When you begin any transformative or creative process, there is a time-tested process by which radical manifestation occurs.
First, the urge or desire must take shape. Next, the idea and its creator must have time to germinate together to solidify and transform the thought to a thing. Finally, the creation or change must be brought out into the world.
You might mistakenly think that the third step, the creation or change being made manifest and open to the world, is your business, but you’d be wrong. It is in fact your process, your job, to develop the wisdom, patience and consistency to remain in the second step long enough to make the third step evident.
Here’s those steps again, said differently.
If you want to create something, be it a tangible thing like a product, or physical transformation, or an intangible thing like a skill, character trait or inner-practice, you must follow these three steps:
- Recognize the idea and creation.
- Germinate and coexist in the creation.
- Share the creation with the world.
Look no further than our dear mother and provider, the earth, for this.
A caterpillar exists but instinctually recognizes a desire to change. She builds her cocoon to insulate herself from the outside world so she may germinate unmolested with her natural desire to change. Finally one day, she can feel that her newly formed wings at her side are strong enough to carry her outside that cocoon. She knows she’s given her desire and her newest creation (herself!) the time she needed to survive and thrive in the world. She emerges and the world can’t help but notice just from her very presence that she is much different than she was before. The world pauses to reflect on her beauty as she goes about her daily life.
Your own biological mother gave you this same creative process. She conceived you out of a desire to create. She provided you with the incubation conditions necessary to allow you, as your own unique idea and creation, to form into the physicality that would be strong enough and well developed enough to thrive outside the womb. Your family and all in attendance at your birth marveled at the transformation of the idea that came forth into physical form — you!
So why wouldn’t this be so with your other creations?
When you feel the desire to create, recognize and honor the impulse.
Poet Rainer Maria Rilke said, “that you [must] go within and probe the depths from which your life issues; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create.”
A burning desire to create is inspiration, source and your higher self, calling you into a new experience. If you want to create improved health, your very cells are asking you to create a new version and vision of yourself. If you feel the desire to write or start a business or have a baby or take a trip, go inside and recognize if this is a true, deep desire to create. Once you can answer, yes! you’ll know you’ve heard the call.
This is how writing is for me. Long before I was an accomplished writer I felt this deep, burning urge to write. By the age of 14 I was religiously keeping a diary. I’d fill pages and pages with my thoughts, ideas and experiences of every day. At the end of my freshman year of high school I had filled ten journals in those short nine months of life, not to mention the countless notes and letters I had passed back and forth with my girlfriends. These were the days before texting and cell phones! Around 2007 I became aware of blogging and WordPress. I started a simple little blog called the Duchess Guide, which became an important outlet for me to write and explore during a divorce and move to Los Angeles. During these decades of writing, there was no compensation, no real encouragement, just the desire to write. And write. And write. It was my burning desire.
What is your burning desire?
Once you recognize this desire, you move to the most critical step in the creative process: germination.
Just like babies must incubate and caterpillars must cocoon, your ideas and creations, too, must have this crucial metamorphic period.
Too soon we tell well-meaning loved ones, co-workers and even not so well meaning folks about our creations. The diet we’re on. The Stoic philosophy we’re exploring. The business we are starting. The idea we have. The exercise program we’ve just started.
What’s the first thing people do?
Shoot your creation down fast!
“Oh, Joe tried to start a business – he even took out a second mortgage on his house but it failed – be careful!”
“I tried a diet last year, course it didn’t stick — they’re so hard.”
“How can you do that, it’s impossible?”
“Isn’t that a cult?”
“Haven’t you heard about the economy?”
Folks are well meaning (usually) but a newborn idea is a delicate thing. Your fledgling creation needs time to build strength. You two need to get to know one another. You’ll need to incubate and germinate like a seed in the ground very intimately with just your idea. This is an exclusive party just for the two of you.
Professor of Philosophy and author of, “A Guide to the Good Life,” William Irvine explains, “It is of course possible for [a] woman to win the approval of [her] naysayers. She need only abandon her dream.”
Too often that is what you do.
You bring your idea and change out of its incubation too soon, only to find the naysayers slinging rocks of doubt and abuse and BAM! Your latest creation or dream is abandoned. The diet dies. The idea withers on your mind’s vine. The business gets prolonged another day for when it’s “safer.”
In the book, “The Way To Love: The Last Meditations of Anthony De Mello,” the Jesuit author admonishes us of this dependence on others saying,
“You were given a taste for the drug called Approval, Appreciation, Attention, the drug called Success, Prestige, Power. Having got a taste for these things you became addicted and began to dread their loss.”
You must challenge yourself to overcome the need for approval bit by bit over the course of your life, but for now, recognize the need for approval as the idea killer it is and make every effort to just avoid speaking of your creation too soon.
Give yourself and your creations the time they need to succeed by not telling a soul, unless it’s a truly sensational, unrelenting supporter of you.
Rilke says this in his advice to a younger poet seeking his approval saying,
“Now, since you’ve permitted me to give you advice, I ask you to abandon all this. You look outside yourself, and that above all else is something you should not do just now. There’s only one way to proceed. Go inside yourself.”
Stay quiet about your change. Go inward and co-mingle with your brilliance. One day you will know when your creation is strong enough to be disclosed. The impulse will come, like birthing pains or the flutter of butterfly wings, you’ll know now is the time to come out of your germination and into the world.
“Enjoy your growing, which you must of course do on your own, and be good to those who remain behind.” – Rainer Maria Rilke