Don’t ignore that tap on the shoulder

shoulder-tap
Image: canyon-news.com

There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen. – Rumi

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had something tugging at my sleeve for many years now. It feels like a pestering tug that won’t let up, that keeps stubbornly trying to get my attention and just won’t go away. I knew that I had to acknowledge that ‘unseen’ part of me, that deep presence, the place of knowing that can only be felt and not reasoned. I didn’t want to acknowledge it because I knew that it was coaxing me into action. It would push me into that super uncomfortable zone, the place where all shields are down and you go out, fully exposed. But the time had come. I had to listen.

That “thing” that was desperately trying to get my attention was my soul’s yearning, it was calling, begging me to follow a hunch, with no details, instructions or landing sight. And I’m not talking about “purpose” here, I’m talking about something that needs to be  undertaken, for it’s own purpose. I was being called to open myself up to a mystery, to tune in to a desire, a yearning buried so deep, that I was no longer completely sure what IT was. What did it look like, feel like, taste like? Is it something that excited me? We are so good at cutting ourselves off from our deepest passions that a mere spider’s thread connects us to our golden orb, our soul. That orb is like the light that shines from our heart when we are totally immersed in our pleasure, in the “thing” that makes us unique, in the thing that takes us out of time and space, and drops us into the timeless dimension.

golden light.jpg

But why, oh why, do we allow the very thing that excites us, that sustains our souls to perish, little by little, like a neglected toy, gathering dust and mould in a darkened corner? We neglect our “joy generators” at our peril because in today’s detached world, we need something to anchor us, to help us connect to our authentic selves and to the infinite and creative source of all existence.

tofu-brain
Image: Highheelrunner.wordpress.com

Tofu-man takes control

I was one such person. Many years ago my love of music saw me performing in very small venues with a band of wannabes and even after a long day at the office, performing had me on such a high that I thought I would burst. Every cell in my body began to shimmer with joy and satisfaction, with no agenda other than being in love with the act of creation, but then, my mind took control. It told me that I could never make it to the top because of a lack of talent, looks, connections, the X factor, you name it, the excuses came thick and fast. And so, because of a bunch of dialogue made up by a lump of tofu like mass inside my skull, I gave it away. Years later, my creative soul tried tapping me on the shoulder again, but this time enticing me with art, then ceramics, but each time, tofu-man stood like judge and jury and began to pronounce my ideas as being guilty of a crime against my ego, that following such silly creative pursuits was wasteful of time and money, contributed nothing to the world economy, would not keep the insatiable machine of industry fed and was about as useful as concrete wings on a bird. So again, I gave up. Not realising that I had just replaced my own wings with concrete ones.

Fast forward many years and I learnt to ignore my creativity, and instead adopted a “normal life”, pursuing the nice house, car, balancing career, family, friends, pets etc., leaving me no time for anything else. Phew! It meant tofu-man would be happy, at least for a while, but then slowly but surely, my body began to crumble. You see egos don’t have the brains to understand that suppressing one’s ‘soul-vocation’ in favour of following social dictators would eventually hurt my body, my soul, and ultimately, all of me.

paint-hand

Hundreds of hours of self-analysis made me realise that Tofu-man was not me, he is just a bunch of programs that were passed on from other tofu brains whose initial intention was to keep us safe, but sadly, this kind of thinking is based on fear.  Over time, this fear was used to keep us all under control, to make us conform so that we remain on the economic treadmill, earn money, spend money and keep a few individuals in the monetarily rich life they had become accustomed to. To control the masses, there is absolutely no room for individuation, for soul expression or living a passionate life. We are told that creativity doesn’t pay the bills. No, it doesn’t always produce monetary results, but it does nourish our hearts and souls and helps pave the way to better health and a more satisfied life. Creativity calls for chaos, for challenging the social norms, for expressing beauty for the sake of it, for shaking people out of their stupor and saying, “Hey you? Look at this amazing photo of the soon to be extinct white tiger.” It triggers us into creating music that soothes our frazzled nerves one minute and then propels us into social action the next. Creativity provides solutions to problems, it is meditative and healing. I’m guessing if creativity was at the top of our priority lists, that we’d reduce our hospital admissions by 80%.

For me, a sick body forced me to see for the first time that tofu-man had been running my life. He’s not just my judge and jury, but also my jailer. He’d kept me from the things I truly loved but was afraid to follow. So, despite being around the “middle” age of my life, I say to my tofu-man, no more. I’m taking back control. Last week I took my first guitar lesson in years and wow did it feel good!  The next day I purchased some watercolour paints and coloured pencils. Just looking at the beautiful colours sets my heart a racing.

guitar

And to my tofu-man I say thanks for trying to protect me, but your kind of protection is like spraying weed killer on a plant that’s about to blossom. We often do this to our children too. Just as they’re about to open their buds and burst into the world in a blaze of colour, we pass on tofu-man’s fears and shut them down. Well, it’s never too late to make scrambled tofu with your ego, instead of letting it run your life. If you can relate to this but don’t know how to move forward, then here’s a suggestion.

children fishing.jpg

Find your silly happy

Find a quiet place and put on some music that calms and soothes you. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and time travel to happy childhood moments when you were doing something that made you silly happy. If like me, you buried your silly happy moments deep in your memory banks, don’t worry, be patient and just sit with it. You may have to try this a few times.

