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Issue 38


In this issue ~~

* Action and Faith: Honoring Natural Rhythms

* Creative Tip

* Wise Words

* Bookshelf


Action and Faith: Honoring Natural Rhythms

One of the recurring dilemmas we face in our creative process is when to act and when not to. We've all had times where we've set an action in motion -- we've planted the seeds, so to speak -- and we need to wait to allow them to grow. But we become impatient and feel like we want to tug at the seedlings to make them grow faster. We're eager to see our creations blossom (and perhaps feel an urgency to generate income from them), and waiting is the hardest thing to do.

Writer/speaker Louise Hay has illustrated this using the analogy of going to a restaurant. Once you place your order, you wait. You don't follow the waiter into the kitchen to make sure the food is prepared and served. You trust that it will arrive when it's ready. But in life, we become impatient or panicky when we don't see results immediately, and we feel we need to continually do something to make it happen.

We've been taught that the way to accomplish things is to take action, and when our actions seem ineffectual, we feel out of control. We need to remember that life has natural rhythms and cycles: The sun rises and sets. The tides ebb and flow. The seasons come and go. And no matter how much we resist those cycles, they will go on. If we fight them, it is we who will suffer.

There are also rhythms and cycles in our lives. There are times when the smallest action brings results and other times when all the effort in the world yields nothing. Sometimes our ideas manifest results quickly, and other times they seem to take forever to unfold. And there's no logical explanation for either.

So what can you do when there's nothing you can do?

~ One powerful way to act without acting is to hold your vision. When your activity reaches a lull, there's a tendency to feel like it's no longer working, that it's lost momentum. By holding the intention for a successful project, you keep the momentum going and still honor the rhythm of the process. And it lets you feel like you're doing something!

~ The creative process itself has its own rhythms, and each of us has our own, which can vary from day to day. By becoming familiar with your creative pattern, you can work with it instead of against it. Today, in writing this article, my creativity comes in spurts. I write a few words, stop to file some papers, write a little more, head into the kitchen to wash dishes, jot down another idea, open the mail. But all the time, my mind is working on the article. On days like this, the ideas flow more readily when I'm doing busy work, and if I can honor that, I can be more productive than when I'm forcing myself to sit restlessly at the computer.

~ Sometimes, you just need to let go. One client of mine decided that writing was an important part of his life, but he kept bumping into closed doors. He put it down, and a year later, a door opened and he stepped into an opportunity to write a magazine column.

~ Put aside a project that's not moving and do something else. I find it useful to have several projects going at once. That way, if I'm stopped with one, I shift to another.

~ Learning to be receptive is another powerful skill. We all have both masculine and feminine energies within us, and we need to use both. The masculine is the active, "warrior" energy; it feels powerful. But the feminine energy is just as powerful in its own way; we need to receive the fruits of our actions to complete the cycle. Once you've done your work, have an active willingness and expectation for positive results to show up in their own right time.

~ Notice if you're throwing any obstacles in your way. Learn to distinguish, for example, between a need to let your ideas germinate as part of the creative process and an avoidance of taking action out of fear. Watch out for excuses and rationalizations.

~ Let yourself take breaks. Discipline is a good thing, but some days, the most productive thing you can do is blow off work and give your psyche a rest.

~ Learn to live with unresolved questions. When a new vision is emerging, it rarely comes out fully formed. and trying to force an answer can short-circuit the creative process. It may take months, years or even a lifetime for your questions to be answered. While uncertainty is uncomfortable, developing the capacity to live with your questions can lead to powerful results.

~ Begin to build a sense of faith that things will work out. Look back and notice how things worked out in the past despite your doubts and fears. Keep a journal detailing the progress of your projects and refer to it when you need encouragement.

~ Continue taking appropriate actions, knowing you may not get immediate results, but are planting seeds for the future.

In his book, Power vs. Force, Dr. David Hawkins says, "We think we live by forces we can control, but in fact we are governed by power from unrevealed sources, power over which we have no control." If we can learn to live in harmony with these forces instead of fighting them, riding the wave when it's going in our direction and surrendering when it's not, we can make the most of our efforts and reduce our level of frustration.

Ultimately, knowing when to act and when not to is a personal judgment call. The best advice I can give you is to tune into your own rhythms and develop strategies for dealing with the slow times as well as the active ones. To everything there is a season, and if we flow with that, our creations will unfold more elegantly with less struggle.


Creative Tip

When you begin a project, create an image of your vision in words or pictures. That way, if things get slow, you can renew your intention and your enthusiasm by revisiting your vision.


Wise Words

"There is a time to let things happen and a time to make things happen."

~ Hugh Prather, Notes on Love and Courage

"Not every one of our desires can be immediately gratified. We've got to learn to wait patiently for our dreams to come true, especially on the path we've chosen. But while we wait, we need to prepare symbolically a place for our hopes and dreams.... The delay of our dreams does not mean that they have been denied."

~ Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

"The creative person is willing to live with ambiguity. He doesn't need problems solved immediately and can afford to wait for the right idea."

~ Abe Tannenbaum

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them and the point is to live everything. Live the questions now."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke




(click on the book graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)

Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior . . . David R. Hawkins

12 Secrets for Manifesting Your Vision, Inspiration & Purpose: How to Make Your Dreams Come True . . . D. Richard Bellamy

Manifesting Your Heart's Desire . . . Fred Fengler, Todd Varnum

Your Heart's Desire: Instructions for Creating the Life You Really Want . . . Sonia Choquette

The Ultimate Secret to Getting Absolutely Everything You Want . . . Mike Hernacki

Manifest Your Destiny: The Nine Spiritual Principles for Getting Everything You Want . . . Wayne W. Dyer

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams . . . Deepak Chopra

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff -- and It's All Small Stuff . . . Richard Carlson



© 2001 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.

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