The other day I watched through my window as big puffy snowflakes gently floated down from the sky. As I saw them cover the landscape beyond I imagined the street, covered, full of slush and noticed my subtle responses towards the snow. I was instantly overcome with blahness and slight anger or frustration at feeling like I wanted to stay inside or that any desire to go outside was now taken away from me. Severed. In the same moment I recalled how I used to respond as a kid – with joy, excitement and wanting to be out in it. Passionately. The magic and fun of endless hours of play and creation waiting for me on a blank canvas – you couldn’t drag me inside or keep me from it.
So much so that once, when I was quite small, at the sight of the first snowflakes that I year I bundled myself up in my snowsuit, went and found my sled, and sat at the top of the green, grassy hill in our backyard. Patiently waiting for enough snow to accumulate so I could slide down.
What happened? Is it just that I no longer have snow pants or proper boots to keep me warm and dry? Or is it something more?
The gap between the two versions of myself opened a sad cavern in my heart to explore and I discovered that it is significantly more.
About a year ago I had a desire to draw again – another thing I used to do freely as a child. I was actually nervous as I went to the art supply store – uncertain of what to buy. I settled on pastels and a block of drawing paper. When I got home I unwrapped the packages and my hand trembled at picking up the pastel as I thought, “I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know what to do or what to draw”. How could something that used to seem so innate and fluid now incite such fear? It’s drawing for goodness sake. But that’s what was happening – fear and uncertainty turning to panic in the face of something I wasn’t even sure why but I wanted to do. It took every part of me to connect pastel to paper and the first few drawings were quite rigid. I would work up the courage to try again every so often and in time, it began to slowly flow and I no longer cared what the drawings looked like or if it was “right”. I no longer had to think of what it was I wanted to draw or how to do it, I simply had to trust that something would come and allow it to move through me. This would happen from time to time until one day after a long yoga practice the energy tipped off my mat and onto page after page after page – one creation after the other came tumbling out of me. And it felt wonderful.
Fits and starts of creative energy had started to emerge. I was still cautious, but trust and allowance began to take hold even more deeply.
The day after I thought about the snow I offered a restorative and yoga nidra workshop with the theme of desire. In the weeks leading up to the workshop I focused on my second chakra – the center of creation, sensuality, desire. Two main concepts kept coming to me from my exploration. One – that sensations are the building blocks for all other information – emotions, thoughts, beliefs and if we can notice sensations and be present with them then we have more ability to allow and work with everything else and two – that to cut off desire is to cut of a huge part of our consciousness. To cut off anything limits consciousness and in order to be healthy all consciousness must be open.
I was so excited as the building blocks of the workshop revealed themselves. Different threads appeared and culminated in an offering as if all on their own. I had been focused on offering something for others and afterwards, felt so grateful and in complete reverence to all who came and shared together – in awe at being able to be a part of it all.
The night of the workshop something unexpected happened. I had a very vivid dream that started with a deep contraction and then my water broke. It felt as though it was actually spilling out of me and across the floor. I woke up feeling calmer and more at peace than I have ever felt. Since it felt like a significant dream (for many reasons) I took a deeper look and as I continued to delve into it I realized that I had just that day “delivered” the workshop. I had been able to receive, trust and allow all those pieces of information to come and move through me and appear in a way that gave birth to a brand new creation. Not in a way that it was “mine” at all but in a way that I was lucky enough to be a channel for this creation to emerge and be in the world.
In the days that followed the dream caused me to look back and see how, over time, I did slowly but surely cut off the creative part of my consciousness. One part of it after another closed as I moved from being outside to in, from experiencing and exploring the world to reading about and studying experience in books, from writing creatively to being the support and operations to allow others to write, to stopping drawing all together. All leading up to the painful point in which I didn’t believe I could create anything at all. I was no longer “creative”. It was no longer allowed and that part of me was thought dead.
What does that mean? Is it just that a few drawings or stories won’t be in the world? That maybe there are fewer yoga classes? Not enough snow forts or snow angels? No. This feels more critical and fundamental than that.
If this center is closed off and remains closed off then how can I create anything? How can I allow the creation of healthy relationships, children, love, desire, passion? How can I create a life that looks like the one I desire? More than that how can I create the life that is the one I desire? The creative energy didn’t stop it just no longer had healthy places to go and I could no longer trust it in the same way because I no longer believed it existed. It had to move instead in ways that would line up with my belief of its death so I denied the existence of sensations and emotions that came up and my thoughts changed to come in line with this belief. Until eventually I took steps to actively deprive myself of creation.
It now feels as though to cut off the part of consciousness that relates to creation is to sever so much more. As I look around through this lens I can see that everything in this life is creation. And if creativity is blocked the creation of our lives becomes truncated. Distorted. Twisted and gnarled around the block. That distortion becomes reflected in everything around us as well as the mental and emotional landscape within us.
As I continue to allow this center to open, my life comes more and more into alignment. As I listen to, trust and allow the moments of creation in each day it is in those moments that I feel like my true self: a channel for creation to flow through. The more I can allow this freedom and opening of consciousness the more I can see that my life has been altering again to now allow healthy creation. Whether it’s bundling myself up to build a snow fort unlike one the world has ever seen, drawing whenever the mood strikes, listening to a yoga workshop or class and allowing it to come through, or to create hours of exploration out in the world (or inside my apartment) I intend to continue to nurture this piece of consciousness that has felt injured and worked around for so very long and trust in every part of creating this life.