If that doesn’t work, then you get to play, to experiment and try a whole host of creative things to see if you can reconnect with that deep joyful love that you once had for a particular activity. Take photos, join a choir, learn an instrument, take up sewing, restore furniture, gardening and so on.  Counselling, Hypnotherapy or Art therapy might help too. Whatever you do, don’t give up, keep looking. Your health, wellbeing and full expression of your life depend on it.

searching

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When indecision chooses for you

Image courtesy: Wayne Hastings.com
Image courtesy: Wayne Hastings.com

This morning, as I prepared to go to my usually joy filled sewing class, I felt something was amiss. For two days I’d been brooding over a sense of loss that comes with missed opportunities, particularly those that result from years of mysteriously undiagnosed chronic poor health. But I’d been feeling better and looking for the next shinny signal that would herald the start of a new path, career and life. But, sadly, I’d found myself going in circles again about which shinny path to take. What I didn’t realise was that this, like all difficulties may actually be conspiring to create a clearer lens through which to look through. No matter, a few hours of sewing usually cleared the head, but not today. Even my favourite hobby had turned into an agonising challenge.  My usually patient teacher lost her calm as I brought another challenging project to her table. The class was unusually full and I had no other project to go on with. I felt tears well up with little purpose other than to make me feel even worse. I apologised to the class, saying that my brain had been hijacked by some mysterious and capricious force and I hightailed it out of my favourite place.

Image courtesy: mnwallpaper.com
Image courtesy: mnwallpaper.com

I drove through tear stained eyes, feeling the depths of my self pity, knowing that my middle class suburban life did not justify the tears, and yet I felt lost and alone. My desperate texts to the two friends who I rely on for wise counsel were mysteriously ‘Not Delivered’ adding to my isolation.  The all knowing, all seeing, wise mentor and teacher that I desperately sought, was still missing, despite numerous prayers asking for her to magically appear.  I realised, reluctantly, that I had to figure this out alone.  Not easy for someone who has never trusted herself and always relied on other people to make the “right” decision and choose the “perfect” direction.

Image courtesy: danverspublicschool.org
Image courtesy: danverspublicschool.org

Of course we are never alone, and guidance can appear magically via a spontaneous comment from a friend, a song on the radio, or an email as it was for me today.  My brooding was caused by confusion about where to direct my attention. My usual ‘scarcity mind’ told me I had to choose a path accurately, this time, as time always seemed to be running out. I’ve always loved writing but felt inadequate. I’m also a counsellor but again, felt that my toolbox never seemed full enough. Sewing and design light me up, but again, there are always courses that need to be attended. What to do? Well I swung a pendulum.  Yep, to some of you it sounds loopy but for me, it works like a charm. Mine happens to be an amethyst and as I asked about various possibilities, it directed me towards writing and to leave the rest for now. I ignored it (yes I have a trust issue too) and went to sewing instead and well, I’ve already mentioned how well that went. Not!

Image courtesy: flowwithjoy.com
Image courtesy: flowwithjoy.com

When my texts for help failed, I checked my emails, only because I had no idea what else I should be doing, and just like magic, there was my guidance. First there was the eerily accurate astrological reading that was telling me it was time to bury those outdated feelings that made me feel like I was worth even less than I imagined. Then another blog appeared, from a brilliant wordsmith name Jess, with the heading: “Can’t decide which idea to pursue? Here’s how to choose.”  I’m not kidding, that was the title. But it gets even better. I’d not written for months because of my “inadequacy disease” that continually strangled any attempts at producing work. I’d no idea how to move forward, but Jess’ blog offered ideas on how to unblock creativity, and other brilliant tips to help me move from less than, to, just do it!  I felt a mountain shift and not just because I realised I didn’t have to choose between a rock and a hard place, I just had to choose one, and then, if I didn’t like it, I could choose the other. Who would have thought it could be as simple as that? As Jess says, it’s better to have some less than perfect material to work with and learn how to improve it, than to have nothing at all, which so far, was all I was producing. Nothing.

Image courtesy: quotes gram.com
Image courtesy: quotes gram.com

So Mr Inadequacy Disease, you bum, get out of my way, because today’s post is not about end results, is not about being the best, the most pretty or witty tale, it’s all about the art of creating, creating “some thing”, which is better than “no thing”.

(P.S. In case I needed further proof, the first image on this blog of the child and telescope was found on another blog titled, “Having trouble getting creative?”. Not anymore, I say, and thanks Universe for the additional thumbs up! 🙂 )