Creative Listening

Lately I've been feeling a bit stuck. OK, I admit it. Actually I'm feeling really, really, really stuck. I feel uncertain as to how to move forward in life in general, and specifically in my creative life. What to do? Where to go?

I think that my tendency in this situation is to grit my teeth and forge ahead; either retreating into familiar habits and patterns, or else recklessly charging full speed ahead into something new. Let’s take a look at these responses.

The first is my personal go-to, the knee jerk reaction. Just do what I know. I do it again and again even if the freshness and vitality of certain behaviors or actions grew stale a long time ago. This can be true when it comes to our creative lives too. While it can be healthy on occasion to simply keep on keeping on, there is also a time for reevaluation in order to refocus or reset our creative vision to allow fresh air and new life to flow into our artistic ventures.

The second and opposite reaction, often done in my anger or exasperation, is to throw up my hands and plow headlong into a new venture with a vengeance. While a new path may be a good idea at times, one embarked upon without some reflection about how we've come thus far can be disorienting. It is always a good idea to examine our motives and to count the cost of a change of creative direction or focus. Only then will we be prepared for the rigors of the new adventure that lies before us!

In the midst of these times of discouragement and same old, same old that we find ourselves stuck in, is there a third way? Since I am speaking from my current position of being right the middle of the fray, I am asking this of myself. As I ponder, I am considering that perhaps a time of listening is in order. Yes, you heard me. And no, I am not a good listener either. In times of stress and duress, I tend toward the too-much-talking, shut-up-I'm-talking ranting and raving. 

But I'm running out of steam. Exhausted and discouraged, I am opting for a season of quiet. Spring seems like a perfect time to rest, to be still. If I listen very hard, I start to hear the tiny sounds of life all around me ... birds chirping, raindrops falling, trees swaying in the breeze. In the rustle of life I may sense a new vein of gold stirring within me as well, like some small creative shoot waiting to break through the soil and grow, and in due time to be shared with the world!

And after a period of listening, I will be ready! Will you? How do you respond to being stuck?

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