Creative Intermission or How To Move Through Your Dark Days
Living in the mountains, where you work part-time in a stunningly located hotel and spend much of your time writing, hiking and practicing yoga… Isn’t this a perfect life? It is – until you get bored with it and start taking this lifestyle for granted.
And this is not to say that taking things for granted is “wrong” and you should watch yourself not to go there. This is rather to say that, no matter what you do and where you go, it will most likely happen to you. Sooner or later, you will find yourself taking for granted that which you once desired.
The truth is: it is easy to get used to beautiful views. It is easy to get used to having great people around you. And it is even easier to get used to your own accomplishments and start treating them as if they were the most obvious thing in the world.
So, all of a sudden you find this “mountain life” – whatever it means to you – not so amazing anymore. You still think that you should be grateful, but you cannot force yourself to feel grateful.
I can very well understand that. I mean, it is just so predictable that I am wondering why it still surprises us. I mean, this state of “taking things for granted” and always looking for more.
All it shows is that we, humans, are indeed this type of creature that have a never-ending desire to change, to create and to develop. Great. But let’s not make this desire destroy us by making us feel angry and disappointed with ourselves. This desire is, after all, a creative force rather than a destructive one. So let us try to see it as such.
In the end, I believe it simply comes down to either approaching life conditionally, where some circumstances must be achieved before we allow ourselves to be “happy”, or unconditionally – as it is. “Perfect” life circumstances may give us an illusion that we have to rely upon them in our feeling of contentment. But then a writer’s block or a midlife crisis comes – and we may be left not knowing what is going on. After all, it seemed like we have managed to manufacture more or less perfect lives, haven’t we? So why the hell do we feel blocked of depressed?
We might not know the answer straight away. But let’s remain inquisitive about it.
Maybe… what we have been telling ourselves to be our passion or dream was actually someone else’s expectation, which we just made ourselves believe to be our path?
Maybe… we neglected our emotional wellbeing – we were not true to ourselves, we didn’t allow ourselves the rest we required, or we have spent too much time with people we didn’t actually want to spend any time with.
Maybe we have been hard on ourselves and didn’t appreciate our own efforts, and always kept thinking that we were not good enough – regardless of all the validation we got from the external world.
The reason might not even matter to us at that point. Because all we know is that we are now left feeling a void in our hearts. That’s it. And what do you do about it, if have absolutely no clue what to do?
Well, I can only tell you what I did. It was rather simple.
On a rainy morning I started working very early, feeling more and more disheartened with every next hour. This is how I have been feeling for the past four or five days. I got into an argument with a client. I knew I was not in an emotional place to hold welcoming space for people. But I was desperately looking for something to do, something that would grant me the reassurance that I was being “useful” or “productive”. I tried to educate myself by reading a book – didn’t really work. There was someone wanting a coffee, of course, I sorted it, but then wait… I forgot to note the payment, let me go and do it, ok back to the book, but there is someone behind me chatting, I cannot focus, I’m getting annoyed…. maybe I should do something else instead…
Man – there is nothing you can do to keep yourself going. So just stop going.
I couldn’t read and I couldn’t create. I had to stop fighting. I sat in front of the fireplace. There was no one else on the couch, so I could comfortably stretch my legs. The beaming warmth and sound of raindrops behind the window invited me to go to sleep. So I closed my eyes and I took a nap. Brief, but sweet trip into unconsciousness.
I woke up after an hour and I knew something has changed. I felt calmer. All of a sudden, I was looking forward to accept what was or was not going to unfold. I went outside into the cool air and had a cup of hot coffee there. I walked to the car park which was just 30 metres away from the house.
Then I turned around and noticed it. The view.
The valley was climbing up softly and I could see very far up the woods. Rainy clouds hung heavily above the forest. The space in front of me seemed immense, as if it could expand to hold infinite number of trees, animals and people. I stood in awe.
But wait – someone might ask – haven’t you been there for over a month now? Haven’t you just said that you got used to the mountain life and started taking the views for granted? So what are you talking about here?
The thing is: I realized that I haven’t been seeing this particular view too often, because I usually look toward the opposite direction. When it comes to the view from the terrace or garden – I have indeed seen it a thousand and one times. But what was in front of my eyes now was only possible to see from this particular spot in the car park. And I never really have a practical reason to go to the car park.
It is only 30 metres away – do you understand? But it already gives me a completely different view, completely new perspective. However, I wouldn’t end up there without the preceding nap. I also wouldn’t end up there without this permission I gave to myself: to just wander around and explore, seemingly with no specific purpose.