Do not fear what you don't understand. Learn to understand what you fear.
Creativity feels good, being free to brainstorm and think and try and test and then scrap it all if it doesn't work and start over from scratch, all of that sounds fantastic when looked at from a distance, no matter how small that distance may be. But the truth is that living as a creative, working to embrace creativity wholly and completely on a regular basis, in between these dryly dull rituals of endless and inescapable routines, to exist as a creative soul and create things with creative energy, that's like wrestling a thousand-pound gorilla inside a thick, dense rainforest, in the middle of the night. It's like facing a crocodile in a swamp where you have no footing, and then standing there in the pitch black with no knowledge of where you are or what's lurking nearby.
Once in awhile you feel something in that darkness, you grab onto it, and for that one endlessly brief moment in time things feel a bit better, you feel a bit more in control, the stuff you're trying to do seems to happen a little easier and then you find yourself suddenly doing it and you start to tell yourself that YES, you can do this, you can work with this, you are a powerful and unstoppable force of nature because now you've found it, that hold, that little thing that seems to make all the impossibility of what it took to get there seem insignificant and unimportant and you forget, very quickly, how much effort it took to arrive at where you are, how much unknown you had to face, how much self-conscious ridicule and self-doubt you had to let go of, how much fear you had to put aside to find that little thing you're now clinging onto, that preciously delicate but incredibly potent little flow you're tapping into, hoping, wishing that it will never stop running, that it will never go away, that you'll never lose it again. But you know that's an unreasonable request from the universe. You know that soon your fantastic grip on this creative world you cherish so dearly will be gone, and you will once again return to being that tortured, naked soul, standing in the dark with so many unknowns all around, so many thousand-pound gorillas ready to wrestle and so many prehistoric crocodiles in these waters, and now you're right here, facing them all over again, looking, searching, waiting for that one thing, that one thread of connection, prepared to embrace that flow at a moments notice, ready to begin, alert, aware, patiently understanding that this wonderful thing called creativity is a gift worth waiting for, a gift worth giving up comfort to stand there, all alone in the dark.
When I was younger, I thought that my future held my circle of friends; we seemed inseparable. When I owned a house, I put my heart and soul into its maintenance, sweating and struggling to hold onto it because I was so sure that it was in my future.
I thought the same thing about my job, that my future held a high-paying career as a computer programmer, or a security consultant. At one point I was certain that my future held a position in the military. I was sure it held my ex-girlfriend.
But I was wrong, about all of it.
I learned that by telling ourselves day in and day out that we know what the future holds, that it must hold this thing or that person just because we always thought that it would, we lock ourselves into self-limiting and self-destructive patterns.
We hold onto these expectations because it’s safer that way, because our primal instinct wants to feel secure, because it wants to know that we’ve been somewhere and that we’ve done something and that all of this must mean we’re going somewhere, with someone, or with a specific group of someones.
We want to see ourselves making tangible progress, moving laterally from one direction to another, swimming toward a specific destination and making specific, measurable progress. We don’t want to think three-dimensionally, to look down into a dark abyss and imagine sinking to a undefinable place that holds so much unknown, to a place that has no certain depth and no measurable end, a place where anything can happen.
We don’t want to imagine that, but that’s exactly what the future holds, a dark unknown. We have no light to shine on the future. We have no map to lead us through. There is no rulebook that determines what happens and what doesn’t, who lives and who dies, who comes, and who goes. Life isn’t a two-dimensional surface with birth and death clearly marked on either end. It’s dynamic. It’s unpredictable. It’s raw.
You are not who you were yesterday and tomorrow, you won’t be who you are right now. But who you are right now is real. It’s tangible, and the only thing holding you back from blossoming is what you take with you into tomorrow, and what you expect to find when you get there. Your vision of the future is flawed. It’s a mirage. It’s an island that you’re swimming toward that doesn’t even exist.
Every heartbeat is a heartbeat you’ve never experienced. Every breath is a breath you’ve never taken.
Envision a future that is so unwritten, a future that is so strange that you have trouble holding it in your imagination. Envision a future so blank, so pure and unencumbered by the past or the present, so savage and wild and deep that it remains unrestrained by preconceptions of yesterday and unchained from expectations of today.
Envision a future that is so impossibly unimaginable that it creates an abyss of nothingness, and then, allow yourself to float into that unknown, leaving behind everything to embrace a future you that is flawless and free.
What do I know? I know so little. I don't even know how to breathe. I simply think "breathe" and my body choreographs a beautifully synchronized series of events that results in my chest expanding and air being sucked in to fill the vacuum. What do I know? I know so little. I don't even know how to breathe.