I feel a bit like a hermit. I have closed the doors, sealed the windows, and hung an “out to lunch” sign, which is likely to remain until early January.
I’m not trying to be difficult. I’m simply honoring the creative season I’m in – winter. Others are in spring, summer or fall — right here in Austin, Texas. It’s not about the literal season, but the inner season.
From observing my own creative cycles as well as those of my clients, I have come to trust the gifts and challenges of each inner season. I know the signs that they are coming… and going. And rather than fight them, which is about as effective as trying to will it to snow in July, I go with their flow. I don’t always understand them, but I have learned that resisting or rushing them is a mistake.
For instance, in “winter,” I’m more likely to get quiet and spend time alone than launch a new program. Sometimes we come upon this creative cycle when we have been too outward or have run out of steam and ideas. Other times, we may be thrust into winter through illness or grieving. Regardless, it’s time to slow down and take beautiful care of ourselves. We may stop outwardly creating for a while as the work is more inner-directed. Perhaps we prefer journaling, or writing poetry that takes us deep into our bones. Or doing nothing. We are pruning our inner world, discarding what’s not needed and tending the soil for spring ideas to bloom…
During our creative “spring,” we feel bouncier and new ideas are percolating. Energy surges. The horizon opens and the vast universe beckons. Should I start this book? Maybe a blog is better? Ohhhh, I haven’t sung in ages, maybe that’s the way to go?! We might even dream of things that previously seemed impossible — taking a month in Paris to study art, or publishing our essays for the world to see. While all those options can feel invigorating, anxiety about making the right choices may arise. And once we’ve opened the gates to actually dream, fear of failure also arises.
Eventually, we decide and “summer” is underway, a period of busyness and productivity. Our creative work doesn’t guiltily lurk in the shadows, but it calls to us. Regularly. If we said yes to too many things in the “spring,” then we may even feel a bit overwhelmed with all there is to do. But overall we are writing our books, launching our businesses, painting our works of art.
In “autumn,” we may feel ourselves slowing down. The falling leaves hint that change is around the corner. We may feel trepidation or excitement or both. Sometimes we resist fall and want to continue summer productivity indefinitely – a very American state of mind. But never hitting the “off” button would lead to tedium and exhaustion of a whole different flavor. That’s when burnout arises.
Overall, the best creative path forward is trusting these cycles, whether they last an hour or a year. When we push too hard to create in a winter that is more about resting and listening, everything we do can feel hard, like pushing a boulder uphill. When we don’t let ourselves create in a “summer” that is about expression, we feel frustrated and blocked.
Women join my writing or creativity circles in various seasons. Given time, they experience all of the shifts and begin to flow with them. One woman initially had a hard time drumming up the energy to finish her book. She eventually moved into summer and had a “year of yes” where she attended writing retreats, traveled internationally, and not only started wrapping up the first book but joyfully began her second one.
Another retired recently and moved into the recuperation of winter. It’s not time for her to get busy yet. She is resting, refilling her creative well with artist dates, and listening to what matters most to her. When embraced, each season has its own exquisite beauty and rightness.
I wish for all of us a deep honoring of where we are in our creative cycles. Let us have appreciation for the gifts of our inner seasons… and grace for the challenges. I know as I sip chamomile tea in my cocoon of winter creative solitude, I will look forward to the stirring of spring ahead. Meantime, there’s a lovely book of poetry calling my name…
Click here and then share your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the blog – I am wondering what season YOU are in?
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Creative Soul Seasonal Women’s Circle
January to April 2020
Our new season of creative circles begins this January (Look HERE for information). While I am deeply appreciative that they have filled, I am sorry that they did so before I got to announce them. The majority of women from last season returned, and the few spots that opened were quickly filled by the women on the waiting list.
So, if you are interested in our Circles moving forward, I want you to be there! (I hate leaving anyone out.) To hear about upcoming Creative Circles first, sign up HERE for the waitlist.
(And if you want to be notified when spots open in my writing circles, sign up for the waitlist HERE.)
Writing your Personal and Creative Vows
Seton Cove in Austin, Texas
January 22, 2020 from 12 – 1:30 p.m.
Do you find days going by where you feel disconnected from what matters most? Where you fear you are not living from your deepest values or purpose? In this workshop, you will write your own personal vows – a set of clear instructions from your soul on what’s most important on a daily basis. You’ll also have the opportunity to write Creative Vows – love notes to keep your creative muse front and center. Call 512-451-0272 to register.
Spring Retreat in Taos: Greening the Creative Spirit
Mabel Dodge Luhan House
April 5 to 10, 2020
with Carolyn Scarborough and Sharon Zeugin
Unwind underneath the big skies and tap into your most alive, inspired and creative self at this special retreat in New Mexico. We will stay in the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, a rambling hacienda nestled between an Indian pueblo and the artsy village of Taos. Whether you are interested in art, writing, or inspiration in general, we invite you to join us. Nothing is needed but a desire to tap into your creative soul. Although the Spring Retreat is now full, to get on the waitlist go HERE. For more details, go HERE.