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trust yourself

October 29, 2010

Last night I was reading a book about creativity [Changing Patterns by Daena Giardella and Wren Ross], that suggested you consider metaphors from nature dealing with change, to help you conceptualize issues where you may be stuck. The first thing I thought of was tornadoes; after that, I thought of caterpillars becoming butterflies; forest fires; and tidal waves. What do all these things have in common? They have enormous destructive power. In fact, they have the power to utterly transform you by obliterating your former life.

This morning I had a eureka moment when I realized that my former life had actually been obliterated, in a certain sense. This past year, piece by piece I relinquished parts of my identity that I thought were permanent. I had no plan, no strategy. I was operating by instinct in a metaphorical space with zero visibility in all directions. Not only was there no path, but I didn’t even know what sort of path I might want. The only thing I could do was to persist, and follow my curiosity.

The only way to get from There to Here turned out to be by entering the alchemical cauldron, being distilled down to my component parts, and then recombining those parts into an original configuration. A lot like caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

I feel capable of almost anything. And I am quite certain that some of my past problems stemmed from setting my expectations too low. So I need to aim high (despite my fears), and learn how to enjoy success.

I’m quite good at improvising, and navigating uncertainty and ambiguity. Structure, limits, and discipline make me nervous, but I think it’s time for me to explore, then master them.

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