Friday, February 03, 2006

Slumps, Blocks and Dry Spells

Writers are stopped cold by writer's block. Big hitters and sales professionals go into slumps. Creative types hit dry spells. It is a universal truth that high performers run into walls from time to time. Whether it's the star executive moving between high profile companies or the grade four teacher who suddenly finds it takes all her energy to go through the motions, everything that goes up comes back down. Unless we are working with the wrong metaphors.

One of the perks of integrated thinking is the ability to keep a part out of the integration so that I can observe my own thinking as it unfolds. As I do, I become aware that a 'block' or 'dry spell' is frequently a period when I am processing so much that information is not quite able to struggle towards the light of conscious awareness and language. A pregnancy is not a dry spell, although it takes nine months to show productive results.

The tension of the block might not be an irritable reaching for something that is not there. It might, instead, be the tension of ideas that are growing and zooming and colliding and embracing, all just beneath the level of awareness. These times when words have trouble holding experience might be signs that we are growing too fast to fit into the structures we have created for ourselves, signs that we are no more dormant than the bulbs which sit under snow and earth. Those bulbs are not waiting for the spring, they are growing into it.

A gardener helps the bulbs grow. That part of your mind that stays out of the integration, those conscious processes that get left out during periods of rapid growth--they can play gardener. You can ask yourself "what's growing down there?" With the steady assurance that fresh energy and fresh ideas will push their way to the surface at the appropriate moment, you can watch for the first signs of new growth, welcoming them and protecting them from marauding squirrels.

2 comments:

Nat A Raja said...

Yes, I think I understand what you're saying but I'm finding it difficult to make space for my own evolution. It is time for me to move on and evolve and become something new but getting there, I feel stumped. Yes, I want change but making it happen seems so difficult.

Linda said...

It's hard to become "something new." Try putting a specific metaphor in that sentence instead - are you trying to become a racehorse or a rose? Then explore the metaphor (what is this thing like and how does it develop?). At some point, you will either notice that you are changing, or notice that you need to change your metaphor.