I often say that writing or any creative pursuit is like giving birth—first, there is conception, an idea that has been planted in the mind, a divine little spark that bursts forth with energy and excitement. Think of a nebula—a big cloud of swirling dust and gas that will eventually shine down to Earth as a fully formed star. It’s that glorious moment when you know exactly what you want to create, but you don’t have all the details and materials yet. You’re just spinning and floating with the idea and sticking your big toe in the creative process.
Then, the idea begins to grow and take shape during a gestational period that can be rather short, perhaps a matter of hours, or quite lengthy depending on the nature of the project. So, you stay with this idea however long it takes—you nurture it, feed it, and give it as much energy as you can while still maintaining your own health and sanity. You become a vessel for something greater than yourself to manifest here on the material plane. Your ego must get out of the way, along with all distractions, naysayers, and party poopers. This is not the time to let anyone say “you can’t” or “you’re not good enough”—and that includes yourself. You are perfectly good enough; otherwise, the idea would not have come to you!
Time passes, and you finally begin to work and sweat with your project. You get your hands in the dirt, your fingers on the keyboard, your paint on the canvas. This is your idea being born. This is labor. It takes strength and courage and an unfailing belief that your efforts are worth it all…and so, at the right time and place, the child of your mind and heart is born. The garden is planted, the book is published, the artwork hangs in a gallery. It is done. You have fulfilled your destiny. You have co-created with the universe, and so you rest.
I believe that everyone has it within herself or himself to be creative. It’s not just for the “artsy” people. Even if you are left-brained and addicted to your own special set of nuts and bolts, there is always something that yearns to be expressed. We are put here for this purpose—to love and to create—and we don’t have to starve or go insane to produce something of value. I was an English Lit major, so I was surrounded by creative people all the time through my college years. We were always thinking, writing, and exploring our rich, voluptuous world. Writers notice things. We take our time. We massage the details.
It’s all really about surrender and allowing. There is a poem by Rumi called “The Treasure’s Nearness” that portrays this so beautifully:
A man searching for spirit-treasure
cannot find it, so he is praying.
A voice inside says, You were given
the intuition to shoot an arrow
and then to dig where it landed,
but you shot with all your archery skill.
You were told to draw the bow
with only a fraction of your ability.
What you are looking for
is nearer than the big vein
on your neck. Let the arrow drop.
Do not exhaust yourself
like the philosophers who strain to shoot
the high arcs of their thought-arrows.
The more skill you use,
the farther you will be
from what your deepest love wants.
(translated by Coleman Barks)
My dear ones, what Rumi is saying is that you can’t harness creativity and drive it like a mule. It is always here, always with you. Surrender, trust, and allow. Blessed Be.