The Emotional Ebb and Flow of a Creative Life

I rub the gem, like a mermaid’s jewel in my pocket. We’re asked to pick a gem we gleaned from the books we read in the On-Line Transformational Book Group. There are so many to choose from in our first book selection — Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s timeless Gift from the Sea. The one that fell in my pocket is ebb and flow. The emotional ebb and flow of a creative life

high tide“We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships,” Anne writes. low tide

When stuck in an ebb in our creative life, we’re afraid the flow is never coming back. An emotional ebb feels like abandonment. Diminished, we forget that this too will pass. Yet both the emotional ebb and flow of a creative life prove invaluable. Times of falling back aren’t forever. The flow hasn’t vanished for good. There will be times of ebb. Always returns the flow.

Ebb and Flow

Turns out that by mulling over ebb and flow for most of the month, I’ve experienced less drama and tension in my creative life, and in my personal life, too. Living at the beach, I witness daily just how dramatic the ebb and flow of the tide. Surging high tide covers everything in its path. Drama roars on the surface with whitecaps and raging winds and crashing waves. A receding tide reveals the shore and all sorts of treasures left behind for the finding and brings a sense of calm.  

When in the creative flow, we move quickly and effortlessly. We’re energized, pumped, passionate, excited, and enthusiastic. We act and react. Then, we falter, get sick, stub our toes, lose our momentum, feel a failure, and begin to doubt.

Ebb is Not the Time to Give Up

No matter how fabulous and productive and successful, the outgoing energy eventually must return. In our relentless surge forward, what is being covered over, missed, and hidden from us? In other words, being in the ebb of things isn’t so bad. Just because you had a fight with your significant other doesn’t mean you have to start planning your divorce. Just because your work, you, were rejected doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. Each cycle of the tide is valid. Each cycle of a relationship, of a day, of a creative life is valid. The energy recedes and returns eternally. Ebb and flow.

Thematic Significance

Anne explores how to remain open to life with whatever it may bring. How to “live from the core of inner stillness” while actively living a creative life in the here and now. My answer came in the concept of ebb and flow. sunrise in Pleasure PointAcknowledging when I’m in the ebb of whatever, allows me to accept this part of the cycle. Not run from it or change it. Not plan for a future of scarcity and loss. Accept the times of ebbing energy. In acceptance I’m able to use the time productively. Now I view setbacks, misunderstandings, loss and aloneness as times of inner stillness. Empty, I find is a keen time to reconnect to my core. Discovery, digging deep, exploring whatever is in the dark and bringing it out into the light replenish me and prepare me for the coming flow. I’m better able to live in balance trusting that the energy will again flow. 

Universal Story

Anne’s story mirrors the Universal Story. She begins with the “outer” side of life. Preparing for her time of solitude at the beach. She enters the exotic world of the middle when she grapples with the pain of being alone. Rather than run from it, she relearns how to be alone while differentiating between physical isolation and spiritual isolation.

With the help of a double sunrise shell she finds, she recommits to her creative self. “Women can best re-find herself by losing herself in creative activity of her own.” The dark night hits in the realization of the time of decline. Rather than run from the afternoon of life — 2nd half of life — she believes we’re free to grow the mind and for spiritual growth.

The Emotional Ebb and Flow of a Creative Life

The ebb and flow are like the scenes that fall above and below the line of the Universal Story. As much as the flow sends us flying forward, we also need empty space, too. In the luxury of silence we release what was, imagine what can be, and rest. Ultimately the ebb as much as the flow contributes to transformation — “…part of the process of life and its evolution.”