Creativity Gives Impulse to the Growth Process

in #life7 months ago (edited)

 "amberjyang_japanese_painting_of_woman_laying_and_weeping_on_top_b58970a2-21d2-4775-adc3-e5ee88858578 Large.jpeg" AI MidJourney prompt, "Japanese painting of a woman weeping on a lotus flower"

In a way, my body is like the body of the earth, which with its mountains, valleys, river beds and uneven topography tells the story of its history and creation as surely as my body expresses the trials and creative changes that I have experienced.
—Ken Dychtwald, psychologist and gerontologist

The acupuncture community clinic in San Francisco is closing next month, and I've been receiving my final treatments at this wonderful healing place. When Dr. Kim felt my pulse a few days ago, his eyes shot wide open. "Wow, your pulse is tight. You're very stressed," he reported back. Looking at my tongue, his eyebrows raised. "Spleen qi deficiency. You're doing too much at the same time. Too many extended periods of worry or overthinking.” Sounds about right.

When he asked what was going on, I gave him a general sense of what was going on. My life is deeply meaningful right now, yet I'm torn in many directions. Big changes in my life are in process. I feel disintegrated, fragmented, self-critical. Unspeakable grief and anxiety live in me, yet I've been also experiencing deep insights and wonderful joys. Most importantly, I feel the necessity of this emerging new chapter in my life.

Yet my body is struggling to keep up with my racing mind. "Simple thinking is what's needed here," Dr. Kim added as he inserted the needles in me. "You can have a lot on your plate and still practice simple thinking."

There I was laying there, needles in me and all. I felt a deep relaxation take over, feeling all the meridian channels starting to open up. I went into a dream state. I felt like I was suspended in warm goo, in the best way possible. Then an image suddenly emerged.

My dad and I are facing each other. We’re tightly holding onto a glass bowl. We’re wordlessly fighting for this bowl, both of us viciously pulling the container in our direction. My visual field focuses in on my dad’s face. His lips are curled upward, growling. Eyes are narrowed and fierce. Spit foams out of his mouth. Then he lunges at me suddenly, his eyes fearlessly opening wide.

Eyes flinging open, I found myself laying in the glowing red treatment room, the infrared light therapy lamp illuminating the space. My heart was beating fast and I was sweating. It took me a while to process how real that image felt in my body and mind. My fingertips were vibrating from the sensation of gripping the container.

My relationship with my Dad has healed immensely, and I’m nowhere near as phased by my childhood challenges as I used to be. Yet what I eventually came to was the sobering and humbling acknowledgment that my dad’s voice continues to lives strong in me. Fear, criticism, and intense shame directed at myself. Inflicting pain on myself the way my dad used to do to me. Not forgiving myself for the different eras of who I was that created who I am now, my past relationships, my challenging childhood experiences, my mistakes and shortcomings. These dark energies often come up when life changes are significantly throwing me outside of my comfort zone.

When I think of simple thinking, I think of letting go of all the extra noise I add to my process. One of my favorite quotes is that most of us don’t have a lot to change; we have a lot to get over. Yet if I’m holding on (literally, like the image that came up during my acupuncture treatment), my fear and shame voices will eat me alive. I interpreted my Dad lunging at me as that.

I’ve confronted my darkest, inner thoughts before. Many times. Perhaps what’s different this time is that I know better not to fix or run away from these feelings. More than ever before, I’m facing them head on. Even if it hurts and tears continually shed down my face throughout the day.

“One evening Milarepa returned to his cave only to find it filled with demons. They were cooking his food, reading his books, sleeping in his bed. They had taken over the joint. He knew about nonduality of self and other, but he still didn’t quite know how to get these guys out of his cave. Even though he had the sense that they were just a projection of his own mind—all the unwanted parts of himself—he didn’t know how to get rid of them.

So first he taught them the dharma. He sat on this seat that was higher than they were and said things to them about how we are all one. He talked about compassion and how poison is medicine. Nothing happened. The demons were still there. Then he lost his patience and got angry and ran at them. They just laughed at him. Finally, he gave up and just sat down on the floor, saying, “I’m not going away and it looks like you’re not either, so let’s just live here together.”

At that point, all of them left except one. Milarepa said, “Oh, this one is particularly vicious.” (We all know that one. Sometimes we have lots of them like that. Sometimes we feel that’s all we’ve got.) He didn’t know what to do, so he surrendered himself even further. He walked over and put himself right into the mouth of the demon and said, “Just eat me up if you want to.” Then that demon left too.

