Writing is a process in which we discover what lives in us. The writing reveals to us what is alive in us. The deepest satisfaction of writing is precisely that it opens up new spaces within us of which we were not aware before we started to write. To write is to embark on a journey whose final destination we do not know. Thus, writing requires a real act of trust. – Henri Nouwen
Several years ago, I participated in an interesting team building exercise while attending a workshop with other professionals in the caring professions. The leader got us to pair up with one partner standing a few feet behind the other, both participants facing forward(most of us were strangers to one another). We were told each of us would take turns falling backwards without looking back,trusting our partner to catch us.
As we waited for the facilitator’s cue to begin, one eager fella immediately dropped backwards, surprising his partner. Yes, the young man landed on his behind on the gymnasium floor, springing back up to his feet quickly with a red face, and awkward laughter filled the room.
With an acknowledging quip and a few additional words of caution, the leader redirected us back to the task at hand.
There were a few people who would not let themselves fall back into their partner’s arms, while most of us dutifully complied with the instructions regardless of feeling unsure and uncomfortable.
During my turn, I experienced a suspended moment of uncertainty as I fell back, followed by a rush of relief as I felt the warm mass of my partner’s body receive me while she secured her steady hands at my elbows and gently helped me forward to an upright position on my own two feet.
Most of us completed this exercise with a lingering sense of reassurance having experienced that our partners did quite literally ‘have our backs.’
In the same way, we are safe falling back into the arms of our muse. Writing, or any other creative act, commands a huge leap of faith from us. Repeatedly,we’re called to take the risk of being vulnerable and open, and this is the condition, the place where the muse meets us and shows us what there is to discover. Beyond the safe limits of our controlling consciousness.
We can delight in the surprise of mystifying discoveries, of the exciting rewards we receive in exchange for our trust, riches and insights we couldn’t even imagine mined from the depths of our imagination.
Do you trust your muse? Have you had the experience of new discoveries as a result of moving forward in your creative work?