This past month has been one of the most stressful I've experienced in a long time. A few days ago, on a Story Sessions call discussing Rilke and the importance of artistic rhythms, I had a moment of clarity I decided to turn into a mini-series on the blog about doing what you must. The first post can be found here.
If there has been one word that captures this season of my life, it's the word flow.
Rhythm. Movement. Shift. Drive. Change.
Every where I turn, she reminds me of her presence.
It would make sense, then, that most of my moments of clarity have come when I'm actively engaging in motion.
It's three in the morning, and the third or fourth time I'm taking our dog out for a walk. There aren't very many thoughts pressing in outside of let this be the last time please and holy cow can there BE any more trees left on this property that you have yet to sniff.
But I feel a dissonance.
I let her lead me around the complex, forcing my eyes to stay open, and when we trudge up the stairs and I fall into bed I think for a split second I need to change something.
Bianca Broos tells us in a Coaching the Coach meeting that dissonance can be one of the best teachers. My ears perk up and I jot it down in my notebook.
Teach me, then. I think.
The words come later that evening as I fight for control with my dog's leash.
It shouldn't be this difficult, I pout, wrapping the leash around my wrist and giving her collar a slight yank.
And then I pause. My girl stops with me, looking up and giving me a questioning glare at the interruption of her squirrel chase.
It shouldn't be this difficult.
I've been discontent with the direction of this blog for a while.
I knew what I wanted: to encourage artists, to be real about the creative process, and to blog candidly about my experiences with creative entrepreneurship. What I didn't know was how to get from where I was, stuck, to where I wanted to be—caught in the flow.
Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must," then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. - Rainer Maria Rilke
In our last call for the spring session of Story 201, I had us look over this quote and consider it for ourselves. Was our life a sign and witness to the impulse within us? Were we truly digging for a deep answer of what it is we must do?
I knew my answer even before pausing the camera and allowing them time to reflect. I needed to find my flow. I needed this — in all of the definitions of that word — to not be so difficult.
And I'm not speaking of the difficulty surrounding risk and growth. Change and movement always require a shift, a breaking of sorts. That hurts like hell and isn't easy, even if it's for the best. I'm speaking of the difficulty of trying too hard.
I'm speaking of the moments in which we choose to bleed out instead of asking for help.
I knew there was a shift occurring within the clarity surrounding Story Unfolding. I knew it would probably look a lot like restructuring and rebranding.
It also looked a lot like hope, and felt a lot like flow.
I was skyping with Bianca when I told her, "you know, this past weekend was the first time I gained clarity and acted out of my vision instead of necessity. Every other moment of decision-making it's been because of someone telling me what I should do or offering a suggestion."
She tilted her head.
"Tell me about that. What were you doing?"
I laughed. "Um. I was knee-deep in eCourses. I was taking notes and answering the difficult questions. I was thinking about my language and my brand and what my vision is for Story Unfolding's future. It wasn't how we could make this as big as possible or involve this person or that figure. It was hat is Story Unfolding at its core?—I wasn't concerned about anyone else's opinions. I needed to know for myself."
Here's a spoiler: I found my language.
I have a lot of work cut out for me. But for the first time, I'm okay with feeling driven. I'm okay with the movement. It's not overwhelming anymore; it's breathtaking.
And if it were a color, it would be golden.
This is one of the things I'm most excited about—the redesign of my newsletter. A weekly letter with artistic visioning for the everyday creative. I would love it if you signed up, and I won't ever spam you. Promise.
You'll get hints and inspiration about getting unstuck and living your most artistic life within the midst of your every day poetics. Come join us?