My favorite question when meeting someone new has long been “What have you been loving lately?”* I think it gets around two big roadblocks: our over-emphasis on work i.e. “What do you do?” and the superficial exchange i.e. “How are you?” which tends to elicit a “fine” regardless of the deeper reality.
But lately I’m flirting with a new question – “What have you been creating lately?” Because after a week in which I hosted my Soulpreneur Virtual Retreat (with women birthing new writing, business dreams and more) and spent most of the rest of the time crafting the invitation to my upcoming retreat in Mexico I feel like I am on very intimate terms with the creative process. It is all I want to talk about.
Not the whole arc of it, which as you know can take months or years. But the acute, most intense phase. Where you are literally bringing something through the veil from the world of ideas, dreams, intentions to the material plane aka “the real world” where other people can interact with it. (This doorway from San Miguel reminds me of such a liminal zone.)
One thing which confused me for years about the creative process is its relationship with our own stress response.
With coaching clients and in my own life I work with the body compass. Essentially the language of the body is expansion when pointed in a direction which aligns for you or contraction when you are making a decision which doesn’t jive with your essential self.
We all have many layers. Your essential self is that deepest, most truthful part of you whereas your social self is the part which wants to play by the rules and be seen as successful or fitting in. Maybe the easiest explanation of the difference is to simply remember a time when your head was talking you into something because you “should” do it and your gut was protesting fiercely.
But decoding the body compass is not always that simple. Because we don’t usually have a lot of practice listening to it. In fact we are taught in school and many families to override the body nudges and to hold in or push down the somatic or emotional feelings that get in the way of moving ahead.
But, and this I think is the really interesting part, there is another way our body compass read gets muddy.
When we are actually stretching into a really juicy, brave, interesting decision and in so doing trip our own stress response.
So on the deepest level your body/soul voice may be saying hell yes! And your poor amygdala which is always on the lookout for threats interprets all that extra energy coursing through your body and the natural dose of fear of the unknown as if it were a tiger about to pounce. Hello fight or flight response!
As my favorite Ennea teacher reminds me, the body “boots us out of presence” on both ends of the continuum: when something really threatening is happening and when something completely amazing is happening that is more than we let ourselves imagine for our lives aka when we are scarecited!
So….the next time you are ready to sit down and write something brave or invest some significant cash securing a fabulous home in Mexico based on your heart/gut sense that women do in fact want to travel internationally to retreat with you, or otherwise create in a way which stretches your comfort –- remember this conversation. And see if you can attend to the extra support you might need to move the energy of your fight/flight/freeze response through your tissues.
How to Move Your Stress Energy While Creating?
This whole process of pulling together details for the international retreat has gone slower than my social self would have liked. Communicating with the international host and getting the contract signed, working with my VA to confirm availability and details about the boutique hotels near the retreat venue (for those not staying in the house), making a video to invite you into the retreat.
But it was being born in its own time. And as I shared this week on social media I required frequent breaks to bring this retreat vision through to the other side. I even started running again (normally I’m a walker) just out of the sheer need to discharge some of my excitement! Talking with friends and getting coaching was also vital. As was making out with my husband. And acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Eating warm lunches.
All of these help move the extra energy of creation through my tissues and send the message to my body and nervous system that “Hey, we got this!”
I’m working on so many fun details regarding my retreat including a payment plan for those of you who would like to space out your investment in monthly chunks. Here are some photos to whet the appetite:
See?!! I literally fall asleep sometimes just feeling like I’m already in this house with those of you who likewise know that it is just what you need: to stretch yourself, to reawaken your senses, to nourish yourself on the deepest level.
Maybe that sounds weird but I think that is part of the process of conscious creation. Becoming the person who wrote the book, who hosted the international retreat or who created a life that she loved. And taking small actions today from that place, while taking care of your nervous system along the way.
So friends, next week. Next week.
PS I do have a special offer for those who can handle my “rough cut” and who expressed an interest in this retreat either via social media or attending a previous one. If this is you but you didn’t yet fill out my survey or otherwise indicate your interest contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the pre-offer pronto. xo
*Credit to my friend the gifted writer and teacher Sarah Moore for this great question. Photo Credit my fabulous VA and gifted photographer Eileen West.
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