Courage in the past has always come easily to my risk taking personality. From a young age, I traipsed across stages, travelled to unknown places, sung in front of thousands, performed, lead and coerced a life of inspiration. I am not sure if it was the combination of a legacy from a Mother who was an actor, designer, and baker or dancing classes four times a week for twenty years. Maybe it was just my natural creative energy, but I expect it is a combination of them all.
Courage in creativity has always come naturally. In fact, I would be as bold to say that I was addicted to its adrenaline charged satisfaction.
Recently I have become a little reticent. I have had this conversation with myself “Maybe I should remove myself completely from social media.” “Maybe next year should be my year of unplugged.” “Maybe I should pull back from writing, speaking and leading altogether.“
“Maybe a new me is emerging” one who disappears as Gilbert describes of the poet in her opening paragraph of our focus book for this month “Big Magic”. My life has felt somewhat reminiscent of a natural disaster zone and it has not been one huge seismic crack, but the culmination of lots of little ones. I feel like a small child sitting in the midst of a huge pile of rubble, trying desperately to find my house in the midst of it.
Courage in creativity often finds itself hiding. Courage in creativity can be easy in some seasons and downright difficult in others. Courage is not a once off cloak that is placed over our shoulders with a badge like a girl guide ranger. It is a daily piece of clothing that needs to be found amidst the pile of clothes on the floor, washed, dried and redressed again.
And then I found this book.
I have known I was meant to read it, ever since it first hit my internet feed, but the timing of its appearance on my bedside table is perfect. It has found me in the midst of a “rubble all around me” season and I believe its purpose is to help me rebuild again.
Gilbert asks this question…
“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”
I know that the greatest stories of a resurrection of courage come from those who have loved and lost, have failed and got back up again and those who have allowed beauty to arise from the ashes. I know it was not a coincidence that I went to Nepal this last month and spent time with many different, beautiful people who sat in the midst of their world that had been rocked by an earthquake. I know that courage is found often in the very bowels of circumstance.
But today I sit with manuscripts unpublished, a list of emails to reply to, an office with boxes filled with my belongings, right in the midst of a massive transition. I could have put off this post, claiming that it is all too hard. I could have written to my dear friends and said this project in May, sorry it’s just all too unsteady. I could have withdrawn, regrouped and found my courage card again.
But once again, I am here, I am uncertain, I am unsteady but I am showing up with my unfinished projects awaiting, my children eating their lunch and I’m grabbing the tail of the inspiration tiger and yanking it into my today.
My question for our creativity sojourners is this one…
“What is the rubble in your season and how is it speaking to your courage?”
Till we meet again in the midst of our very ordinary,
May you live inspired despite the challenge my friends.
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