June 20, 2016
Lost and Found
So, I was driving to meet my health coach last week and the Caribou we selected for our first meeting was one I hadn’t been to before. Knowing my predisposition to anxiety regarding new places, I diligently looked it up, memorized the route, and left early to make sure I had enough time. When I arrived, the Caribou had closed early due to staffing issues, and so after a quick text my coach and I agreed to meet at a different Caribou somewhat nearby. Bonus! I had been there before.
I immediately headed in the direction of the new location. Halfway there, I looked around at the road I’d chosen and started wondering…did I go the right way? Was I lost? Maybe I should have taken the freeway. Maybe I should have taken 50th instead. Maybe I should have…you get the picture.
I rode the anxiety wave for about five minutes until I realized that I HAD been on this road before. I knew where it ended up (or at least where it used to because it had been under construction and closed for a long time), and even if I was wrong I was familiar enough with the area to get myself where I needed to go. And then I started thinking about how I’d driven away from Caribou #1 in the direction of Caribou #2 with confidence. I knew the way! It was only when I started thinking about getting lost, that I actually started to feel lost.
When I see a runner on my way to work, something inside me stretches its legs, remembering the feeling--craving it even though I haven’t run in years. When I think about drawing, my mind goes to the stillness it creates, an quiet place filled by the quick passage of time and the sound of the pencil on the paper. I avoid giant potholes in the road without thinking. I dream about writing--remembering the feeling of surprise and wonder after having written something unexpected.
Given all this, is it possible that deep down I know the way through the murkiest parts of my creative projects? All I want is more…wonder, more magic, more light. I wish that creating was always wonderful magical lightness, but it isn’t. And the small voice, you know the one I’m talking about, whispers that it knows the way just like I knew the way to Caribou #2 by heart.
How many times do I approach the blank page, canvas, or whatever with doubt already in my mind? How many times do I just let the project unfold rather than worrying about how I’ll get to the end? How many times do I trust the process will eventually get me where I need to go – which is inevitably the second draft, or the third draft, or the final finished drawing, scuffed with erasure marks but still whole and right in its existence?
Somewhere along the way, I started trying to control everything, to make something that is inherently a messy, flawed process, into something that produced diamonds. I need to practice trust. And I need to practice enduring that feeling of failing when something doesn't turn out exactly as I'd hoped.
Over the past six months, I have written dozens of blog posts I never had the courage to post. I type them out when feeling inspired, but when I read them again right before I hit the post button, the doubt creeps in. Will this resonate? Will this make me look stupid? Am I being too revealing, too needy, too sad, too weird? Should I be happier? Am I too opinionated?
Starting today I’m going to post 30 blogs in 30 days. I have no idea what I’m going to write about. I am not planning a single post nor will I recycle the drafts I’ve left abandoned. The goal is to look for inspiration and try something new. I’m going to hope that the words will show up and when they don’t it’ll be a new challenge--a creative experiment. To create, we have to be willing to get lost.
Join me if you like, for as long as you like. Otherwise, tell me about a time when you got lost. Or tell me about wonderful magical things because I feel like the world needs more light this week.