So I spent January on the self-created, self-titled ‘Anti-tour’. Part gigging, part holiday, part reflecting on what is next. What do I want the next year to look like? What do I want to be doing? Where do i want to be?
I spent every day projecting the thought:
I am on a new path that comes to me in a way that is profound and powerful and resourced.
My new path has vitality, variety and value.
My new path is clear by the end of January 2019.
And here I am. Back where I started. Making small tweaks to my schedule that I had considered even before I went away. There has been no grandiose shift that has teleported me to another location, activity or mission.
Maybe I wasn’t daring enough or perceptive enough. Or maybe the task at the moment is to continue to practice the art of making my life. Exactly. How. I. Would. Want. It. To. Be.
In a way that fulfils me completely. The best life I could imagine – I now get to practice making it piece by pain-stakingly detailed piece.
After all, the life I have lived up until now felt largely predetermined and a little like it was pulling me along. Until that year. Until diving deep. Until the child in me who had constantly felt pulled away from her own life began to feel integrated with the rest of me.
This piece has settled, so now the ramifications are that I have a clean slate on which to learn to create the momentum and the fullness of my own life as I would have it.
So here I am – back in my lovely bedsit reminding myself that I can make this year how I want but, I need to make it and sometimes that means small nuanced shifts in action.
Somewhere along the way in my trip I became fascinated with the idea of intersection as it relates to creativity. Often a creative venture or idea involves taking two seemingly disparate ideas and finding where they intersect. This may bring a third out-of-the-box, never-before-conceived-of outcome.
So for fun and as part of my road trip, I sat down one day to go through all of the places I’d stayed, the people I’d met and experiences I’d had and to find the intersecting points of them all. Maybe this would tell me something.
I drew a brain-map-splurge with circles and boxes and connecting lines, and started to list the key things I saw or experienced at each house.
The first really obvious one was the presence of wood. The three houses I had stayed at for a lengthy period of time had people living there who were woodworkers of some sort, and at two of those houses I had done some kind of work with wood – either shifting it or splitting it (which involved a huge amount of zen like fun with a wood-splitter machine).
The next intersecting component was harder to spot initially – it was the presence of birds. At my sister’s a small bird became trapped in the house and my niece and I spent a long time trying to get it out. At my friends Annie and Jackie’s, I meditated outside and remember tuning into all the bird sounds. At Kiri and Stephen’s we talked about tui, magpie and turkeys on their lawn. We nearly hit a pukeko (one of my favourite birds) and friends of theirs were touring an album called Manu (Maori for bird). At Tracey and John’s, Tracey had texted me to look out for the ruru at night.
I may not have so strongly recalled all of these noticings but for the clincher from a concert I gave in Mangawhai and hosted by Kiri and Stephen’s Song Conversations venture. In the koha bag was a lovely gift from a woman who had attended.
It was a little wooden bird.
She said her brother had made it. Hannah and her sister Melissa are builders themselves – quite inspiring. They had been homeschooled and always had projects on the go. I went to visit them at Melissa’s land where they had just made a stage-like shelter and a tiny house for Melissa.
It had been all about the building for me and this little wooden bird capped it off.
A little bit later, I was at Tracey and John’s doing some recreational weeding (another recurring theme in my trip), when I found, buried under some weeds….another Wooden Bird. Here they are in their glory.
Now I was excited. And now, you could say I went a bit kooky. I had bought numerous books with me and a deck of Law of Attraction teaching cards. During my trip I had pulled three cards that I kept referring to. And yes – one of them had a bird picture and the inscription ‘I will love where I am right now’.
So then I went a bit la la crazy with the books I had brought with me. I decided to pick a number and use the number on each book (mostly page numbers) to see what came up. The number was 25. I had three wins:
Page 25 of the book Bird by Bird (by Anne Lamott) – “I’d start by writing descriptions of the food, one dish at a time, bird by bird”.
Interviewee number 25 from Tim Ferriss’s book Tools of Titans was Whitney Cummings.
Her spirit animal was the hummingbird and the quote next to it was “If something offends you, look inward….That’s a sign that there’s something there”.
The poetry book by New Zealand writer Nicola Easthope – ‘Working the Tang’ has a poem on page 25 called Torea Street and the first line is
“The oystercatcher drills and drills
at the shell: a road builder….”
And finally, I pulled out my deck of Law of Attraction cards and counted through to card number 25 and when paired with one of the other cards I had been carrying, they looked like this…
Is this ridiculous?
Am I just seeing what I want to see?
In this youtube clip by Mel Robbins she talks about the Reticular Activating System (RAS). It is a network of neurons that acts as a filter system by allowing certain information and blocking out other information. It is this system that causes us to notice all the SUVs on the road because we’ve just bought one. Ok, SUVs may be a bad example for my environmental, standard-car friends but you get what I mean. Mel gives the example that if we believe we are unworthy, then our Reticular Activating System will find all the proof that we are. It looks for the evidence.
What does this all mean in the world of my Wooden Birds find.
So far – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!
I can’t tell you what this all means. i don’t know what a wooden bird is signalling in terms of what I am to do significantly this year or what it is pointing me towards.
Damn – these stories are often written when the ta-daaa ending has happened.
Well this time I’m writing it without the ending. It has been fun making this connection with wooden birds and if it leads me to something I’ll let you know.
In the meantime – I want to build things. I want to do things with wood. And I still notice every time a bird comes into my view. Like this in the local cafe when I returned to my hometown.
So, I can hear you say….”if this is what a ‘creative’ does then it sounds balmy to me”.
I get it. Sometimes it sounds balmy to me. But who am I if I can’t notice patterns in my life beyond the ordinary and make connections between seemingly unrelated and insignificant things?
As banal as it is, that to me is the stuff of a playful life – a life where I at least get to feel that I’m tapping into a larger extended part of myself.
And that’s where the vitality, the variety and the value is.