“Nothing sublimely artistic has ever arisen out of mere art … There must always be a rich moral soil for any artistic growth.” G.K. Chesterton
Oh, to find the comfort zone of feeling settled in a new venue.
So here I am in my nearly year-long wait to return for three weeks to the untainted city of Lisbon, Portugal. I say “untainted” because it has yet to fall prey to the influences of the West, especially the “US West.” The architecture is magnificent without needing to be “restored,” still with the beauty of age and creativity and the influences of several historical cultures, largely from the Moors.
Yes, I am immersed in the beauty of the ages, with some of the kindest people in the world. But… this is day one and I can’t figure out who I am and what it is that I want to do… exactly.
I am unsettled.
It seems odd for a person who thrives on the adventures of things new and different, to feel “unsettled” in a new and adventurous place—a place for creativity to abound. But I have learned that, at least for me, creativity is best rooted in the comfort of groundedness.
Perhaps part of the reason is that we often associate creativity with ever driving forces of chaos and a need for change. But I don’t think that is necessarily true. Even the adventurous Iliad, the archetype of adventure in Homer’s Odyssey, was always longing to return to the place he was most settled, home!
I discovered this truth personally first by a book and then by a life experience. In the classic hippie book of the 1960’s, Carlos Castaneda’s the Teachings of Don Juan, Don Juan confined his student to the front porch of the dwelling, and did not permit him to leave porch that until he “found his spot.” As I recall, it took two days for the student to find his spot on the front porch. After that he was free to explore his life’s journey.
The second learning came thirty years ago when I became a ritual-focused Episcopalian, after having devoted a decade to creative and inventive “worship services.” For the first time I was “settled” in my exploration of the faith. I found the comfort of roots from which I could curiously venture out into a world of surprises and new frontiers.
Finding “My Spot”
And here I am once again, searching for “my spot.” I wrote in my journal this morning that I need to discover my places in my Airbnb: one for comfort, one for contemplation and meditation, and one to do my writing. And then I must find my caffe to sit outside and sip sparkling water and espresso, and also a special breakfast place.
And then, yes, then I will be settled enough for creativity to abound. So, for the next day or so, I will just hang… and that will be just fine!
Find “Your Spot”
Then Discover the Gift of Creativity
Photo courtesy of :lucigerma at istockphoto