The Heroic Fall
The week rolled out like this: I was on a high from the amazing nature of all creative things happening in m'world. Light was bright. Ideas were popping. I had traded out the air in my lungs for full body, whole-hearted excitement. And then, like all good heroic falls, I had an awkward, enthusiastic hiccup. The excitement burst, the body got tired, the thoughts got moody. Meditate? Screw it. I'd rather wallow. Fight. Dig my heels in, put up my nose and let out an existential "harrumph." Cut to the next day, waking up early, busting at the seams ready to take control of my schedule, my creative process and my deeper spiritual identity. Life, ahhhh life, was good again.
Wha wha what?! (That's the reasonable thing to ask.)
As creatives, we talk about the high and low seasons -- the "when it rains it pours" conundrum and the years of drought. However, if we are honest, this internal climate change happens on a micro level. The seasons show up brand new from one day to the next. It can feel like a wild trip. One we'd like to get off every once in awhile to ride that 9-to-5 gig where we clock in, clock out and leave it at the door.
It Should Be Easier! Right?
I was bemoaning my creative nausea and wistfulness for an easier reality to Craig and he said, "You're right, Court. Shit could hit the fan. So would you rather work at Wal-Mart or Google and have a steady 9-to-5 so you could have that certainty?" I think he was sincerely asking, but it felt rhetorical. Of course I didn't. I love the mystery of the creative entrepreneur; it's baked into my blood.
I have lived long enough and worked creatively enough to start noticing patterns. So I started thinking about these ups and downs and how they come pretty frequently, and I realized they come up because they must. They aren't symptoms of creative angst, they are implicit to our work. We rock and we roll and we stumble through these emotions because we have to. Our careers, our creative lives, are founded on the idea that we can wade through these emotions when others choose not to wade. We experience these tragic falls and heroic ascents to put the emotional descriptions into our art, creativity, businesses and genius ideas. We case study ourselves, share with others and help everyone to know our human race more deeply. That's the job of the creative.
Don't Go Crazy, Now
This is not to say we should all be running around with our anxieties choking us or our wild sense of fantasy running the show. I mean, we gotta control the beast. We need balance and lightness and many, many deep breaths. What I am suggesting is that when we fall to one side of the emotional spectrum (whether it's despondency or superhero syndrome), we take a look around, see what we can learn and then, having a better understanding of our very nature, prepare for the wave to pass.
We need the exuberance as much as we need the difficulties. We need problems, after all, in order to be problem-solvers. Both sides of that coin push us out of our comfort zone to become better leaders and makers. Feeling it all forces us to create balance instead of just hoping it comes. And passing on the experience of life to others, as we are improving it? Now that is the true gift of the creative spirit.