and dug in deep.
I am working on a creative project and I have been run into the ground by a lack of clarity about the next step to take. I want to complete the project, but don’t know how. I cannot get unstuck by trying to move forward. I can’t get unstuck by trying to go backwards. In fact, I know that there is no turning back. The way forward in onward.
In moments of feeling this stuck, mired down and dug in, the only recourse I can fall back on is to walk away and leave it alone. It takes great inner strength for me to do this. My ego struggles to press on, keep going and find a solution. Yet everything in me knows that is not the way forward. The way forward is to surrender to the confusion and allow it to be there, just the way it is.
The way forward is to be still and allow the mud to settle, as the wisdom of the Tao would say.
When I surrender, something amazing usually happens. Like in this instance. I finally walked away from the project and picked up a book that I started a few months ago, but haven’t finished. The book is called Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life. I happened to open the book to the chapter called, The Creativity of Confusion. I had to smile. This is what happens when we surrender to what is and stop fighting for something different, our intuition can take us to exactly what we need.
Just seeing the title of the chapter lightened my load and gave me hope that I would eventually get unstuck. Reading the chapter gave me insight and assurance that I am in a very normal phase of the creative cycle. Joan Chittister quotes Albert Einstein as saying that he used to go away for weeks in a state of confusion. I now feel like I am in good company. Perhaps I am exactly on track with my creative process.
Confusion can be the birthplace of creativity. It is a place where our old ways of looking at things are breaking through to a new frontier, a new order, a new way of viewing a situation. Confusion is the friend of creativity. It turns established ways of thinking on their head. It can turn the project upside down and shake it up so that the pieces fall back together in a new and better arrangement. As Joan Chittister has so kindly shown me: “Confusion is part of the process of creation and so cannot, dare not, be lost in some kind of mad service to order.”
In these moments of confusion, the best thing I can do is let go. Let go of trying to control the outcome, let go of trying to fix it, let go of using my will power to create order. What I can do is surrender to trusting that the confusion is here to serve creativity, to serve the emergence of a higher order, a better vision than the one I was imagining.