There's nothing quite like Independence Day to ignite the fire of possibility. Remember the first time you saw fireworks? Something magical opens. From the commitment of those who channel creative fire we are the benefactors of shared joy, awe, and inspiration. The question is, what "stops us short" of bringing forth spectacular beauty in our own lives more of the time?
Thomas Edison has said: "Our greatest weakness is in giving up." He should know. Undaunted by what seemed like failure, (the operant word being "seemed,") Edison is said to have started over 20,000 times before his light bulb lit up the world. Refusing to be defined by the negative appearance of things, he galvanized his courage and faith in into service of his vision, refusing to be thrown off course by other people's projected low opinion of them. He stayed true to his vision, which is at the crux of the creative process. He took the necessary time for manifestation of something brilliant. Anything but a quitter, Edison stayed focused. He didn't deny the dark. He just didn't get stuck there, trusting his own inspiration. You don't drive out the darkkness by ruminating on it. Instead, you symbolically "light a candle." Refusing to quit, he did what every creative great must do: turn away from mockery and naysayers, strengthening inner conversation. We need be grateful, for you and I are the better for it today. Look around. You will notice enless benefits of his harnassing the elemental in service to the All.
The Power of Creative Breakthrough.
Some years ago, the power of such stick-to-it-ness was brought home to me this time of year. When traveling through a very primitive place in Mazatlan, we took a very wrong turn. That "opps" took miles and hours to correct. As we made our way through barely inhabitable villages (to the western eye), where families lived in the most basic huts, on mud floors, without benefit of windows or doors, beneath leaf-thatched roofs, alongside no good roads, we witnessed a number of toddlers caring for babies in badly soiled garments. As the sun began to recede, we were all left in darkness, with the exception of our headlights. Even then, we went off path, smack into the bushes. Eventually, we came to an amazing juncture. There, in the thick of the midnight ink sky one solitary lightbulb hung suspended by a wire, from the ceiling of an adobe dwelling.
In that instant, the miracle of Edison hit home. Villagers gathered around the light bulb. Over the next hour as we approached the city, more and more signs of electrical evidence appeared: lights, Christmas strings suspended around village squares where mamas and papas, children and grandparents danced in the night, their laughter as loud as the guitars and rattles. They were wealthy. They had a light bulb. One hour or so later, we passed by huts, (now with doors and windows and wood floors) that boasted laptops, in the absence of furniture.
Light shows up in many forms. There is outer light and there is inner Light, reflected in those who don't know the meaning of giving up. Do you? Let me tell you about one such remarkable man by the name of Steve Gokey, who ran in this past Saturday's Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. According to Mason Kelly, (thank you, Mason), a fine Seattle Times reporter, we learned about a guy who's run 28 marathons, inspiring, to say the least. But wait, (as the late infomercials put it,) there's more. Gokey, who dawns from Modesto, California, has been blind since birth! You heard me. A "preemie," Steve lost his vision from too much oxygenation. Now, 59, he quipped you can "stay home and be blind or go out and do what you're going to do."
By all accounts, he's chosen the Edison route. His track record is more than stellar. Loving listening to baseball as a boy, this passion led him to the local minor ballpark's dugout, where he could overhear the conversation. At the time, he told his mother, Edna, who assured him early on that he could do whatever he wanted. By the time he was a college student, through the power of love for his dream, in a way that others "caught" his fire, he began 19 seasons in the Modesto A's dugout, says Kelly. Edna's belief in her son, planted seeds of belief in others. Recently, when Gokey showed up in Seattle to prepare for the race, a lottery was held with a record number of ticket holders. Each was hoping for the honor to run alongside him in training. Blindness turns out to be a relative term.
7 Tips to Fan the Creative Fire in You and Others:
1. Cultivate that unexplainable dream that dwells in the heart, even when lethargy sets in. Carl Jung, the great Swiss psychiatrist said: "Our greatest passion is our apathy." Overcome lethargy, and we are half way home.
2. Trust the power of persistence. This doesn't mean fast-tracking. Remember the fable "The Tortoise and the Hare?" Gokey and Edison are "hare" folks. Easy does it, steady as you go, wins the creative process.
3. Keep believing, even through tough times. Let's be honest. How long are you willing to give your dream "another go"? 20,000 times? 19 years? Why not begin anew? (Especially, if it doesn't make sense to others!)
4. Galvanize from the difficult fires. The phoenix rises from the ashes, not the meadow. Destruction of the old, the limited, precedes transformative expansion.
5. Affirm your spirit through the courageous conversation you have inside your own head. When you make a mess with your endeavor, know that this is the preliminary part of the process. No breakthrough happens without the unexpected. Leave room for the "uninvited guest" and watch what happens.
6. Trust the process of accompaniment. An enormous aspect of the creative process requires what appears to be failure, without taking it personally. Having a companion helps put this in perspective. It's also a heck of a lot more fun!
7. Know that the dry periods, where not an ember is in sight, is part of the process. There are times when psychic, creative energy needs to incubate, introvert, before a marriage can be made between the instinct and the inspiration. During these times, there must be a sort of regression where energy is focused on the inner world, where a new, more expansive attitude can come to life. Until then, there's no energy or life for the outer. There is a difference between depression and creative withdrawal. But, then, that's another story for another time!
Your turn: Where's the creative fire for you? What do you do during fallow periods? When you have either given up, or are "blank"? What helps you trust your process? What kind of accompaniment has been most meaningful for you? I'm listening, and learning from you, my teachers. I will be back 7/20 after I attend my own creative fire! Wishing you every blessing. Cara
For more, see carabarker.net. For updates, contact me at carabarker.net, or dr.carabarker@gmail. To receive email notices when I post new blogs on HuffPost, click "Become a Fan" at the top of this page. Stay tuned for upcoming developments with The Love Project, including "Practicing Love." Follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DrCaraBarker
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