“The cycle of creation, of rising and falling energy, is as it should be. In this sense there is no such thing as creative block, or writers block. There is a time when creative energy flows like a river underground and disappears for a time, in the meantime making something, creating a new body, and then emerging again.”
— Clarissa Pinkola Estes
I have known this to be true from my own experience. When people talk of writer’s block or tell me that they are not inspired, I remind them of this. That what we perceive as a block or a lack of inspiration only means that we have entered what I term the fertile void. In this place, the material of the deep psyche is mingling with your life experiences and your soul quest. It is in this place that something new is brewing.
Within the fertile void, there is a sort of amnesia. Even the very things that I’ve been passionate about don’t arouse the energy to bring them to fruition. And, I lose direction of where to go next with these passionate ideas. Desolate and aimlessly wandering, I face frustration and lack impetus. In those times, if I can remember that this too is part of the creative cycle, I might find some relief. Learning to recognize and trust the creative process at such times, is helpful and hopeful.
This point of seeming stuckness in the creative cycle is not something that needs to be solved. We see it mirrored in the wiles and cycles of nature. If we live in a place with four seasons, we are especially privy to these cycles. Within her blossoming spring, simmering summer and picturesque autumn, we see momentum and purpose. Then, that immobilizing frigid winter comes and there is limitation, slowing, hunkering down, waiting it out and inward searching. When I remember to welcome the winter, I am privy to her gifts. This fallow time of rest, going inside literally and figuratively, allowing the integration, rather than resisting it helps. Winter, this seemingly inert time, is vital to the creative process. It is not only restorative, it harbors the potential of spring.
This does not mean that I am unproductive during the time of inwardness. Instead, I can work on creative projects that I’ve stashed away…things like knitting or sewing or cooking a gourmet meal to share. I might clear out some old files that really do feel stagnant. I might study something new or even learn Spanish–a promise I’ve made to myself.
How do you experience the fallow time? What resources do you call on to see you through?