Don't underestimate the power of stillness.
Recently, I took a four day retreat and went on retreat alone (No family, yes!). I spent most of my time sleeping, eating healthy food, walking around, and staring at the Ocean. Within 24 hrs, I felt myself sink down into the deep, murky depth of myself. I relaxed. I came alive!
In Taoist Chinese medicine, they call the still, dark part of the self (of the Universe really) the yin. My acupuncturist (yes, I have one) is always nattering on about yin. It's the passive part of the ebb and flow of life. In healing, building yin takes time--the body's resources are not replaced very easily. Wisdom and strength can't be cheated into existence, and what I've come to think of as the American way, the direct route, the fastest, the hardest working path, doesn't get you anywhere.
Not an easy lesson, right? I want TO DO things. I write lists and check items off. Every week, I review where I'm at in my novel, in my leadership role at Odyssey, in my life as a parent, in my relationship with my husband, and I make decisions and choices about where I need to go next, what I need to change, how to be better, smarter, more compassionate, more successful than I was the week, month, year before.
But the success I'm chasing is not characterized by a circle; it's a straight line. And we all know life happens in cycles. It is not linear, despite my best efforts to make it such.
Ceaseless revision is not always productive. Not in one's creative work. Not in life.
So my (writing) advice: take a break. Take a breath. And be.
Artists, children, shoot almost everyone needs time to refuel the inner creative force. To see and touch and taste. To take in the beauty of the world we inhabit.
And then return to work.
Then watch what unexpected gifts a break brings to your work.
Coranna Adams is a writer, filmmaker, and educator from Asheville, North Carolina.