Across the Chasm into the Future
Where do you begin when you discover that everything you thought was going to happen will not be happening? Plans are so last year... Most of us are paralyzed by uncertainty. If a global pandemic or political unrest is not enough to shake your plans, maybe a serious health issue or personal loss is? Whatever has torn your reality apart in 2020, it most likely feels like there is a hard end to the road as you have formerly known it and with no clear path beyond. That large gap between realizing things have changed irrevocably and your next thing, is a grand canyon. You can not walk across this one. You must learn to fly. This is not the road less traveled but the gap that stops those who can not or will not brave the unknown.
How do we plan for a future that we can not imagine?
I would like to begin with an assessment of what has changed and what has remained the same for me. This is the first exercise in growing wings.
When I listen to the music that I liked when I was 18, it feels like nothing has changed. It is a comfort to feel that some things remain, like my love of the ocean, fairy tales, flowers, stones and music. I’ll call this my Inner Truth 2020. When I think of all that has transpired for me as a human woman though, everything has changed- my age, my lived experiences, the way the world works. This is my Outer Truth 2020. I couldn’t have envisioned this world when I was twenty. But still I followed a 'thread of desire' to create in words, music, and images-all separate and distinct areas of practice back then. There was no straight line or degree to all these things as a unit. Although I studied music, art and creative writing in college, it was my mother’s insistence that I take typing that was the surprise break-through skill. You have to admit that typing IS essential. Thanks, Mom. Oddly (to me) tech answered my creative and career needs – quick extraction of creative ideas from my head, empowering my voice, and ease of producing those ideas. With this strange twist I seamlessly rode a technology wave of early creativity and production tools to write and produce games, music, and other interactive and immersive offerings. This career unfolded before me like a magic carpet.
That is my lived experience of following a simple thread of personal truth into an unknown future. A lifetime of dreamwork has shown me the nature of non-linear time and the deep connection to people, places, and things through the lens of feeling and memory. I am not a 3-dimensional girl. I required more than time and space to tell a story.
Now, your turn to do the "what has changed and what has not" exercise, plus 3 more practices to help you embrace the uncertainty and soar into your version of the unknown future.
WHAT TO LEAVE BEHIND AND WHAT TO TAKE
Make your own list of things that have stayed the same for you and say a good-bye to those things that have changed forever. It might surprise you. Be warmed by what remains no matter what.
YOUR MUSE IS CALLING – LISTEN UP
The great writer and poet, Mary Oliver, wrote, “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.” You may not see yourself as a creative but your inner self does. Don't worry about the messiness of creating something good or beautiful. Do what's in your heart. Let yourself feel the calling and give it space and time in your life.
CREATE SOMETHING FROM NOTHING – BE RESOURCEFUL
Creating something from nothing has always been seen as an artist's work. I argue that it is everyone's work, but it is not about skill, tools or delivery systems. It is soul work. Covid-19 has helped us think about our spaces differently. Where we work, live, play, and how it all affects us. There is a larger platform to express ideas and what is pleasurable to the heart. Ideas were never born in boxes. Refresh and reuse ordinary into extraordinary.
KNOW YOURSELF – WRITE IT ALL DOWN
I highly recommend keeping day and night journals. The day journal is to hold your conscious ideas, thoughts and feelings. The night journal is for capturing those illusive dreams and images that are re-ordered and fed back to your conscious mind through your very own symbolic language. For the most part these two types of journals will give you different insights into your inner workings. This is where you will discover what will never change. Self knowledge is the stuff that wings are made of.
Across the chasm of uncertainty there’s a new life, a next chapter, a begin-again. Step to the edge and fly.
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Jan Bozarth has made a career out of her words, music, and images. She is a published songwriter and book writer (The Fairy Godmother Academy Series Random House/Yearling) and Coded for Greatness of the Aventurine Series. She is a producer of entertainment for girls, women, and anyone who has a dream.