil assistance with shifting that creative stuckness that be cloggin’ up your creative flow, then click here sign up to receive your FREE pdf book “10 ways to awaken your creative genius”. In gratitude, grace and freedom, HH
T is for Trickster.
That ole riley crafty coyote, playing tricks on us, running us around in circles, and turning everything upside down.
From one of my all time favourite films I can hear Indiana Jones saying: “What if we are digging in the wrong place??!!” Aaah Indy you beautiful man! :-)
But, what if we are my dear creative creatures?!
What if we have been so focused on one telescopic point of view, one perfectly lit dream, one intangible bubble wrapped pearl of ‘this is what it looks like’, that when we finally take the pin of reality to burst the helium protected sac, and this dream thing that we have held up, adored, spoken of with idolatry, looked up to like the god of freedom is in our hands, well, well, we are stopped dead in our tracks?!
You see for so many of us we pin the tail to the wrong donkey.
I’m not necessarily calling our dreams donkeys! ;-).
Donkey dreams. Dream donkeys. It’s getting a lil weird now non!?
But we may quite possibly have spent so much time, hours, months, years, decades even, dusting and holding tight onto something that either no longer resonates or has any meaning with who we are now, or was never ours to begin with! Our father’s unmet desire to be a landscape artist. Our mother’s unrealised dream to be an actor. Somehow in the strange salt and pepper mix of twisted familial karma, we can end up having to be the housekeeper and caretaker of something that has nothing to do with us. That’s quite shocking, and pretty sobering to be honest!
Or when we finally have the courage to hold our dream and test it in the bread and butter realness of the cold light of day, we may find that it has dissolved, no longer that which has kept us under its promised spell for far too long. That’s quite shocking too. To feel the texture of disillusionment, disbelief, and that pervasive sense of, ‘now what!?’.
But the thing is, rather a shock and a shake and a ‘what the fuck!?’ than living the rest of our lives in the delusion of illusion. Here we get a chance to start afresh. To ask of ourselves what it is we really dream of or maybe, just maybe, to drop the hiding behind a ‘dream’ and instead to live.
To take the proverbial bull by the horns and run with it.
Into the great forests of not knowing, through the mountain mystery, over the dark void infinite depths of oceans. You get my drift.
There can be an uncanny sense of relief once the initial shock has calmed down and removed its slapping palm from our reddened cheek. A relief from the putting down the belief in ‘this is what is should look like’. A freedom. A liberation.
A pass and an open door into the limitless land of creativity. When we put down our pressurised shrunk idea that I am only an artist if I paint my way to a grand retrospective, write a New York Times bestseller, launch a number one selling album etc., then we have the whole realm to play out in. New creative ideas and forms to make friends with, to get to know, to explore, to play with.
We are creative beings because that’s just what we are. Trickster is great at kicking our ego-ed ass and sometimes we need it. Sometimes, his spinning us around might just mean, when the dust has settled, that we begin to dig in exactly the right place at last! :-)
Value and worth and Love...Oh My!!!
If we are seeking outside of ourselves for how much we are of value, then we follow a foolish and folly path. Looking for the percentage of love or care from another, and we diminish and immediately devoid and devalue that which can never be measured at all.
Who is it in us that seeks this reassurance, this affirmation, this validation? Who is it in us that has forgotten to drop our head’s down, to our hearts, and listen? And who is it in us that by focusing solely on the woundings of ego unconditional love, has negated and lost that which can never be questioned, that can never not be, love itself?
When we are in our own heart, solid and stable and unwavering though each and every crash threatens to drown us or engulf us with splutterings of salty tears, we are unmoveable. Not in a fixed, shut down, guarded and hard way no, but in a fluid and flexible and feeling and alive manner. We allow the waves to crash our star board. We allow ourselves to get wet, soaked in fact, and yet the anchor of who we are is so deep and so vast that we do not sink to the bottom of the sea bed and become lost treasure.
Nothing outside of ourselves has the power to wash us away, unless we are looking out, on the captain’s deck, from the wrong telescope, scoping the horizon in a limited and anxious perspective.
My value and worth does not depend on anyone else.
The ending of this latest love affair and sitting on my mat I drop in to find some part of me wanting his attention still. Wanting to know if he had cared really, if the words and intimacy shared and hearts touched really had meant nothing or something to him. I wanted to know if he still wanted me. Aah! I wanted to know how much he valued me, now or then, as if in this very moment, after the fact, when we were already fast becoming strangers again, that would mean anything.
Well, to some part of me, that would mean I mattered. I was valued, that I was loveable and valuable and worthy.
And something shifts as I hear myself say what I see. My heart opens more, stretches, and that’s ok in its ouch. And I realise, as I drop back in to me, to I am, to here, to the ordinary moment of no-time and no-thing, that it doesn’t matter what he thought or thinks. It doesn’t even matter what his experience is and was. Indeed, to quote my teacher, its none of my business. And my heart opens more, and I bear a little more, because that’s all I know that I can do. Is to bear my own experience.
All I can know is my own experience, what I felt, what I gave, what I received, what moved through me, what my hopes or dreams or expectations were, what I was met with and what I wasn’t. what I delighted in and received pleasure so deeply from, and what hurt. What I was willing to stay open and in ‘love’ to, and when my boundaries were seriously crossed. What I did when I realised that my value and worth was nothing to do with him but my own responsibility. When I said no and goodbye. When I said thank you in appreciation. When I decided that the inner compass of my worth and value, this place that is my anchor, was way off course. When I came back to me despite the hurt and longing and soberly saw what I had been gifted. When I had to go through something old to realise that that’s not who I am anymore, that’s not for me.
When I realised my worth and value was inherent within me all along. Its my rock. It’s the diamond polished by life’s tsunamis over and over and over again until it glints and glistens so bright that its light can create shadows to cast behind everything in a call for fullness and truth.
