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Music in these shaking bones

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

This morning, I read an essay by by Dr. Lauren Artress. She writes about a sacred & creative life force that calls, at some point, to each of us. Some of her words reached me deeply and led me to reflect on my own life path and the current reality we find ourselves within:


Once we realize that something is trying to find its birth through the finitude of our lives we get frightened, sometimes even to the point of becoming ill. What is stopping you from awakening? What fears do you have to confront in order to claim your birthright to living a creative life?


Reading this, I immediately remembered the period of my life when I first consciously felt the birthing energy she is describing. I was in my late twenties and for the first time in my life I was utterly without direction or distraction. My PhD was finished. I could not disappear into the hidden caves of intellectualism as I had done for most of my twenties. I was living away from family and I was single for the for the first time—there were no relationship dramas to occupy my attention. There was just me and the birthing energy Artress describes and just as she describes, it terrified me!


And yet, in that terror that truly did shake my bones, I began to find the most intoxicating relationship I had ever known—honest intimacy with myself. As I learned to surrender to the rhythms of the inner call waking me up to a deeper reality than I had known, I met a vibrancy of colour and vision, sound and feeling that is matched only by realities such as the layers of sky blues reflected in the shimmers of the lake I stare out at every morning, a gentle mist floating in and out of view. Such intimacy is sacred and the creative pulse that can frighten us so as we first awaken to it, if and when we are willing to surrender to its call, carries us forward into the mystery of beauty that, when we soften our want to understand and simply accept what is here, is actually not that mysterious, after all. When we feel our innate participation and belonging to all that is, mystery can be replaced by a deep, implicit knowing that defies thought and even language. At least this has been my experience.


And yet as Artress says, these experiences & journeys can make us fearful and that fear can play out in many different struggles, personally and collectively. However, I do not think it is the creative life force that brings this onset of fear. I believe that fear takes us, because we know that the path opened by surrendering to the call of the truly creative life means walking away from many paradigms of western society, rigid paradigms that are responsible for quieting and numbing our ability to feel and respond intuitively to the creative pull. I was raised like many, to believe in a one-dimensional and linear trajectory to life, success & validation. It’s the story in every popular movie and tv show whether we’re watching vampires, zombies or Victorian royalty. It does seem, in these turbulent and pandemic days, that the foundations of this one-dimensional story are beginning to crumble. How will we respond to the pieces asking to be creatively and intuitively taken up?


It is scary, to accept that true presence & creativity are not attached to an outcome, to reward or to external validation. These facets of life are about relationship & trust and they do not speak the language of conventional stability or permanence. Such is also the nature of honest relationship with ourselves. We see and meet the various parts of ourselves that society and life experience tells us to pretend do not exist. Yet as we accept them and stop pretending, a beauty of life emerges that is multi-dimensional and non-linear. In its instability lives a different type of stability. To meet this new stability, we may just need to remember how to dance with such an inherently creative rhythm of life. It has been my experience, that we are so capable of remembering and that the rattle of fear in our bones, even if it never goes away, becomes a type of music to accompany the dance.


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