On a warm and lazy Saturday, my friend and I head east into the Sonoma Valley to enjoy an exhibit by local artists. We leave behind sprawling suburban development that has slowly tamed this wild and picturesque vale. As comforting landmarks roll into view, my body lets down from the demands of the long workweek. Mountain ranges jut in the distance. We pass farm houses, neat rows of vineyards, and a few surviving walnut groves as the country road winds into the hamlet of Glen Ellen, a place I once called home.
This is Part 2 of a two-part series about the challenges inherent in creative beginnings. You can read “Beginnings, Part 1” here.
1. Trust your intuition.
Be receptive to your own rhythms and visions. There’s lots of free advice out there about most anything you’d like to begin. Saturate yourself with as much research as you can. Then adapt what works. Create an approach that honors your idiosyncratic style of accomplishing things.
Even though I have been writing for over twenty-five years, in some ways I feel like a beginner as I prepare to launch this website and blog. In opening myself to a wider world of possibilities, I feel the excitement, the hope, and the fear that accompanies all new beginnings.
I hope you will feel inspired, supported, and challenged by what you read, and alongside that hope hovers my fear that these musings will fail to capture your interest. Of course, I am not alone in this regard. Most creators fight searing feelings of inadequacy even as their passions drive them to risk reinventing themselves and their work again and again.
This is Part 2 in a two-part series about making and keeping New Year’s resolutions. You can read Part 1, “I Resolve Again, and Again” here.
- Be honest with yourself. What change do you seek and why is it necessary at this time? What character strengths and weaknesses will help or hurt your chances for success? If you have tried to make this change in the past, why didn’t it work before? What can you do differently this time?
- Look deeper. What is really driving your habits? Is there an old story that needs telling? Are you angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, lonely? Use a journal to record your feelings of loss and joy as you slowly let go of old habits and make way for the new.
Did you find yourself staring into the mirror on January 1st and once again proclaiming: “This year will be different!”?
The beginning of a new year is a popular time to wipe the slate clean and think about starting fresh. With fierce determination and sincerity of heart we assure ourselves that we really do mean it this time. We really mean to become healthier; more fiscally responsible; treat ourselves or our partners more kindly. Or, perhaps we vow to improve ourselves by starting therapy, taking a class, or going back to school to complete that degree.
But no matter how great our resolve, most of us unconsciously set ourselves up for failure because we expect our initial enthusiasm to carry us the entire length of the journey. By misunderstanding the true nature of change, we are not prepared to respond constructively when our old habits and tendencies rise up in protest to oppose the new order. Even when our desire to change is entirely self-generated, we must contend with our fears of the unknown as well as the sacrifices and discomforts inherent in giving up familiar ways of being.
Welcome to the first post in my all-new blog, Wild Ideas … musings for the mind, food for the soul. After taking a long break from writing a monthly column, Wild Ideas has been reborn as a blog AND a book.
If you’re a new reader, I invite you to search this site and make yourself at home. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. For those of you who have been long-time supporters, it will come as big news that my book Wild Ideas: Creativity from the Inside Out is now available for order on Amazon.