I see it everywhere, the collective sigh. Not this again. We thought we were rounding the corner on the pandemic, had started making travel plans and dreaming about friends to see. And then things came crashing down, again.
What I have seen, in myself and others, is a rote retreat to the patterns of the first round of the pandemic. We are so human. What we sometimes forget is that any time we revisit something, we get a new opportunity – to do it differently. To invite in our creative mind with its new possibilities.
I had a dear friend, Candace, who met her first wave of cancer with fear and hiding. So understandable. She overcame it… only for the cancer to return a year later. A couple of months after her second diagnosis, we had coffee together. Swirling in her cream, I was amazed at how radiant she looked and asked her about it. She said at some point she realized she could do cancer differently. Same circumstances, different response.
Instead of looking the other way, she greeted each new day as if it was a miracle. She thought of things she had longed to do, beginning with knitting colorful yarns on a giant loom. She started writing poetry and would take long drives in the desert with her husband where they’d invent haikus together. And her texts with her sons became more playful as she freed her creative spirit. Whenever I saw her and asked how she was doing, her first response was the same – “Always Wonderful.”
Her cancer was still there and the journey wasn’t easy, but this second time around, she was determined to meet it differently.
So how can we do this in our own lives? When the second pandemic wave hit, I went underground, just like I had for the first round. I felt trapped, like there was no way out.
It took an evening of floating in a mainly deserted swimming pool under the moonlight with my daughter Alix for me to start envisioning something new. Despite the pandemic and her fears, she was living her life – volunteering for her favorite causes, dining with friends outdoors, and pushing out of her comfort zone while still taking sensible precautions. Something in me shifted, a door opened.
Whether it’s our creative life, physical/mental health or anything else that comes around again — whether a week or 20 years later — we have a chance to do it differently. We are a new person, with new resources and thoughts. We can respond freshly in that moment. When a door appears to be slammed shut, we can question that. Is it really closed, or could there be another way? There is ALWAYS an opening somewhere. A way to act differently, think differently, dream differently.
So if you find yourself stuck in the same patterns thinking there’s no other option, think again. You are a new person — what does this person, in this moment, need and want? What is possible? And then take that step now…
I’d love to hear — please jot your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this page.
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Creative Bath Writing Circles Update
I have been thrilled with the overwhelming response to the new Creative Bath Writing Circles, which begin this Friday, September 10. While it filled up shortly after the announcement, the good news is that I plan to offer it again early next year. Contact me HERE if A) you want to get on the waiting list just in case something opens for this season’s Circles or B) you want early notice for the winter of 2022 writing circles. For details about this season’s circles, go HERE.
Spring Retreat in Taos: Greening the Creative Spirit
Mabel Dodge Luhan House
April 3 to 8, 2022
with Carolyn Scarborough and Sharon Zeugin
Unwind underneath the big skies and tap into your most alive, inspired and creative self at this retreat in Taos, New Mexico. It is an inspired place that calls the weary spirit to rest and revitalize. Amidst the mountains and vast skies, essential pieces of your creative soul return. And as you move deeper into presence, creative energies begin to percolate. You pick up a paintbrush and what is true begins to flow through it. You sit under a cottonwood tree and your pen beckons with inner stories waiting to be told. Soon, your natural creativity is flowing again as you rediscover yourself as artist, writer, free spirit, inspired human… For more details, go HERE.
Sheila Curran says
I loved this and I love you! xoxox Sheila
Love you too!
These are really perfect words of inspiration and advice. You are on time and target, as always. I am also working on finding an opening and also a safe nest to spend time writing away from my usual haunts. I will keep your words in mind as I search for the right place to roost and write this fall. Best wishes to you always!
Love the image of you “roosting and writing” this fall!
Janice Friesen says
This is SO helpful. I indeed went into the same place as last time and felt so frustrated. I DO need to think differently and figure out what IS different this time and figure out what “fresh response” means for me.
I’d be curious to hear what you come up with, Janice…
Jeanne Guy says
Oh, Carolyn. I very much needed this. You’ve opened a door for me with your good words of advice. May today be the day I make a shift away from exhaustion and open up to doing things differently. “There is ALWAYS an opening somewhere” and you’ve reminded me of that. Thanks, dear friend.
Mary Lou Mastorakos says
Your words were very inspiring and I must say held beliefs that I feel. COVID will be with us forever according to the scientists just like other illnesses such as forms of the flu or the common cold bug. We must live our lives as normal as we can while taking common sense precautions. I am quite elderly but life is sweet and I will live it to the fullest without fear. I hope others will do so also. Love you Carolyn
Yes, I know you prioritize safety AND living your life to the fullest – it is an inspiration to all of us!
Yes, Jeanne, I will see that door opening for you… and perhaps a few naps, too!