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How Fearful Living Silences Our Creative Voice

I lost my balance at the turn of the year. Short dark days, the death of light and the year, remembering people I’ve loved who chose to live and die in midwinter roused love then fear. Celebration and sadness merged. 

I understand why there are myths and rituals through time and belief at this time of year. Being fully alive means accepting dying as part of life. And for a few winter weeks each year I seem to need to relive a fear of death from years ago to remind myself why I need to live fully now.

Old fear cancelled my acceptance. I absorbed myself in the detail of other people’s lives, allowing no time for what matters intrinsically to me, and sacrificing writing and creativity.  They seemed too risky all of a sudden, too frightening and unsafe. 

I neglected my sacred space, forgot what gives meaning to my life. That’s not really true; I didn’t forget, I couldn’t. I constantly felt a deep gnawing frustration at stopping my ears against my creative voice and trying to silence it so I could ‘get on’ with life.

It wouldn’t be silenced. I grew crosser with myself as I approached a deadline I knew I would let myself miss. Angry yet at the same time grandly permissive; I’d allow myself the experience of letting myself down. It came and went and I watched it pass. 

My creative spirit was tied and gagged, its hands bound fast and voice suppressed, a hostage to the conditions of fearful living. Not free to be. As the daylight lengthened, I opened negotiations with my old fear. It wouldn’t listen, it forced me to behave defensively, attacking any writing impulse as a risk, any connection or engagement as unsafe. And I was stifling.

What about writing? What about JourneyWords? What about the novel I'd begun? I began to be kind to my fear, have compassion and not demonise it, to get to know it better - it too is part of me. Seek first to understand... So, unstopping my ears, I listened to what the universe was trying to teach me. 

It brought me an old friend whose first novel I edited in draft, learning about hard work in writing down the words, about craft, technique and passion. About facing your fear and doing what you’re driven to do.

It reinforced this by sending another friend in search of his voice. After walking, talking and disciplined writing for a week, he punched the air with joy. Yes! I’ve got it, it sounds like me saying what I want to say how I want to say it!

Inspired, I returned to the book I’m writing, listening to the silences where I gag myself from fear. I understood. I was taking my characters hostage and restraining them too. I chose life for them, embraced my learning edge, that place, not always comfy, where you grow. Chose love, not fear; to be and to be fully. My characters bloomed, and so did I.

Then, a healer-therapist friend emailed. ‘What’s happened to JourneyWords? It feels like an abandoned child sitting on the kerbside crying.’ 

Bang. She’d got it …. I took a deep breath before replying. No excuses. She was right and I knew it. I had abandoned my creative child, my writing website, and abandoned a vital part of myself. 

I didn’t want this. Now feeling able to risk and trust, I reached out and re-connected, restoring my creative inner child to the heart of my world. Slowly at first, I recovered my balance, and then the words flowed, ideas bubbled and connections sparkled. 

To be... open, receptive, passionate, compassionate, creative, loving, giving, forgiving, connected to others and to self and to natural cycles of life?  Or not to be... to fear?

copyright © 2024 Christine Cooke
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