Mar 22, 2018

Save Me From Drowning My Creativity



"The Drowning Metaphor in Dreams" - What does it mean?
I’ve found the courage to write about my past. Looking back, however, is painful. I think the gods were smart when they cursed those who turned back. Orpheus lost his lady when he turned back to look at her in Hades. Some ancient Hebrews turned to salt when they looked back at the smoldering city of Sodom. And old adage, “Never look back,” reinforces the idea that one must push forward. The common turn of advice is, "Don't dwell on the past." Turning back and looking back seem to have negative consequences. But if psychology has taught me anything, it’s the idea that nothing ever truly goes away. It’s there, the bits and pieces, past loves and perceived let-downs. It must be that time - Spring - when that which was dead struggles to come back to life. Last night, I had a dream. I was witness to a drowning. The scene was a leafy layered lake. A body was found in the water. It was a disturbing dream. Straight out of Hamlet - Ophelia’s been drowned. But after thinking about it for a bit -the dream made sense. I was thinking of drowning too literally. I had to think psychologically. Since I’ve been thinking about the past a lot lately, my psyche has become unsettled. That which was drowned comes to the surface. I guess that’s why another old adage - “drown your sorrows” - seems apt. I’d been drowning my sorrows - which makes sense when I think of my behaviors as of late. Something sunken rises again to the surface. So for me - what’s been unearthed? What has drowned? I feel like I’ve stifled my creativity. And for me to get it back I have to take care of that side of myself. Call it self-care. So it was a snow day. And I took care of myself. And I realized that one major problem I have is creating and planning my weekly classroom activities. Call it lesson plans or whatever. I go to sit and work. But nothing comes out of me. I’m drowned. To come up for air, what do I do? It’s a problem because my success depends on my ability to be creative. If I can’t successfully accomplish that then I’m truly sunk, and sunken. So I’m swimming to the surface, looking to get my magic back. What’s holding me back? Well - for one, the hierarchy of work holds me back. To be free to create you need “a room of one’s own” and inspiration to produce. That’s what I call incubation time. It’s important because without reflecting on my process, I feel like I am running on empty. That’s a self-defeating thought. It’s those thoughts that lead me to feel drowned. So I light upon an image of my success - from the past - and I build from there. What’s my image? It’s an image I have from a class I taught - near the beginning of my career - and the students were busy preparing a project - and everyone knew what they were doing. I am holding onto that image and hoping I can recreate that same modicum of drive for the last quarter of school. I need to find a project that will give our class a lift. Lift us from the Winter doldrums - to use the Spring as metaphor: put a spring in our step. Hope does spring eternal.

Do any of you, readers, have any ideas? Help me not drown.

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