By Geordie Bull
As an off-the-charts introvert, lockdown is both a relief and a challenge for me. It’s a mixed bag of beautiful, spacious time with my family and restricted hours for work and contemplation. This time round, rather than striving to maintain productivity during lockdown, I’m choosing to surrender to the forced pause. I’m surrendering to staying at home, being around my family all the time, achieving little, not being productive or successful. I choose to surrender because it feels better than fighting and struggling and striving through a season that calls for a keen focus on the ordinary beauties and challenges of everyday life.
But there’s one thing I can’t surrender: my creative fire. I’ve learned this the hard way by focusing all my attention on my family and neglecting the persistent pull to read a certain thing, carve space to write or sit down and draw with the kids. For this, I’m left with a flat, depressive feeling of powerlessness and resentment that I know all too well. It’s my body alerting me that my creative fire is almost out and must be rekindled.
This is my lockdown project – to keep the creative fire burning. Here’s how I’m using tiny increments of alone time to stoke the flames…
As a huge devourer of personal development literature, I often skip poetry because it promises no fast rewards. Poems rarely offer 10 steps to boosting confidence or top tips for online success. Instead, they gently gift the reader with timeless, life-affirming wisdom that lands softly, tinged in mystery.
Poetry can be read on the toilet and administered as fast soul medicine during precious minutes alone. Many of my favourite poems are centred on celebrating the ordinary beauty of the world around us – Mary Oliver’s wild geese, Robert Frost’s snowy forest. I’m particularly loving the poems of Tess Guinery for their ability to wake me up to all the beauty contained within my family, my home and the wild places that surround us:
“Speak all kinds of beautiful &
watch your world change –
words are powerful enough
to shape worlds.”
There is rarely encouragement to improve one’s self or one’s life, only a deep love for what is. It’s refreshing, and inspires me to look in all the nooks and crannies of my own life for beauty and inspiration.
Studying Women Who Run with the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
This book has been my bible for years and never has it been more useful than right now. Published in the 1970s and penned by Jungian analyst and Cantadora (keeper of stories) Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With The Wolves is filled with creative inspiration and ancient wisdom surrounding the wild nature of women and the medicine of creativity.
It is fierce, mysterious and wild and is one of the few books where every word feels drenched with truth and meaning.
I’ve been copying down passages from this book daily to remind myself that life, however it is showing up right now, is my creative canvas and that my powers are available to me in all circumstances.
Here are three of my favourite quotes from the book:
“There is very little right/wrong or good/bad in this world. There is only useful and not useful.”
“One must arrange that one’s creative life has a consistent fire under it…without the fire, our great ideas, our original thoughts, our yearnings and longings remain uncooked, and everyone is unfulfilled.”
“To be strong does not mean to sprout muscles and flex. It means meeting one’s own numinosity without fleeing, actively living with the wild nature in one’s own way.”