The challenge most women face, if they are creative, is that they are never alone or uninterrupted, with all the space and time they need to nurture their inner world. Without an office to get away to, or a room of their own, as Virginia Woolf put it, their imaginations are simmering on standby or put on hold, inaccessible until the precious solitude is found, or appear only in short intense bursts that quickly fade at the sound of a crying child, a teen yelling “Mom, I have no clean underwear”, or the constant demands of daily work, or elderly care.
We are the nurturers, but we also need to nurture our creative spirit or we wither and die, at least those of us who seek creative expression – whether through words, dance, music, art or painting. We need to brood and breed our art in silence and Solitude, for the most Part. (I know some writers who work in busy cafes, and that is their form of solitude in the middle of the city). I know I need this, and feel myself getting cranky without knowing why sometimes, until I realize I haven't had enough alone time to write and think in.
Where is your private sanctuary or quiet place to create? Can you recall a special moment of solitude, either in the Redwoods, on a lake at a cottage, in your music practice space, or on retreat – even in your garden shed? That place where creative flow happens, where you get in touch with your life's peak experiences and let them have voice, where you lose track of time, experience the bliss of the timeless.
In reading Write from The Heart, by Hal Zina Bennett, I found the following exercise for creating an imaginary space, an inner sanctuary: if you don’t have one already,you can imagine one now. Use all the sensory clues you can: the colours, smells, touch (textures), temperature, sounds, and mood of this space. Fully imagine yourself in the scene and write the description. Then find someone to read it to out loud to, so you can hear your own voice and gage the response from your reader. Bennett says it’s important and completes the writing to read it out loud.
Today, in front of my desk is a quiet foggy lake. I woke up this morning to a completely grey landscape, fogged in. Only the warble of red winged blackbirds and early bird robins gave a sign of living beings. Now the fog has drifted off, sky still grey. Swallows perched on a tree near the water, oversee the grackles pecking the grass looking for seeds. One black crow soars from the oak tree to the yard with a worm in its mouth.
I spent some time writing this morning in my journal, pecking at thoughts and memories like those birds, looking for seeds or worms. May you give yourself permission to create a space for solitude and get back in touch with your favourite mode of creative expression. You deserve it.