When your body feels like landfill
A few weeks ago, I decided to do a brave thing and go and check my letterbox, which is approximately 15 steps away from my front door. I ended up vomiting on my lavender bush, peeing my pants and twisting my ankle all within the space of 60 seconds.
I was sick, friends, so sick. I had been sick for weeks, and I was sick of being sick. I went back inside, lay in my bed and closed my eyes. When I felt down into my body all I could see was a rubbish dump. I felt like I was a big stinking pile of fish heads, slimy plastic bags and old band-aids expelling toxic gas. (Don't worry, I’m feeling somewhat better now!)
I’m not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me (I'm perfectly capable of feeling sorry for myself 😉). I’m telling you this because I know intimately, like I’m sure you do, that sometimes there is just no escaping how we are feeling. Sometimes, we just feel bad: lonely, lost, lethargic and rotten.
And it’s times like this I find that leaning into creative practices is so worthwhile, even if it’s just for two minutes. Maybe this means cutting a few pictures out of a magazine and sticking them together in a weird way, putting on a track and dancing with my face, colouring a page in pink, or jotting down one line for a poem.
These things don’t necessarily make the bad feelings go away, but for me, they open a little crack of internal space. And in that space, something else has the chance to arrive: maybe playfulness, inspiration, clarity, or calm.
While these tiny little moments of creation might not seem like much, when we do them regularly, those little pockets of imaginal space inside us have the chance grow bigger. We find that through those spaces, we can channel more and more creative energy.
Creative practice helps us connect with our sense of agency, to feel less like life is happening to us, and more like we have the energy and ability to respond. New ways of approaching old problems open up, and we find we have the energy and momentum to try more interesting or audacious things.
As we grow our sense of internal spaciousness, we grow our potential to become powerful creative forces in our own lives and in our communities.
We might even start to feel less like landfill, and more like a pile of compost that is being spread on a garden, with seeds starting to germinate inside it. And even though there are probably still some random band-aids and fish bones floating around among it all, at least it is feeding something worthwhile, and doesn’t smell quite so bad any more.
P.S. Have you signed up for Writing from the Body yet? It starts this Friday 17th September! This is the place where we open creative space together and get silly and messy and raw and real and playful. I can’t wait. It’s open to everybody, whether you consider yourself a ‘writer’ or not. Details here.
P.P.S. Do you want to gift yourself a whole delicious weekend of in-person creative exploration? Join me and Geordie Jahner at Mana Retreat this December for 'Coming in to Land'. Details here.