Thursday, January 21, 2021

Raising the White Flag

"Surrender" by Jess

Hello friends.
I wasn't expecting to post this week, but it's been quite a momentous one, hasn't it? 
When my daughter was home for the holidays, she asked if I had chosen a One Little Word for this year. Until she mentioned it, I hadn't given any thought at all to a guiding word for 2021. I've hardly been in that frame of mind. As it was, I completely lost track of my 2020 word until Mary Lee Hahn indirectly reminded me of it with this post around the same time. Funny how that happens. I think my muse, or as Julia Cameron calls it, my inner child, might have something to do with that little coincidence.
“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” 
          – Julia Cameron
Even though I haven't been writing lately, I have been trying to get back in touch with that inner child (the one that loves creative play and happy accidents) in other ways. For me, the most difficult phase of embarking on a new project are the weeks when I'm walking around in creative limbo. When the ideas have not yet formed in a concrete way and I'm flailing around for something I'm not at all sure is even there. It's uncomfortable at best, this amorphous cloud of confusion. 
"Confusion" by Erik

You'd think that if I'm familiar enough to recognize and talk about it, I should be able to trust that it's just part of my creative process, and yet, time and time again, I cower under the dread that I may never again be able to connect with my muse.

Over the last several months I have discovered that life can be confounding in a similar way. Last year I came to a crossroads, and while I'm okay with the direction my life is taking, I am confused by the "new normal." I feel stuck creatively, overwhelmed by my to-do list, and anxious about the not-knowing. Is this, in fact, my new destination or am I still in transition—on my way to some place I've never been before? 
Yes, I'm a bit of a control freak. There's no doubt about that. I'm also impatient—especially with myself. But I'm also resilient. I'm determined and I'm a problem-solver. So what if, instead of seeing the future as something to be fearful of, I looked to it with anticipation. Amanda Gorman in her inaugural poem spoke of a nation—our nation—"that isn't broken, but simply unfinished." I take that to heart in my own life as well. My creative process is not broken—I am not broken—I am evolving.
Always say "yes" to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to something that already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say "yes" to life—and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.
                                – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
What if I surrender to the changes in my life and simply trust the process?


From the Tao Te Ching (chapter 13):
     Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things.
     Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.
                       – Lao Tzu
Surrender is my One Little Word for 2021. Not in the sense of giving up, giving in, or losing hope, but in the sense of yielding to the flow of the universe and heeding the whisperings of my inner child. She's never let me down before. 
"Sweet Surrender" by Sarah McLachlan

Wishing you a perfect word to guide you through the next year of your life's journey.

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is hosted by author Laura Shovan.