This post originally appeared on April 5, 2016.
How do you know when big things are shifting? What does it feel like for you right before something you've been working on takes a big jump forward? The creative process and personal growth are both a series of emotional ups & downs, and getting to know your tendencies can be a game-changer.
For some people, there's a sense of tension, friction, or butterflies in the stomach right before the inspiration for the final step arrives. Some people feel irritable for no apparent reason, others feel unwell - headaches, malaise, sore throats may be experienced at this stage of the game. Others describe a profound sense of calm.
For me, the image that comes up is a slingshot - that moment when the pocket is pulled back and you know as soon as you let go the shot is going to fly. Sometimes I'm the hand pulling back the pocket, sometimes I'm the shot - the feeling is just about the same, though.
Once I figured that out, things got interesting. I began to pay attention to the process, to when that dragged-back tension started to build; I noticed when I started to feel "off," energized but unfocused, cranky, and like I just wanted to crawl back into bed and hide until the feeling passed. I learned to let it be, rather than freak out and resist it. Flailing through it is like flailing in quicksand - not a good idea.
I'm not always good at it, as people close to me can attest, but I do have the awareness and sometimes I'm able to step back and see it.
When I do, it seems to speed up the action. I can actually feel the stress response in my body lower, and I can sidestep a rabbit hole of self-doubt and insecurity. I can release the need to feel stuck. I gain some clarity, and see that the growth, the progress, the movement is happening. It's like a commercial for self-awareness: "Studies show that familiarity with one's creative process reduces fear and frustration by up to 93% (individual results may vary)."
What are you creating? Where in your life are you making changes, lighting things up, moving to the next level? What are your signals that it (whatever "it" is) is about to take a huge leap?
Gather that information for yourself.
And notice what happens.