Into the Demon's Mouth: How to Face our Fears like Milarepa, Pema Chodron

Creativity and the Growth Process

Roberto Assagioli was an Italian psychiatrist in the world of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. He broke away from strictly Freudian teachings and was the first modern psychotherapist who developed Psychosynthesis, a movement that honored the spiritual and creative aspects of the self. Assagiolo recognized human nature as being a creative integration of body, mind, emotion, and spirit.

Assagioli suggested that the individual is a compilation of many parts, and that disease is a manifestation of these parts in conflict with each other. The intention is to integrate these parts around a central unifying self. To Assagioli, creative expression is a primary and inherent human quality around which different parts can be brought into synthesis. The creative connection is born when the emotional body, thinking body and sensing body interact with each other. Movement, visualization, active imagination, role playing, music and smells allow for a deeper expression of an individual’s experience.

Many integrative pioneers in psychology believe that the body is a primary and powerful source of information, where it can serve as the vehicle for our deepest creative impulses. The information the body translates when expressing itself creatively may not be directly available through the cognitive processes of the mind. This may be true partly because so much of our social conditioning and patterned forms of expression are filtered through our thinking. Gestalt Therapy founder Fritz Perls often used the expression, Get out of your head and come to your senses! Assagioli believed that by expressing ourselves creatively, we enact that which we want to bring forth, that which is alive in us. This gives impulse to the growth process.

When the individual feels that she is giving form to her inner reality in ways which are congruent with her creative expression, she is able to make good contact with herself, with others, and with her world. — Daria Halprin Khalighi

When I find myself lost in my own darkness, the only thing that makes sense is to get up and move my body. Dancing continues to be a lifeline during this dynamic time of change. Learning how to shuffle dance has added a whole other level of flow and body engagement that feels deeply empowering. The freestyle nature of my dance invites me into a spontaneous expression of Self.

When I’m sweating and breathing hard from the physical exertion, I can’t think too much of all the stressful details and particulars of my life. I’m brought into the present moment and into my body. The music reminds me of my sensual body. The yummy body rolls, jumps, spins, arm waves, and stomps release stored up energy. The increased blood flow and chemicals released in my moving body awakens full body participation.

An example of healthy projection is art.
—Fritz Perls

When I dance, my intentions are not focused on being dramatic and performative, which creative expression can appropriately be at times. Recently, my intentions have not even been about finding my joy, because this discomfort I’m experiencing feels important to acknowledge and face.

Instead, I dance to discover what my free self looks and feels like. Free from excessive fear, insecurity, rage, and overwhelm. Free of the expectation that I should be happy and comfortable all the time. Free of the self-hatred that brews up in me when things get hard. What is left after all of this burns away through sacred movement?

Before I’m consciously aware of it, a huge smile is born on my face as I move. The smile is a clear seeing of the present moment. My negative thoughts are not to be taken so seriously. Other truths exist outside of my suffering: joy, acceptance, compassion, emptiness, equanimity, humility, gratitude. I am all of it.

I'd like to self-regulate more effectively in the face of all of this change in my life. In the meantime, I'll keep enduring the ups and downs, doing my best to simplify the complexity inside myself. And there's nothing like a good quote to awaken me out of my own stuck points.

Learning from life takes time. I rarely recognize life's wisdom at the time it is given. Sometimes I am too distracted by something else that has caught my wandering eye, and not every gift of wisdom comes nicely gift-wrapped. I have often received such a gift only many years after it was offered. Sometimes I need to receive other things first, to live through other experiences in order to be ready. Much wisdom is hand-me-down. Like all hand-me-downs, it may be too big at the time it is given.
—Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather's Blessings

I haven't posted a dance video in a while. Here are some highlights from the past few weeks of daily dancing. Hope you enjoy, Hive community.

Track ID:

  1. Long Way Home - Gareth Emery
  2. Floral Decor - Lstn
  3. Only For You - Mat Zo
  4. Hoshi No Namida - Merge of Equals

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What a powerful and personal post. The metaphor of juggling is often used to describe doing many things at once. But I wonder if gardening isn't also a good metaphor. In a garden, one plant might need extra water, another might need to have the weeds around it pulled, and another still might need to be cleared of pests. All of these plants have these needs simultaneously, but the way to meet these needs is to address them one at a time, beginning with the most urgent.

Your dancing is as always delightful: )

I like that metaphor a lot :)

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