In early 2016, I set off on a journey to write and perform a one-woman show with the help of a story coach/director. Physically the journey took me from Vancouver Island to Santa Fe New Mexico and back again. Internally it took me to the next version of who I am becoming.
It was during a Martha Beck Life Coach Training class where I spoke my devastating truth: my script didn’t reflect the show that I KNEW wanted to be told.
“I want it to be the show that I feel is trying to be written if I could only get out of the way. I’ll know it when I feel it, and this isn’t it,” I finally reconciled after weeks of anguish over what it would mean to not stage my show. After that class, I felt exhausted and rested for 20 minutes or so before going out to a movie.
With my eyes closed and in that land between sleep and wake, I saw myself holding this large glass bulb, the size of a big beach ball. The glass was the translucent colors of the sea.
The glass bulb represented the “container” for my show (the life-changing 2 week silent retreat in France with the beloved Zen and writing teacher, Natalie Goldberg, I attended in my 50th year in 2014. LINK TO HOW I GOT HERE POST.)
In my waking dream, I stood confidently, barefoot and firmly grounded to the earth. I gently pulled my hands apart and let the bulb smash to the floor. Another came toward me, I reached for it and smashed it to the ground, with my left hand, then my right. Again and again, I smashed the container. When I stopped, I felt free. I felt joyful.
A 3-part show flashed before me like a movie.
I jumped up but before I could write it in a journal, I lost the entire vision. I couldn’t recall any of it.
But the feeling remained. And my instructions were clear:
- Break the container,
- Write from various perspectives,
- Begin again.
It didn’t take me long to make my decision.
I had a meltdown in the shower the next day. In between sobs I wrote with my fingertip on the steamed up shower wall, “Art isn’t here to please us. It’s here simply to be expressed.”
Uncovering our own inner truth is a tough process, definitely not linear, nor a continual gain. And much of the time we simply don’t want to deal with all that meeting our truth implies for us. In my case, lost investment of money, time, travel. A failure to launch. Uncertainty over the future of my “BIG creative project.” But my inner directive came through and I followed it.
My failure in May 2016 of not launching my one-woman show was a BIG creative detour. It led me to the Write into Light program with Martha Beck and Elizabeth Gilbert and has given me new inspiration to take my writing and my show deeper. Oh, I’m re-writing the script. How and when I deliver it remains to be seen.
Our lives are filled with messy detours to outright complete toss-aways. But we keep on circling back. We keep on beginning again.
Each and every new moment is a chance to follow our intuitive voice, or to toss ourselves away and succumb to the societal pressures of the “social” self, what looks ‘right’ on the outside. Living an authentic life is an inside job.
Slowing-down, solitude, and stillness are the three-piece harmony. At their sweet intersection we discover spirit within.
Are you in integrity with your expression? Are you creating what is wanting to be created from within or are you succumbing to societal pressures and imposed deadlines? Drop deeper, below the mind’s thoughts about what you “should” do. Listen for a more elemental truth, or message. It may come in a feeling, an image, a word. Be open to what emerges as guidance.
I’d love to hear about your experience with this exercise, post in the comments below. Know someone who would enjoy this story and exercise? Please share!