Living as a Creator is not all “goodness and light.”  Creating requires us to hold the Dynamic Tension between what we envision and the current reality we face.  And the Baby Steps we take may not always result in the forward progress or quantum leaps we had hoped for.  The result may include mistakes and setbacks from which to learn.

Lately, we have been talking about the realities of the “darkness” we all experience at times in our personal and work lives.  Darkness is part of the cycle of life—in fact darkness is part of every day.  The sun sets and we enter into the darkness of the night.  We leave the brightness of summer and transition into the darkness of winter.

We have also learned that darkness is present in the creating process.   We may start a project we are passionate about only to feel confused or unclear about the Baby Step we should take.  We may focus on creating health in our personal lives and unexpectedly face an illness or disease.

Darkness can come in many forms, and at any time.  How we choose to respond and work with the darkness is the question.  Do we succumb to the darkness as a Victim and a problem we need to react to?  Or, do we ask ourselves:  “What is here for me to learn?  What choice(s) do I have given the situation?”

Here are some of the strategies we have learned – sometimes the hard way – that support creating in the midst of darkness:

  • Slow down – Think of being in a darkened room and how you would move through it slowly and gingerly so as not to bump into something unseen.
  • Stand still – Although this may appear counter to taking creative action, sometimes the most powerful and profound thing you can do is to stop and “stand still.”  While standing still, discern the current reality you face and the clues that may emerge in the stillness. (For a powerful poem on this theme, check out David Wagoner’s “Lost.”)
  • A Baby Step at a Time – Forward progress may involve the “smallest” of Baby Steps (like in that darkened room), with moments to pause and determine the next small step.

Darkness does not last forever in the natural world.  Eventually the light returns and the way forward becomes clearer.  Having “faith in the night” as a natural part of the creating process, will help sustain you through your darker times.