I’ve felt a bit discombobulated over the past few weeks. Unable to get a foothold in things. It always seems to happen to me in the wake of a period of intense creativity. Especially when that creative project finds its way out into the world like The Return to Serenity Island course did at the end of March.
No matter how many projects I release, and no matter how prepared I think I am for the aftermath, the hangover still arrives in some form.
I’ve learned to see that this is part of the cycle. The awareness makes it less of a confusing surprise. But it still feels foggy and disorientating when it arrives.
I guess it’s that moment just after harvest. When the field has given the treasure it has spent months lovingly and energetically preparing for this moment. The treasure is taken and the field is left bare. Spent. Where that job is finished.
This is the moment to stop. To rest in the liminal space. Between what was and what will be.
Have you ever had that kind of feeling?
I find these analogies helpful to lean on. They not only remind me that creativity is rooted in organic ebbs and flows. But also that we as humans are underpinned by continual cycles of seeding, growth, and harvest.
These rhythms feel important at the moment. Slow and steady rhythmic pace is fundamental to healthy growth for us individuals and as a society. In 2019 we built a seasonal approach into The Haven community, and it was the best thing that could have happened.
We cycle with an evolving purpose through the same broad themes each year. And every time we do I feel growth deepening, expanding, and transcending from the inside out. For us as individuals in the community, but also for the community itself. It makes more sense, it establishes stronger roots and a sense of meaning.
Time, patience, and rhythm are the heartbeat of gentle rebellion. Where we question the common assumptions and pressures we’ve come to accept as right and normal. And to hold them up against what we recognise to be true and healthy instead.
The surest sign that something is wrong is when creativity in its purest essence goes missing.
The Essence of Creativity
I believe that at its core, creativity is simple and universal. It brings something into the world that wouldn’t exist in the way it does without our presence in the process of its becoming.
It is within everyone’s grasp because it can be reflected in a small gesture of encouragement. The act of contributing some seed of meaning into the life of another person. It’s not reserved for those we think of as ‘creative’ practices and people.
We can often trip ourselves up with this stuff though. And we might get in our own way, by making it more complicated than it is.
As The Return to Serenity Island emerged into being over the past 6 months, I have thought a lot about creating ‘conditions’ for growing life from the inside out.
Much of our modern world defaults towards industrialised, mechanised, and automated productivity. And unfortunately the lens through which we approach personal growth and development often reflects this.
I wonder if this is having an impact on our capacity to access some of the simple, organic and natural parts of ourselves and our innate creativity.
Do a quick online search and you’ll be inundated with blueprints, systems, and processes for increasing productivity. In fact, if your social media feeds are anything like mine, you are bombarded with adverts for ‘Creativity Success Pathways’ and ‘Guaranteed 6 Figure Funnels for Your Creative Business’.
The idea of “creativity” can become subsumed by this stuff, and have the life sucked out of it. Proof of which is the fact that “productivity” is often now used interchangeable with “creativity”, as if they mean the same thing. This appears to be a potentially dangerous and slippery slope.
Organic vs Mechanical
There is of course an appropriate time and place to use models, pre-built processes, templates, and formulas. They generate consistent and reliable results. They produce a certain outcome from a specific set of inputs/ingredients. There is no point reinventing the wheel if what you want is a wheel.
It’s required sometimes. Just not when it comes to connecting with the slow, organic, blooming beauty of the irreplaceable creative human spirit.
In fact, these mechanical systems, funnels, and blueprints innately require us to alienate ourselves from that stuff. And to kill off many important aspects of creativity (to literally suck the life out of our creativity). Not least the uncertainty, unpredictability, and potential organic evolution, adaptation, transformation, and playful mistakes.
As we start the Summer Season in The Haven in May, we will be exploring how we might nurture a more organic rather than mechanical relationship with creativity. And how to develop conditions for an increase flow of imagination, play, and uncertainty.
So we can let go of the nagging pressure to feel like we should be doing more and keeping up with the latest fads and fashions. We will be giving ourselves and one another permission to slow down, connect with our own natural pace, and seed life from the inside out.
If this sounds like something you’d find helpful to explore with me and some fellow gentle rebels you can join The Haven here: http://the-haven.co/join