I have a lot of ideas in my head. And for the most part, that’s where they used to stay.
In my head. Where other people couldn’t see them, interact with them or build upon them. Where they were safe and untested and uncriticized. All mine.
Sure, I’ve created some. Some might say I’ve created plenty. But that’s only because they can’t see what I’m not creating. For example, this very post sat dormant for at least a month while I pondered, waited and nitpicked at it.
Because the riskiest, most dangerous and potentially most interesting ideas are the easiest to hold back. I would pin them down like butterflies on a mat, like art at a museum. They were in spreadsheets, in notebooks, on scrap paper around my desk.
And while it might feel creative to think of these ideas, they were dying a lonely death when I wasn’t doing anything with them. They didn’t get their chance to add anything to the world. To affect someone. To spark something.
I lost out, too, with this arrangement. I didn’t push myself to think deeper and harder. I lost out on the feedback or insight or even criticism of others. I missed the chance to discover uncharted territory within myself. I stopped before I could start.
It wasn’t the best life I could give my ideas—or myself.
So I decided to change. To find a way forward, I cataloged all the things that had ever stopped me from creating so I could shoot them down, one-by-one. It turned out to be a helpful exercise, so I thought I’d share.
Do any of these reasons for not creating something sound familiar to you?
Learning to learn… Collaboration is one key to building memory and understanding.
In Indian mythology, Kali first appears as a frenzied, battle-maddened demon slayer, who comes into the world at moments when dark forces—demons—threaten civilization and especially the feminine. In the core myth of Kali’s emergence, she appears out of Durga’s third eye at one of the key moments in the Devi Mahatmya, when the Devi is threatened by two demons called Chanda and Munda. Durga’s face darkens, and Kali emerges with a roar, her sword swinging, cutting down demons and crunching them in her teeth. At last, she slashes off the heads of Chanda and Munda, and presents them to Durga. Later in the battle, Kali confronts the demon chief Raktabija. Raktabija has a magical power: when drops of his blood spill, they turn into warriors. Kali, with her long tongue, licks up his blood before it can touch the ground.
Many images of Kali show her with a long tongue, caught in the act of licking the blood of warriors. In these images, she often appears as a hag, emaciated, ugly, with fangs, and with blood dripping from her tongue. But as human consciousness evolved over the centuries, so, it seems, did the image of Kali. Her body became beautiful, as it is in most modern representations. Instead of seeing her as an almost demonic presence, devotees meditating on Kali began to find esoteric resonance in her gestures and implements. Raktabija’s blood became a symbol of the uncontrollable desires that agitate our minds, and Kali’s tongue became the power of yogic will to eat up desires and thoughts so that the luminosity of our essential awareness can reveal itself.
From Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton
In this 13-part Goddess Returns series, acclaimed teachers Sally Kempton and Ken Wilber discuss one of the most powerful ways we can reconnect with a crucial aspect of feminine wisdom that has largely been lost in today’s world: by invoking and internalizing the energetic qualities of eleven different Hindu goddesses.