Thursday, December 16, 2010
This is the rock that I picked out of a box at the end of a writer’s retreat recently. The small purple grey rock had a message for me, “Fill up.”
It’s a nice, positive, abundant message, right?
Then, why did I want to drop the rock and run?
All of a sudden, I felt overwhelmed. Pressured. The last thing I wanted or needed was a message to ‘fill up’ my already overflowing life. I know that sounds bad. Doesn’t everyone want a life overflowing?
That depends on what it’s overflowing with…abundance, love, health and creativity or job loss, fear, and no health insurance? For the past several years, it’s been a constant race to fill up my life with as much business as I could, as fast as I could, so I could help fill up the cupboards at home with as much security as I could. My creativity was pushed to the limits to produce, to sell, to show, to do, do, do and do some more.
The power of the universe is an awesome and wonderful force that never ceases to amaze me. Because just when the flood of busy-ness was about to drown me, life changed for the better and the pressure was off.
So the last thing I wanted that day at the retreat was to get a message to 'fill up' when what I really wanted was to let go, empty my bucket and lighten my load.
I looked around me another interpretation of that message. One woman felt it meant that I could fill up with more, that I was capable of handling a multitude of things. I nodded. I know I can multi-task with the best of them. But I’ve always seen life as one step at a time, one project at a time, one type of creative work at a time and that doing too many things at once was a recipe for disaster. And I didn’t have flood insurance.
After years of having people all around me, all day eating, sleeping, playing video games, watching TV, on the internet; I was alone. Alone to create, write, sing out loud or lay down on the floor with no one to see or stop me. So what did I do? My first reaction to the new was to do more of the old. I got busy. I cleaned and organized. I threw out the old and worn out. I made lists, shopped and restocked.
Then at the retreat and I reached into the box for a rock and got a message I didn’t want. But just like the Rolling Stones lyrics, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need."
I did. After the retreat, I retreated. In my studio, my writing room, my creative cave, I sat day after day in silence.
Solitude. Silence. Empty space. This is what I needed to ‘fill up’ on. I needed to be alone and meet myself again. I needed silence to hear my own thoughts and feelings. I needed to fill up with empty space in which to explore, rediscover and create room in my own heart for more love, new ideas and creations.
At times, I felt lost in the space. Adrift in the sea of unstructured time and my fear wanted to organize it, push it and produce. I've fought against my fear to fill up with busy-ness and instead listened to my soul ask me to fill up, instead, with openness and silence and solitude.
This holiday season, I want to 'fill up' in new ways. I want to enjoy the season and welcome the abundance that's part of the celebration. But I want to remember to 'fill up' with heart, laughter and creativity and openness, to leave room to let the silence of the season 'fill up' my soul, too.