Up until now, I’ve thought of my self-awareness and personal growth as an issue requiring gravity; growing myself is a serious business requiring somber reflection, a cup of tea and the music of Hildegard von Bingen in the background. From this perspective, my deep breaths are a solemn business, and they call up an energy of intensity and concentration. Instead of curious exploration, introspection becomes somber and vigilant. This is the me I need on a expedition up Mt. Everest: watching for signs of danger – like a quick turn of the weather – with heightened awareness and hyper-focus. When I experience myself from this place, I am not able to let go of rigidity. And along w/ rigidity sneaks in judgment.
At a recent CTI weekend training, the theme of lightness and playfulness kept coming up for me. Through the coaching exercises, I realized that lightness and creativity have been in short supply in my life. When was the last time I took out some art supplies? Or wrote a poem? I was a dancer and performing arts minor in college; I led after-school arts programming for youth and performed in an improv troupe in my twenties. I dabbled in dance and drama therapy when I began my work as a counselor. How did I let that well run dry? Or maybe the question is: how did I manage to forget where that well lived in me?
The good news is those inner wells don’t run dry. Creativity is a natural spring in each of us, and once we allow ourselves the space to find our way to the spring, the waters of creativity will be there. I can look into those deep, cool waters and see an image of myself. An imprecise image of myself, rippling in it’s fluidity.
Since that training, I have been making time for coloring. I sit down with my son's markers and a blank piece of paper and no agenda. I have fun with color and shape and don't worry about a finished product. It’s a process that creates more space in my mind and body. I feel more free. Freer to laugh, freer to open myself to others, freer to be enough as I am.