Creative ebb and flow

Something I’ve been ponderering a lot recently is the ebb and flow of my creative energy.

As you can probably guess, this means I’m in an ‘ebb’ phase: I do more pondering when I’m not busy flowing…

There’s several aspects of my ebb I am pondering:

  • why I am ‘ebbing’?
  • how do I flow again?
  • how do I cope in the meanwhile?
  • is the ebb a necessary part of the flow?

The ‘why’ of the ebb is in itself a complex matter with multiple reasons:

  • I had a fabulous time at my first MEDANZ festival in April, but may have a touch of ‘post-festival-itis’ (it is a testimony to the fabulousness of the festival that it took nearly two months for this to start 🙂  My thanks to all the wonderful teachers and dancers there)
  • The season here is late autumn: greyer days, cooling temperatures, earlier nightfall and the urge to prepare for hibernation
  • My non-dance work is fairly routine at the moment
  • I’m not teaching a night class this term, so don’t have that weekly source of inspiration

As to how I flow again, I’m sure the answer is at least as multi-faceted:

  • first up, rest: allow myself the chance to wind down and ponder. Then,
  • re-inspire: search out the music and dancers and whatever that inspires me and gets me moving, which will require
  • discipline: to practice when I don’t feel like starting, to seek out inspiration when I don’t feel like starting, to get out of bed and get moving when I don’t feel like starting (you get the picture)

Meanwhile, I continue to move and dance, just not in a formal-disciplined-practice way. I still play music. I still find myself grooving to the beats on the stereo or in my head.  The dance is still alive within me; which is a huge comfort.

Meanwhile, I engage with other activities that feed, restore and comfort my soul.  These are at the ‘pottering ‘ level, rather than the ‘go-get-em’ level – the ‘comfort food’ of my activities.  So, I am knitting a simple shawl for a friend, crocheting simple blankets for my sons, tending my garden…

Meanwhile, I am exploring concepts of ‘chi’ and ‘feng shui’ to see if and how I can improve the energy flows in my life; which mainly seems to involve de-cluttering my house and life (an ongoing process you are welcome to read more about on my other blog), and ensuring a healthy balance in diet, exercise and sleep.

And I am coming to the conclusion that the ebb IS a necessary part of the flow:

  • flowing with bright, strong creativity is a precious thing, but not something I can sustain all the time without burning myself out
  • taking time to ponder and rest is a precious thing, but not something I can sustain all the time without turning myself too far in

After all, the tide must go out before it can flow in again…

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To ponder

There is a form of creativity that reaches for the stars and is sunny and bright,

but there is another kind, just as fruitful, that is dark and deep,

more hidden than visible,

motivated sometimes by anger and envy.

This deep source of the creative spirit is difficult to express in our world

because we have difficulty appreciating the positive qualities of the dark emotions.

But they give a person depth,

strength of character,

and an earthy honesty

and counter any tendency towards the sentimental and naive.

from Thomas Moore’s A Life at Work (2008, p91)

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