My Creative Journey
“Nothing new is born unless something old dies.”
These words came to me a long time ago. They guide me in the ever present challenge of letting go. My creative journey sounds the reverberating death knell to my illusion of control.
Shortly after I was born my parents took me to the local convent, laid me on the altar, and consecrated me to God. I quickly learned to expect that I had everything under control – always for the benefit of others, of course! At the age of twenty nine my glorious pretense fell apart. I was a priest studying clinical psychology, preparing to do great things. Then I fell in love yet again! Suddenly everything was out of control! In therapy I realized how much of my own truth I'd been ignoring for so long. My control was deadly to me. I longed for new life.
Love gave me the courage to turn the world upside down. I resigned from the priesthood, and got married. Most of my relationships ended painfully. I managed to stay connected with only a few friends, and with family. The tragedy was profound. My past lay in ruins. I became adamant about never again paying such a cost in self-deception, just for the illusion of having everything under control. I was determined to learn how to live in the truth with myself.
Quickly it became clear that my body was crying out for help. I went through the medical mill, exploring the apparent necessity of several major surgeries. All those options seemed deadly to me. I discovered a more lifegiving choice. I began massage therapy. I needed to learn how to let go in my body! I had so much physical tension. It's how I was stopping myself from experiencing the energy in my feelings. I have spent the last thirty years becoming able to live in an embodied creative flow.
Near the beginning of the journey back into my body, I began writing. I wanted to learn how to let the words flow from the energy in my body, rather than in the analytical fashion I’d perfected on route to a doctorate in clinical psychology. I began writing a book about the body and energy, with no plan, just letting the words flow. Eventually this led to my wanting to write about feelings. Recognizing I had little to say, I began a disciplined observation and recording of my own experience and that of my clients.
I spent time reflecting on what I saw, looking for patterns. What emerged was the most exciting breakthrough of my life! I discovered a complex structure underlying and organizing my experience. This living web of meaning gave me a way to appreciate the relational and developmental significance of every feeling. It was nothing less than a comprehensive theory of psychospiritual development! I was enthralled!
I let the first book die as the new theory claimed me. The grandiosity of discovery would have become self-destructive, but for my determination to continue learning how to let the words come from my body. I could feel the integrity in this approach, and I knew it was a whole new set of skills for me to learn. I needed to become a creative writer.
Bravely I forged ahead, working my way through the first few chapters. At the same time, I began to offer a course on this material at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola. I experimented with a whole new way to learn: no required reading, no explication of my theory to be swallowed and regurgitated. Instead, I used the theory as a series of lenses through which they could look into their own stories. These students engaged so deeply with each other that I knew I needed to complete the book.
I reached a point where I had written about half the book. I had an agent trying to sell it. Nothing was happening. So, I stepped out of the writing the chapters to get a better view of the whole. In the midst of this, my writing style took such a creative leap that I had to follow it. Numerous years later I completed Natural Magic, a novel of visionary fiction. If I'd been at all rational about the need to sell the book, I'd never have written it. The same goes for another book of poetry!
Having completed these detours, I returned to my lifework. The time away was valuable. I'd lived and learned so much. I'd integrated so many of the truths that my mind had reached out to grasp. The time for the book to be written had finally arrived.
Seven years later, the book is finished: FEELING THE POWER: The Seven Challenges that Transform Your Life. Every time I get into the flow with the writing, I feel my life joyfully in sync with the universal spirit that continues to make all well. Whenever I get into that flow, I start to feel powerful, like I have everything under control. I don’t realize this, of course, until something doesn’t go my way. I’m always shocked with the recognition that I need to let go, again! I can’t tell you how many times I have put together an exquisite approach to agents or publishers! I believe I’ve finally accumulated the power to make someone notice what I have to offer. I have quite a collection of disillusioning responses.
I have died and been reborn so many times in the course of my creative journey. I have learned to flow with the creative power that inspiration brings, and to grieve the loss when my illusions shatter. Recently the dynamics of the transformative journey became an exciting inspiration to me. I created a workshop to support others on this path. I’m inviting those who live their life as a creative act to join me for MORE POWER TO YOU: Create the Life You Love.