His cottage looked out to the waves and the sky. Paints, brushes, and canvasses in varying states of completion filled the space. His lonely time on the bluff fueled creative landscapes highly prized by art lovers.
Then one day, the woman with the black hair knocked on his door. Now, he lay idle, his fingers mingled loosely in those raven strands, inspiration long evaporated in a haze of romance.
“Today, my love? Please, pick up your brush again,” she coaxed.
He knew he was done with landscapes.
He stared into her sapphire eyes. New inspiration flickered.
Perhaps 2021 can be the year we begin to build in earnest our own compassionate culture. After 2020’s time of introspection, its heavy dosing of fear, its many questions, lessons, and losses, maybe we can feel empowered to build something new.
We see, after all, the technocapitalist drill does not serve humanity, the other beings, the planet, quite so well. It’s really good at some things, but compassion — a key element for life — is missing entirely.
Let’s make this year the one where we bring deep, fundamental compassion to the system. Let the system shiver and learn to adjust, or crumble.
The early morning, still dark and star-strewn, makes the space for dreams — the wisps of the inscrutable ones begging to be deciphered, and, too, the waking dreams of substance, dreams of the heart, the aphrodisiac of aliveness.
These are the dreams that make us more of who we are, who we must become, as surely as a tender sprout must one day flourish with extravagant blossoms whether seen or unseen by human eyes.
Some of us are happily, if not easily, driven by those dreams. For others, we must allow ourselves to notice them— these dreamy sprouts — then nurture them.
Our dreams prescribe wholeness, not careers or salaries. Especially in a time when we are more and more reduced to and perceived in our roles as commodities, we must dream, and go there, even if in bits and pieces. There is nothing inconsequential about it. Do not look to the status quo to place a value on your dreams.
Dreams, big and small and in between, are crucial to our own lives, our social underpinnings, and to the globe we trod. They are not defined by the marketplace. The shapes and colors and sounds of our dreams make our world shine with love and creativity and freedom, irrespective of what can be bought and sold. They assert our very existence. Dreams are revolutionary.
If dreams die, if we forget how to dream, we must see it for the existential crisis it is. We must find our way back to dreams any which way we can.
It may mean finding a guide or a friend to help, or it may mean revisiting childhood dreams and experimenting there, or it could mean learning something entirely new to break the hold of the entrenched thought patterns that trap us in our dreamless state. It could be a new language, or a craft, or a place, a history, a skill, that turns out to be the trigger that allows our dreams back into our lives.
We must try, because dreams must be. Dreams are fundamental to life. And when we fan the flames of our dreams back into existence, we must tend the fire. Dreams hold our gift, to be cherished and honored in love by all. The world needs the revolution of our dreams more than ever.
I may reach a plateau and coast for awhile, but apparently this is just the universe’s way of giving me a little breather. Then, the next lesson starts.
Except it’s not a new lesson, even though it feels fresh every time it starts. No, it is the same lesson I keep having to learn over and over again. The universe is absolutely persistent that I get this, once and for all, exactly right. It must be a pretty important lesson, eh?
And, why, pray tell, am I so resistant to it? Why do I flunk over and over again? And why does the universe not just kick me out of school?
The thing is, I actually know the answers to most of my own questions about this now. So apparently I have actually made progress in the curriculum. Maybe I’m not actually flunking anymore, I’m just getting C’s.
Why not finally go for it? Why not do all the homework and try for an A? Be an honor student? Be ready to graduate?
Yikes, what happens then?
Well, no fear, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned – the universe does have my back. And it’s all – every single bit of it – about love. I can trust that.
I am safe, if challenged, in the loving arms of the universe that is the absolute champion of critical thinking, innovation, embracing the arts, practical experience, fearless exploration, and radical education reform.
Confidence. I am good enough. I am smart enough. I can stop judging myself. I can do this without thinking. All I have to do is bring all of me to the party.
Okay. Pencils are sharpened. New notebooks in the backpack. No need for new text books, hehe, I’ve got them all.
Creativity seems to be absolutely essential to my wellbeing, to making me all of me. I feel an almost constant and fierce desire for creative efforts.
And yet, I confront my own incredible resistance to it. The resistance wins, more often than not.
Sometimes, I think of the problem as a matter of being able to allow creativity. That, say, conditions must be just right for my creativity to emerge and flourish.
I think that maybe I need daylight hours in which to do my creative work. Or I need a particular environment that is somehow unavailable to me. Or I don’t have the right materials. Or I’m not skilled enough. Or the planets are not in alignment. Or the Muse is absent. Or. Or. Or.
Kind of sounds like excuses, eh?
And then I think that it’s not really a matter of engineering conditions to allow creativity. The problem is really a matter of eliciting creativity – calling it forth.
This involves setting the intention to do my creative work, committing to it, and forcing myself to carry through despite conditions.
I managed to prove to myself that this is possible. And fruitful.
Still, such commitment takes both courage and self-compassion.
I am not whole if I am not creative. If my creativity is suppressed, part of me is missing – a pretty important part.
I have looked long and painfully at the reasons my creative soul hides. I have learned a few things.
The world is a pretty scary place for that corner of my soul.
She is not at all convinced of her own absolute legitimacy and worthiness. She has no assurance whatever that she is loved and wanted and safe. And she just knows it’s totally not okay to get messy.
It is a matter of compassionately taking her hand and showing her it’s okay to come out. Indeed, showing her that the world is not whole without her.