28. Sep, 2017

Roots and Wings

They say that we need both roots and wings in order to live well and accomplish our goals and life purpose. Many have speculated about the roots, especially in the creative process.

Imagination is mysterious, for it has its roots in the Unconscious, both individual and collective. Yet, if we are to influence the creative process consciously, I think commitment is one of our strongest roots. Showing up day after day to practise our creative gifts, whatever they may be, is powerful.

Many of us don't think of ourselves as particularly creative or talented and shy away from practising, even if the longing inside remains or intensifies, because our hyper-specialised culture only values "great artists."

I beg to differ from this view. Creativity belongs to all of us, much like air, and it is up to us to retrieve and cultivate it all life long, if it has been crashed in the course of our experiences in the world.

Some days ago, I came across a poem by Rumi, the great Sufi mystic. His description of the human wings struck me with the depth of truth.

According to Rumi, trust is one of our wings, the one that enables us to take off in the first place for, if we don't believe that we are strong enough, we cannot even start to fly. The other wing is daring, and it enables us to soar. If we don't test the winds and the currents and try out new acrobatics, we can't soar, let alone stay our course, or steer it.

Personally, I make a point of showing up daily in front of a blank page or sheet and just follow my hand wherever it leads me, whether it wants to write, draw or paint.

I sit in stillness, light a small candle, breathe in and out consciously for a few moments, so that my mind settles down and I abide in peace. Listening to classical or instrumental music helps me to shift my state of mind, so that I am in a light trance, no longer in editing, or critical, mode.

At other times, I listen intently to the silence and its distant sounds. This way, I feel closer to my roots, to what anchors me to the ground of my existence. I commit. I trust. I follow. And usually, what wants to reveal itself to me comes.