It’s excruciating to feel something inside of you screaming for expression, and yet have no idea how to give it voice. I feel this way often. In fact, I’m feeling it right now as I write. Sometimes it keeps me up at night. It makes me feel that I should be doing more, always more, to express myself in the world. The common wisdom these days seems to be just to let it out, get it down on paper, produce something, produce more, put it out there, create a product, use your voice. And beyond the fact that our society values production over presence, there is something amazingly cathartic about just getting something out there in any way possible, and being guided by the raw desire to express.
Catharsis, in Greek, means “cleansing” or “purification.” Catharsis is that beautiful mixture of sadness and relief when we cry at the end of a tragic movie. Catharsis can bring that amazing feeling of lightness after you release your rage by listening to music with a pounding beat, or working emotions out at the gym. Catharsis is pleasurable because we feel cleansed of intense emotions when we let them out. And why not? It feels so good…
But maybe we’re too quick to discharge these intensities. Maybe there is a deeper dimension of the creative process that we miss when we rush to express our creative intensity outside of ourselves. It takes 9 months to gestate a human baby in the womb of the mother. It’s a slow process of form emerging from spirit, where something emerges from nothing. No, not nothing. But nothing visible. Because in that fertile void there is potency. When the ocean swells its force is slow, yet unmistakable. Potency builds as unseen energies connect with and inform the visible, material world. Potency is that invisible force that gets us from nothing to something, from the ineffable 0 to the material 1.
Potency can be perceived with the senses. But usually we don’t perceive it. Because we are sped up, operating at a pace that can only really perceive and value products, commodities, and material things. I know this because sitting with potency, rather than willing my way forward, has been such a challenge in my own life. Slowing down enough to feel an intensity far beneath my will is a daily practice for me. Bowing to the invisible intelligence that informs everything that I want to create is a constant prayer.
It’s not only that we need a slower, deeper, and more subtle perspective to perceive potency. It is also that potency needs a certain kind of contact to be sensed and amplified in our bodies. Slow, spacious, but also bounded and firm. If we listen, really listen, with our hands and with our being, we can be guided by the vibrations in potent space.
When I consider my own life and the way that I want to serve in the world and express myself, I know that I have only just begun. And that is both maddening and, in a way, comforting. In my better moments, I feel blessed by the humility of beginning, of remaining for so long in a receptive space. I can feel potency building within me and it is slow and sure. It has its own pace, far beneath the vibrations of my urgency to express myself.
When you feel stuck, as if nothing is happening in your process, it could be that you aren’t blocked at all. Because there is a deeper process happening inside of you, a slow build that is informing what wants to come into being. It can feel like nothing. Or it can feel like everything.
Feeling in contact with potency is empowering. It’s exhilarating to feel the place where our own desires for expression meet with the support of the invisible world. And it’s also reassuring. Because we don’t need to will so hard in order to create. What we need is a deeper contact with our own process in the presence of others who can feel our potency, as it amplifies through contact. What wants to come into being is so far beyond what we could ever dream for ourselves alone.
Stay tuned next week to learn how to transform your creative process by perceiving potency in your body. And there are still spots available in my Embodying Creativity workshop next week at Somaspace (4050 NE Broadway Street Portland, Oregon 97232), I’d love to see you there!
Friday, February 21, 2020, 7-10 pm, $35 advanced registration, $40 drop in