It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and written anything for a number of reasons. I’ve been back out there travelling and meeting people in Canada (where I’ll be for the next 2 years), which makes it difficult to stick to creative routines when you’re constantly stimulated by SHINY NEW PEOPLE and SHINY NEW OPPORTUNITIES and SHINY MEMORY MAKING. It’s transformed my brain into the likes of a distracted squirrel, but all for good reasons.
Having said, compared to what I’d normally do, I’ve decided to not beat myself up about my lack of writing here, because, well, there’s this thing called life, and hey – we’re allowed to actually go out there and live it without our ego giving us too much grief for ‘not doing the things we should be doing’. I’m sure many people have this nagging feeling: I should be doing this, I should be doing that. I hence like to call them Nags (wow, I know, very creative), and for the sake of synchronicity, I like to visualise them as old annoying hags that won’t leave me alone.
But along with those Nags I’ve also been feeling Nudges. And these aren’t bad feelings at all. These are good feelings. These are warm, pupil-dilating, yummy little beginnings of sparks in your belly that have the potential to turn into something great. These are intuitive suggestions about what you could possibly do, about your wonderful potential. It’s the should turning into could. And they sound something more like: “Hey, this could be interesting. Why don’t we give this a go?” Or “Ooh, this is us. This is more like it. Let’s see what happens if we try this. Go on!”
The sense of imperative duty and shame brought along with the ‘Shoulds’ is replaced with a playful, childlike curiosity of the ‘Coulds’. And both can coexist simultaneously, but what’s interesting is that these lovely, inquisitive little nudges become louder the more you pay attention to them. Their whispers slowly turn into a projected voice through a megaphone, the more trust is poured into them.
I was beating myself up for not having written here for so long, and the longer I left it, the stronger the Nags became. But over the last couple of years having built a solid creative morning routine and self-trust through consistently showing up for myself, I knew deeply I didn’t have to worry. Maybe that’s why the Nudges overrode the Nags.
I started getting more ideas when out and about, titles popping into my head. I started getting emails of people liking my posts, then out of nowhere a new subscriber! And I hadn’t written anything for ages. It felt like the Nudges were turning into urgent Rattles!!!! and if I didn’t pay attention to them soon, they’d disappear forever, leaving me with no inspiration, self-belief or motivation at all, with a stagnant, cobweb-brewing archive of work to show for it. These rattles are similar to the concept from Elizabeth Gilbert’s brilliant book on creativity, Big Magic, where she explains her notion of creative ideas coming to ‘visit’ you and if you don’t jump on them soon enough, they’ll disappear and move on to someone else who will seize it and create something from it instead. So I allowed myself to be rattled and here I am once again.
But hey, It’s normal to feel unmotivated. It’s normal to feel uninspired. It’s normal to feel like an imposter or even villain in your own story, especially when the pressure to ‘be’ or ‘do’ something today is monumental. Personally, I keep hearing this story that I must climb Everest (or achieve something of the equivalent) before I die to be a worthy human, which I know is total tripe. But I think this is only because I’ve been meeting and hearing about whacky mountain people of the Canadian Rockies lately who live and breathe this lifestyle, so coming home recently was a great perspective shift. I realised that “Oi! Maybe my superpower is in writing and something will come of that one day,” which I am slowly starting believe. After all, we need artists out there to make sense of the world and to feel less alone, and if I can do that even a little bit, then that’s my personal Everest conquered.
To sum up this rather rusty, jumbled piece of writing, make it a priority in your life to listen to your intuition. Whether the Nudges come in a creative form, in your everyday life, at work, in your relationships – they can exist in whatever context, but remember that they may never be as loud as the Nags at the start. Your intuition, the shy, suggestive thing it is, is your best guide in gently ushering you toward the path that is meant for you.
Someone once said that your intuition is your past, knowledgable self guiding you to the place you are supposed to be – and I couldn’t agree more. So don’t pay attention to the Nags – let them blab on, which they will – let them morph into white noise. Instead, direct your attention to those yummy Nudges with an open-minded curiosity, see where they lead you, which is most often on the path back home. Find your personal Everest by following your Nudges.