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her rubble; Finding courage in the midst of ruins

Nepal, March 2016 Someone’s home.

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.

Until recently.

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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big magic club

11 thoughts on “her rubble; Finding courage in the midst of ruins

  1. I love this question. There is absolutely rubble in my season, and it is the rubble of the way things were. Old things, that I have been clinging on to, unaware that they are rubble and therefore I can not build with them. Maybe I need to choose a few useful stones for the foundation, but now is the time to build something new. Beautiful image, thanks for getting through to those deep places with this post Amanda. xx

    1. Thankyou my digging through the rubble friend. I love this book already, I can feel its truth, fun and lightness calling me forward.

      Foundation stones is a great thought. Thanks for continuing to call me forward. XXOO

  2. ‘… the rubble of the way things were.’ When our paths cross, Jodie, I will be the slightly awkward person who hugs you upon introduction and says thank you. Just giving you a heads up.

    That sentence unlocked something in me today. And I think it has a lot to do with dealing with my current season of motherhood with my old, well-used coping mechanisms of control. Something that’s served me successfully in my 20’s and 30’s, but hasn’t matched up so well when I linked it with sleep deprivation and motherhood.

    The way things were. The simplicity of being responsible for my decisions and actions, striving, problem solving until I achieved. Put that filter over trying to determine how best to support a high energy 5 year old awaiting a diagnosis, whilst keeping the energy tank going with a fiesty 2 year old. Well, rubble is everywhere. Exhaustion, feelings of failure, loss, wishing for, discomfort.

    My son and I attend a Feldenkrais practitioner twice a week to help support his school learning. She sometimes demonstrates particular exercises on me to help understand how I do this with Toby at home. She performed a particular pressure point exercise this morning and mentioned if she altered it slightly, it would release all of the built-up emotion within me. Spontaneous, uncontrollable emotion = petrified. What has allowed fear to grip me so strongly that I feel so challenged by that?

    So with my nervous system on hyper-alert, I choose courage to step into that unknown, having no idea of outcome or length of time. My children & husband needs it. I need it. Courage to grieve. Courage to let go in order to give space for the new and unfamiliar, so I can look at my children and their ‘todays’ without striving to constantly solve problems. Fresh eyes. New heart.

    1. You my friend are an absolutely amazing writer.

      Stunning in fact.

      Thank you for your honesty, courage and resilience.

      We shall rebuild, this time with sturdy foundations. XXOO

    2. I can’t wait Justine … and I’m a huggy person 🙂

      Letting go of control and learning new ways of dealing with things is hard soul work. Praying courage for you in this season. xx

    3. I’m always up for hugs Justine :), looking forward to meeting you.

  3. Oh Amanda, Jodie and Justine you all are such beautiful writers sharing your vulnerability. Thank you!

    My rubble is made of old insecurities. Procrastination out of fear. Past failure informs my present. But, I will press on into new territory, rebuilding from the rubble and going beyond old borders.

    1. Thanks so much for being a part of this journey Elaine. What an amazing book. I love it already and I am only a couple of chapters in. What I love even more though is the gang that is forming and the exploring we are doing together. Thankyou

    2. Procrastination out of fear… Gosh, there’s something I need to ponder!! Xoxo

  4. Hmmm mine is being pulled in too many directions wanting to be there for everyone else. Basically making them a priority. Not quite sure how to be any different and if it’s possible to make such a dynamic change in my life at a late stage. If I don’t I will always regret what might have been. Being raised by a selfless mother and very old fashioned traditional family putting oneself first to follow a creative path is unique. There is so much in my mind, heart and soul to be done I just hope I have time.

    1. Wow, yes I get this totally Vicki Lee. My mum also is so self-sacrificial, to the point of always making her self-unwell by serving and helping others. Rather than putting ourselves first, it is more finding space for self-care and being kind to ourselves. Thanks so much for jumping in the conversation. I appreciate your honesty and truthfulness.

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