"Do you have the discipline to be a free spirit?"
That quote is hanging right above my light switch in my office. On well-yellowed paper, its corners are now rounded and bent after staring at me day in and day out for years now. I've never been sure whether to love or dislike that piece of paper. But when I read that quote and ripped it out years ago, I felt a profound respect for it somewhere inside.
Commitment has been key to my freedom. But I both wanted to throw darts at that quote, and wanted desperately to be able to commit to taking action for myself and my life. To move through the veil of resistance that seemed to make this impossible, like an invisible spider web holding me trapped.
For those of you who know me well, it is not always easy to get me to commit to something. I'd rather wait until the last minute to see how I'm feeling to decide whether or not I'm going to do something on any given day. (And, btw, I still LOVE this about myself and really use this way of operating as a guide regularly.)
But I have a lot of feelings. And a lot of inner drama.
And while I'm all about learning to listen to these feelings and honor them deeply, I've also come to realize that a lot of times the way to go deeper and move forward is to work with them while I'm taking committed action towards something. Anxiety, fear, pain, discomfort and other uncomfortable feelings come and go. So, like going to work day-in-day out, we can commit to living into our lives fully by taking committed, creative action on a regular basis. Instead of waiting to feel good to do what our life is calling forth in us.
This is different than what I've found myself doing in therapy. There, I tend to go in trying to make hard feelings go away once and for all. If only I could get to the root of this pain then it wouldn't continue to follow me around. Maybe this is true. But research shows that talking about pain and where it originated often doesn't result in trauma being healed (Bessel van der kolk in The Body Keeps the Score). And for me, I've found that I can consume a lot of my time trying to figure out and try to fix what I dislike. Which keeps me from committed action. Except where I have to save face, like going to work.
So, what I've been learning for myself, is this. The way to go deeper, is to commit to taking action towards exploring, creating, and living into my life's purpose. The way to go deeper is more about moving consistently towards love than eradicating fear and pain. Of course, as I do this stuff surfaces. And then I can work with and through it. Often by choosing new actions and responses to the same old challenges and situations that life kindly recycles over and over again as a way to help me learn and choose new ways. Thank you very much, life. :)
Movement is key. Action. Conscious and intentional, mind you.
I still have to practice as my flow-y spirit resists and rebels me choosing committed action. I have a pretty strong don't tell me what to do button. And an equally strong and don't make me do it when I don't want to button. So while I honor and make space in my life and day to go with the flow, I also, at the very same time, commit to building a sense of trust in my capacity to move towards something I am curious about in life.
The only way to build this trust is to commit to taking action--being in movement. By doing this, we remind our body and system regularly that we can move, even if in the smallest of ways. And we remind our system that we will move rather than standing around waiting or frozen in fear. In service to ourselves and our lives. As I do this, my emotions (which some define as energy in motion) suddenly have an outlet. And my anxiety, which is described by some as extra energy, has something to do with itself. Like cleaning up after a natural disaster. As soon as the disater is over, communities begin rebuilding. And when they wait around for FEMA funds to arrive before taking action, these same communities often break out into fighting.
We're always practicing something. And, I don't know about you, but I want to practice moving towards what I love in a committed way, instead of haphazard-hoping-life-will-work-out-so-I'll-take-action-when-I-feel-like-it, which mostly I don't. Because it's scary. And new. And I don't know how. And I have to practice being visible. And valuing and investing in myself and my life. Uncomfortable! For me. And women in our society.
But, together, we can practice something much more powerful. Much more inspired. And much more free! Plus, it's so much more fun and easy to commit and move forward together. To practice a new way and create something new together. Yes, we're individuals on our own journeys. But we're also a we. Something is happening that is so much bigger than each of us as individuals. Something that doesn't exist yet. And that only we can imagine and create in community.
If you're ready to feel more alive and inspired than you have in a long time? And you're curious, but nervous, about taking committed action towards something that's whispering or shouting that it would love more space in your life. And if you're wanting to grow your resilience--access to the wholeness of who you are--alongside your power to create what you love in life, I'd love to chat with you about the new Women Create program. Several of the women from Live Your Wildly Beautiful Life helped to co-create and imagine this experience, which begins February 26 with a 2-day in person retreat (also available online) in beautiful Bellingham, WA. It's going to be a powerful, fun, and inspiring experience in community.
Creativity. Community. Confidence. Commitment. Courage.
Together, we create new worlds!
PS - YOU DON'T HAVE TO do traditional arts foused projects in this program. There are a wide variety of ways to create and explore in a committed way. :) All of them allow you to practice the creative process and use that process beyond the scope of this program to feel empowered and free in living your life's purpose in a way you love.