Maybe I am not the captain seeking and sailing and bobbing along vast waters. Maybe I am the lighthouse and there's nowhere to go searching, just this light that casts its slivery, and silvery, net, over all the oceans and boats and fish and sailors. And the ones who know, who get it, who feel it in the depths of their own waters, will find their way to my light.
Nothing to do. Nothing to prove. Here I am.
Stories are amazing.
Our mind's creative imagination is amazing. It is one of the richest paths to follow, full of unimaginable things n landscapes. We need stories for we ARE stories and that's pretty goddamn amazing!
What's your story? You can be anything. We carry stories in our bones, they create us right down to the tender loined marrow.
Yes we all carry stories, and yet, we all have the capacity to create any new one that excites us, calls to us, pulls us by our dreamings, desires, n deep soul joyed thrills. What are your stories? What do you wish to be created into like the mud, the earth, Adam, all crafted and formed by the hands of God.
Not too sure of the word God? Substitute that to Spirit, Muse, Mystery, Magic, or how about Curiousity or Love.
Sprinkle love onto every damn thing you do. No, not like candy filings, or sweet sugary butterscotch cream. Oh no, that's not Love. Love is full of substance and weight, a solidity that's unmoveable, ordinary, just there.
It's a force is Love, one that moves us, not like a hand on your back, but by pushing on your heels, nay, your roots.
It's all in, devoted, unshakeable.
Love can move mountains and bring us to our knees. It can cause us to throw all that we have assumed that are we are so certain of, out of the window, upside down and inside out. We are spinned out of control, the carefully jenga-stacked pillar of who we are turned to salt, like Job, because of Love. But salt ain't too bad.
It's the Love inside tears, and salt water, and sweat.
So Cry. Swim. Dance. Fuck. Make Art. Offer your sweated brow beads to life, each a deep hearted and guts oystered pearl of You. Of Story. Of Imagination. Of Wonder. Of Love.
Our stories are amazing.
I burn with the fire of words escaping like flints that violently spark red and heated from my fingertips. Wired like charges from what my heart needs to say. In a way I don’t know what my heart needs to say but it needs to say something.
We all have a voice, that still small voice that runs like God’s prayer within and through us, a veined cable of electric current; a current that links and bridges the truth of the divine that holds each cell a vibrant alive particle that makes us a living breathing Frankenstein creation of madness.
There’s a madness that runs riotous within us. A madness that is in fact our genius. It causes us to squint and squirm if it doesn’t have its time unleashed to growl wolf and bare its fangs and let the slobber that foams at its mouth fall in globs and drips and piles of wet moist stickiness down our chin.
What is this rabid frenzy? What does it want from us?
It’s our freedom and it wants to run and roam untethered.
Many of us have a problem with this wild feral voice. Many of us have a wounding nestled deep down in our throats, a cork stopper of nicety and good girl/boy-ness, that swallows up the words, the voice, that threatens to upset the apple cart of Eve coated sugar and pour a bitter-sweetness out on to the city streets.
I question what it is I need and the bile rises to be belched out. Not at him or you or something to pin the donkey tail of blame on to. Oh no. Blame and shame keep us spinning headless chicken like, plucking feathers out of integrity’s nest.
We all have a right to our anger. When our boundaries have been blurred by neglect and carelessness and the allowing of another’s punch of dishonour to wind us of who we are. I have been learning about my boundaries these last few years. Learning where the frayed edges cower back afraid. Afraid to say No. Afraid to say yes to what is my truth. Tell the truth my teacher says. Tell the truth.
I read some words recently, by Herman Hesse, one of those quotes that bound about like whores all over the place. But this one choked me up and especially one line. This line:
“My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.”
Who no longer want to lie to themselves.
We live a lie each and every time we do not say no. We live a lie each and every time we know, and god damn how we always know, and open our mouths then shut em close like a goldfish blinking complicit in its own demented memory loss. We live a lie each and every time we betray our own soul, our own worth, our own truth, to become a pawn in the porn soul selling for the admission of another’s momentary thrill and pleasure. And we live a lie each and every time we make that choice, we topple over, into diminishing ourselves for the god forsaken validation and supposed ‘love/not love’ of another.
Guilty. I’m guilty. Guilty as charged. Guilty and yet not gilded by guilt nor shame. Guilty and yet oh how I see, post incident, post accident, when the blood and guts have been mopped up and the sirens of emergency have gone back to drama land, and stillness descends once more and there’s only this, just this, just this left to be with. Guilty and yet bowing to the medicine of that gift, another reminder, another choice spilled over on to the wrong side of the road to splatter.
And as the dust settles once more the voice arises. The voice of No, the voice vilified by the vice seduced once more on the faux shiny road of addiction. Addiction to the victim that no longer serves.
No more, the voice rises full and free.
And I let the voice rebuild and re-enliven. And I let the voice be brave in its shaking. And I let the voice rip through the hiding and the denial and the silly folly of the old fool for love/not love. and I let the voice do its surgery on me tending and threading and stitching and pulling together taut its wires to knot back together that which fell apart, this time reinforced with steel so that those rips are stronger, perhaps some of that light that Mr Cohen spoke of, gets inside too. I can only hope.
The voice is my doctor and my God right now, my life in its hands. There’s no anaesthetic, no soothing balm, for I must stay awake to its crafting, to its service.
And when it is done and the instruments of forgiveness have been put down and its hands of words are empty I can only rest. Rest and surrender, and let the healing happen, the scar a part of my living, my wisdom, curious in the knowing that I cannot, and will not, go there again. No. No. No.
Heidi Hinda Chadwick
Creativity. Sexuality. Life. Art. Soul. Love.