Maybe getting back into a schedule after Spring Break triggered my malaise. Or perhaps my unrest was triggered by working on financial requirements for medical bills with one friend diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. Or maybe the dullness enveloped me as I waited for news from another friend who spent the week in the hospital with her husband in the Critical Care Unit.
Off and on during the week I also had thoughts about an essay I had just completed. “Is it worthy of trying to find a publication for it?” Writing the essay had taken more than a month of multiple rewrites and intensive mental energy—it came at a price.
I had achieved an important goal. I thought I would be elated. Instead, I felt strangely lost and disgusted with the work.
Worse, not a single creative idea for writing came through for days. I reminded myself that I give my offerings without expectation of return. And consoled myself that even if the piece is worthless, I used my time honestly with clear intention to give something to others with love.
After thinking this through, I went about my days, but something was bothering me. “What’s wrong?” I kept thinking. It seems I’m always either actually dealing with something “wrong,” or expecting something to be awry, or anticipating and trying to avoid suffering.
Pain, suffering, death, disease, and all the “wrong” things about life are foreign, incompatible experiences for the soul. So it’s not surprising that while we’re in the physical world we often find ourselves perched on a look out with a telescoping lens.
I’d fallen back into a comfortable routine after Spring Break, my friend’s husband pulled through well, and helping my other friend with breast cancer wasn’t a burden but a joy. After a full week searching for the cause of my dissatisfaction, it dawned on me:
I’m in the rest part of the creative cycle.
After a day of activity we sleep to process our mental and emotional experience. We rest to refresh and try our hand at life another day. Writers and artists know—I’m just beginning to learn—that creativity has its own flow and need for replenishing.
Hours, days, months, and years move in cycles. Events, lives, and processes work in cycles. I thought of myself as an organism in an environment that is clearly demarcated by ebbs and flows orchestrated by energy outside my control, but which powerfully affects and alters my body, emotions, and minds.
The word “organism” conjured an image of a simple, interdependent part of a complex, intelligent system and gave me a sense of relief.
Hmm, “Why is that?” I wondered.
“Organism” comes from “organize,” and means an “organic structure.” Organic means something inherent, fundamental, or basic to the organism. Organic foods are eatables untainted by chemicals external to themselves.
An organic Self is one who recognizes their place as a piece, a small part of the whole, and embraces this reality instead of second-guessing and doubting cycles and nature, which are thought processes that are external toxic chemicals that make us sick!
If I accept my place as a small Self in relationship to the larger reality, I can simply acknowledge and honor the cycles and be happy and peaceful.
“Oh, it’s just the cycle,” I thought, “not the end of creative ideas or writing.” (As I was telling myself.) My body sighed relief and I relaxed.
It’s simply time to sit in a chair and read; take a bath; talk with friends; relax.
Time to fill up inner parts of me that spilled out onto the page, or in caring for another, or working. It’s time for the creative cycle to breathe outside the demands of output. It’s time to turn off the inner worry and release into the intelligence of cycles and flow.
May your acceptance of your own cycles nurture you,