Look around you. Nothing surrounds you, which was not first imagined. Before the computer or phone came into your life, someone's creative imagination had to first fire up and move into action. Let's move to a more vital situation. Perhaps you are standing watch over a loved one in critical care, maybe a little one struggling to grow, yet simultaneously find yourself astounded at the resources that abound through technology and compassionate care that make the wait more bearable. Nothing surrounds us that was not first imagined. It is all part of the web of life. Before those instruments were invented, a creative flash happened in the mind of the beholder. Someone, somewhere had to trust their process, had to summon courage, release their personal agenda in order to invent and create. Before those caregivers were trained and came on duty today, likewise, some urge, some deep desire prompted their journey leading to the present moment. Always, there is high watch for what is needed. We are surrounded by the urge to support life's growth on personal and impersonal levels. We are hard-wired for it. Remember that neuroplasticity of the brain we talked about last time?
There's a lesson here. If you find yourself flatlining today, anxious, or recently lacking joy in how you are investing time and energy, it is possible to shift. Why wait? If we do not enjoy the moment to the degree we wish, let us consult our desire and re-imagine. Far from hocus pocus, this gets to the very heart of creative activity and enriched loving.
1. The very first step begins with mindfulness -- creating clear intention to witness, to pay attention to what brings you goose bumps! I mean it. Pay attention to the unexpected.
One of my early encounters with this happened when I was an adult. We had moved to the Washington, D.C. area for my husband's work, confronting me with the job of "beginning again," my private practice in a new locale. This does not happen overnight, for it takes a number of seasons to attract the clients that are a joy (see archives, Feb. 27, 2013). If we want more joy, the onus is on us to find and live that joy ourselves, for it has magnetism to it. What to do in the meantime? I decided to enroll in a few art classes at the local community college, a treat for which my clinical background had not left space. As I parked the car and turned off the ignition, my gaze took in two simple words on my destination: art building. Instantly, tears welled up and spilled down my cheeks. I couldn't have been more surprised. Apparently those living waters had been log jammed for years and broke through when I gave myself permission to follow desire. Goose bumps were the natural outcome. They shifted the trajectory of my life toward more meaningful and adventuresome living.
2. Follow the trail of your goose bumps in concrete ways. The challenge with remaining passive with what wants to be created is that it remains stillborn. Worse yet, we fail to experience that deep satisfaction and inner peace that comes from the miracle of birthing new life. We are given the image of what nourishes our heart and feed our soul in order to bring it forward. As one of my favorite quotes puts it in the Gnostic Gospels of Thomas: "If you do not bring forward what is within you, what is within you will destroy you. But, if you bring forward what is within you, what is within you will heal and save you." Bring forward what lives in your heart.
3. Release your fear of blossoming as a unique human being. Each of us came here to leave a unique mark. Stop worrying about whether your form of contribution will be OK!
A few weeks ago, a lovely woman who had committed to becoming part of the Love Project 2013's Love Squad and create a quilt contacted me. Her circumstances had shifted, making it more than difficult to contribute in the same way as others. And so she wrote me with a question. Would it be acceptable to send a creative contribution to be enclosed in the quilts for the surviving children? (See archives or carabarker.com for more on this child-centered project.) Frankly, I had not imagined such a gift, but who am I to say "no" when loving creation is offered? This day, I opened her first shipment, containing the most astonishing recovery beads you can imagine. They truly are stunning, unique, and inspiring. The fact that she fashioned them from her love and unique way of knowing the importance of collaborative creative acts from community is something I shall never forget, and neither will the recipients. Of this I am certain.
4. Trust synchronicity, which Dr. Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, defined as "meaningful coincidence." Several weeks ago, I had been missing one of our readers/responders here at our café. I decided to pause, to bring him into my heart, and to wish him well. This, I repeated throughout the workday. The very same evening, I received email from him with a gift. I share it below, so that you may enjoy the gift of synchronicity and the miraculous nature of our connection with all life. As a lover of TED talks, I am thrilled to share this with you, for as the speaker, Abigail Washburn, relates, her trust of what I call the Goose Bump Way has led to creative living and enriched loving. We all are the benefactors.
5. Let go of mental plans, leaving space for the surprise. What makes us come alive resides in the resting place in the painting: the empty space, between the brush strokes, in the rest notes of a melody or, for folks like Abigail, in the deep listening to what stirred her creative imagination. Joy comes in infinite forms, and the joy you feel is a vital guide to richer living. The sacred, the infinite lives in the interstitial space where we have not laid down form from thought. The joy is the realization over time that the more we dare enter it, dive down into it, the more beautifully it unfolds, and we are left to blossom, to be more nourished than ever before. What we discover depends upon what we seek with all our heart and clear intention as demonstrated in how we live this day.
Love Letter to the One Hesitating,
Trust your goose bumps! Yes, your head may have dictated to you its plan for your life. But, as the folks at HeartMath have discovered, it is the heart that ushers the most meaningful and most powerful guidance to the head. So, I ask you: When and where were you last caught surprised by something that pleased you deeply? When did you notice your spirit refreshed, uplifted? What are the unexpected moments when your soul felt fed? What do these things have in common?
Do us a favor: trust your answers, your original experience, and do something with it. Take a concrete action step today. Pick up the phone, or write a letter to yourself, a promise of dedication to what brings you more inspiration, more fuel, a bigger "tiger in your tank." By big, by the way, I do not mean by the eyes of the outer world. I mean big, for you. Maybe "big" today would mean putting your feet up, or taking a stroll outside, or a little nap, or contact with someone you love but have been out of contact. Let your heart be your guide to some little, very concrete action step. Stay mindful. Enjoy the process. Trust what comes. Share it with someone else you trust to encourage you along your way. Remember, the mystery is on high watch for your greater good! You are the answer to the ancestors' dream.
Be the Love,
Your Turn: What little step would you most love taking today toward more creatively living and enriched loving, if you let go of excuses, fear or doubt? I'm listening! Thank you for forwarding this.
For more by Dr. Cara Barker, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.