In the photograph above, taken at around 2, 600 metres in the Tavan Bogd National Park, in Mongolia, I am feeling both calm and fulfilled. We had just crossed the river I am squatting next to. For over an hour prior to crossing I walked up and down the bank on the other side looking for stepping stones to cross over its roaring, opaque, glacier-cold water. There were none. The inevitable dawned and my heart beat faster – I was really scared. Boots had to come off and we would have to wade across, unable to see the rocky, slippery, bottom and endure the thigh high freezing water. My travelling companion and I unclipped our packs, hung our boots over our necks and with socks on our feet, we held hands and slowly made our way across. On the other side we both cursed loudly at the stabbing cold in our feet, but as the circulation returned to our lower limbs the feeling of having overcome a fear filled me with confidence and joy.
Hiking in Mongolia was spectacular, I am excited about our first major overseas walking expedition there in July 2018. I am also excited about all our retreats here in our stunning southwest next year.
At the same time, I am fearful, fearful that although I am confident about hiking and creativity, I do not know enough about tourism to take Edgewalkers to the next level! Fearful that I do not know enough about marketing and selling to actually get people to book into retreats; fearful that I will not make the most of each season; fearful that I will look like a fool!
Perhaps the most insidious resistance to embracing creativity is the fear of being ridiculed by those around us. Thinking creatively can make us aware of things/patterns/possibilities we had not previously noticed forcing us to take (or NOT) certain actions that might disrupt our lives, alarm our loved ones or appear irrational to the rest of the world. Yes, there were many questions asked when I first talked to friends and loved ones about my idea to run walking tours and creativity retreats!
We all have ideas, all the time. How many of us have looked at paintings and thought, gee, with some basic drawing classes, I reckon I could do that! Or, my life is so interesting someone should make a movie out of it! Or drank a fresh juice at an expensive eatery and thought, damn, my orange, grapefruit, turmeric and lime juice is so much better than this, I should start a business! If you embraced creativity and started to notice opportunities, embrace artistic impulses and start, as Madeleine L’Engle put it, ‘disturbing the universe’, you never know what could happen…and that freaks us out!
What if what we try doesn’t work and it ends up being rubbish? Somehow it seems better to just stay safe & comfortable and keep telling ourselves: “I don’t have a creative bone in my body!” or my favourite: “I’m too old to go in that direction now, this is what I know, I’ve trained and studied and am experienced in this, I can’t suddenly become a beginner in that!
Julia Cameron who wrote The Artist’s Way, a useful creativity recovery program, has a great response when people ask:
“Do you know how old I’ll be by the time I learn to play the piano, guitar, saxophone, sing, draw, cook, dance, program computers, design furniture, write songs, make airplane models, do stand-up comedy, make films, take good photos …(insert any number of possibilities here)?
She tells them:
“Yes… the same age you will be if you don’t!”
Isn’t that a fact?!
At Edgewalkers we envision, design &facilitate immersive opportunities for participants to recover, realign & reignite their creative aspirations. Through aesthetic, embodies & arts-based approaches we harness the collective creative energy of the group to give people access to useful & individualised insights that can disrupt unhelpful patterns &instil positive & sustainable ones.