Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Finding Joy, Creativity & Sincerity

Another post prompted by a comment on another person's blog.

It's so cool that a bloggie friend (may I call you a friend?) has not only quit smoking but has continued to stick it out. It's even cooler that she has started tapping into what she calls "this life force that runs through everything" and "that force of love, that vein of energy, that runs through life and can be discovered if we are open to experience it." Then she starts talking about joy and creativity, and boy, I just fell in love with her all over again.

But it's awkward to talk about these deep spiritual feelings. We laugh it off, poke fun at ourselves. She called herself a raging hippie, referenced patchouli and mood-altering drugs (I mean the illegal ones).

And so I commented, "... *whew* it is hard to quit smoking and persevere, and it's hard to admit to universal feelings of interconnected spirit and overflowing love. No patchouli or ganja required. It is amazing, but why is it so hard to admit to that?"

Maybe such revelations of universal love seem too good to be true. Maybe we tend to think that all spiritual senses need to be categorized to be safe and understood: Hippie or Saved or Born-Again or Spirit of Life or God or Mystic or "wafting patchouli" or... whatever.

Maybe we just do not have a good vocabulary for experiences that do not fit into conventional denominational boxes. It's so easy to be mis-understood or to be waylaid by people wanting to put us in their own boxes, safe in a defined description. Or as one friend asked, "Are you saved now?" Uh, no. Often, spiritual experiences don't fit into prescribed boxes. So how to explain it?

Once I tried to explain my wild and amazing spiritual experience to my women's group. Everybody seemed a little uncomfortable. Maybe it's any whiff of proselytizing that puts people off. Maybe it's that anyone *else's* experience seems a little unreal, so unlike our own personal ones. Maybe I should just shut it and keep it to myself. I'm not the more enlightened one in the city, so who am I to preach/share, etc.

(For the record, I wasn't trying to preach, just share an experience that was unexpected and wonderful. But I was nervous as hell to open up that small door to my inner self. Ah well.)

So as I continued in my comment, "Rather than have to make excuses (or make fun of it) to my friends and family, I just don't talk much about my experiences. But wow, is it powerful regardless. I'm so glad that you are loving yourself more, and I hope the rest of us can be inspired to follow!" Concluding, *Quashing desire to make fun of my own sincerity.*

Oh, maybe that's it; we are afraid to be sincere in our searches and findings. We are afraid to be mocked or judged.

But still, that flow of "joy and creativity" calls to me. It doesn't always announce itself in lights and colors, but sometimes merely being reminded of it gives my heart a lift.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Martha Graham:

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you."

I think this feels like the creativity = life force that schmutzie referenced. And to be open to the flow, we need to loosen some of our long-held defenses. Scary, eh?

Which also reminds me of some writings by Charlotte Joko Beck about that "flow" of being is like a stream. Very roughly paraphrased, she writes that if we allow the stream to channel where it needs to go, all is good. If we try to hold onto the energy and keep it in one place, the stream gets stagnant and starts to collect leaf litter and gunk. (To read more, look for her books such as Nothing Special: Living Zen. Interesting and inspiring reading.)

I find it very interesting that just as this one blogger is trying to shift her habits (i.e. stop smoking), she is discovering the call to give her creativity greater expression or greater reign. She's seeing her old (bad) habit as keeping her stuck in a self-destructive, self-limiting place. She's flushing out old debris and discovering... love. Without putting labels on it, she's discovering that she wants to live with greater love and creativity. Greater joy, if you will.

I'll toast to that: Greater Love and Creativity and Joy.

I'll also add to that list: Sincerity, for lack of a better word. I'll say, "Yes! I feel it. It's what I want in my life." How does that song go?
Let the Love Flow. May it be so.

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