I decided today to write a creative ‘to do’ list. There were creative tasks like do more diagrams (like the one pictured), or carry on writing my many book projects.
I caught myself in the middle of this list – I’d written 5 items – before bursting out laughing. Why was I postponing my creativity in order to write a list about creativity??
I noticed, after having this thought, that there is clearly a ‘block’ to my creative process. Why wouldn’t I just sit and write? Why couldn’t I? What was stopping me?
I decided, as I often do at these moments of ‘stuckness’, to meditate. So I meditated for about 30 minutes. In that time, I did my best to just observe what was happening for me: in my body, in my thoughts, in my emotions. I also heard pigeons, cars and someone opening a gate.
What I did notice about my body was I had a slight headache – not enough to have noticed it prior to meditation – but there it was, some tension! I also noticed my neck was sore. I also caught many thoughts basing my lack of creativity on something external to me: i.e. ‘not the right time’, ‘too noisy’, ‘my wife might need me’, ‘I’ve got other items on my list more important’ etc.
So, meditation again has highlighted that actually, all these thoughts aren’t true – they’re just past based responses preventing me from writing – for some reason I can’t even remember (did I perhaps get told off for writing when I was younger?) but it’s highlighted that there’s a ‘fear’ behind writing. There’s also a ‘need’ in me TO write – I labelled myself as an ‘author’, a ‘writer’, so it’s a bit of a failure if I don’t write, right?
This again, makes me chuckle. I’m not a writer 24/7. Why do we pigeon-hole ourselves into an identity, and then berate ourselves when we’re not ‘doing’ our identity? This takes me to the sign-less-ness contemplations in Buddhism, where we notice when we put an identity or label on something, and allow the wisdom that the mind interprets things in this way, with ‘signs’, only to know as well that it’s just a mind concept. Does a cloud call itself a cloud? Does rain call itself rain? They are one and the same, just two different states in two different moments. One moment, there’s a cloud. The next, it’s raining. Where did the cloud go?
So, sometimes I’m a writer. Other times I’m not. Where did the writer go?
Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle. Mindful awareness again has highlighted all the illusory thoughts my mind can concoct, and it’s highlighted again that I don’t need to follow what it believes or says. I can choose to do what I want, when I want. There aren’t any blocks in the external world, only blocks I make internally.
There’s still a journey to be had, an exploration of the ego and these mind thoughts, but it’s a journey I now take with curiosity and learning, rather than upset and annoyance at my ‘failings’ – because, friends, there’s no ‘failings’. Each time I see things more clearly for what is true, what is reality, I can let go of illusions – I can be more authentic and in my awareness. This, for me, is healing and presence. Indeed, after my meditation, my headache cleared. I feel much lighter.
And look, I wrote this blog!