Creativity should not be like pulling teeth. It should spark. It should fire. Most of all it should flow.
It should strike at 2.02am in the morning and bid you jump out of bed and answer its sudden calling. Like a stream of consciousness it should magically create meaning in ideas, words, art, imagination, invention, reYINvention.
It should not get stuck like some slow boat in the fast-moving, choppy river of life. Only it does. Writer’s block. A complete lack of inspiration. A dearth of ideas. A stagnant pool, a muddy sinkhole. Slow is good, stagnant sucks.
As I write this it seems that life is like pulling teeth, or the creative life at least.
We’re almost out the other side of a ‘perfect’ dental storm – the result of a long-held phobia, which meant we hadn’t been to a dentist for five years.
Fortunately I’ve gotten to know one of my lovely yoga students who happens to be a dentist (I can’t show you her face on camera, ha, ha), so I could finally face up to my fears.
Little Yang was in for the worst – having never been to a dentist (my bad), he did well on his first visit and then was referred to the paediatric specialist who recommended almost $3,000 work under general anesthetic. We balked at the anesthetic, the bill and scale of the work. So we opted to do the ‘urgent’ work – extracting two decaying molars, adding what’s called passive appliances to hold the gum spaces in place, and a stainless steel cap and crown. Poor Little Yang toughed out two visits, the first with happy gas, and he really was incredibly brave (Proud Mum boast)!
Miss Yin needed three teeth removed that should have fallen out by now, in preparation for braces (ouch) – one that was hanging on by a thread that she managed to extract herself, and the other two with a needle in the chair. She was very brave. (She also was very brave as the only junior dancer who performed a solo at the senior school assembly – Proud Mum boast #2).
Mr Yang needed a big filling that turned into a major cement filler job and the extraction of a broken wisdom tooth that had a nasty hook on it and required much yanking, twisting, pulling and ‘gnashing of teeth’ to get out. He was brave too.
Me, I’ve managed to get to (ahem) 47 years old without any fillings. I did however need to finally get a bridge and crown porcelain veneer to replace a 20+ old denture I’d worn that had replaced a crooked tooth I’d had pulled in my 20’s. So I copped more than an hour under the drill plus all the associated pushing and prodding. I was brave. I’m finishing off with teeth whitening as my ‘reward’.
So ironically I’m he only one who didn’t have to have any teeth pulled – instead I seem to have had some type of ‘creativity’ extraction, or at least the last little bit of my creative inspiration is hanging on by a thread.
Going to the dentist is a fact of life right (a fortunate privilege in our western world) – I guess for us it’s been a big deal because it meant facing fears – and financially it’s been a big deal too. Ouch.
And when you add a ‘big deal’ on top of regular busy life it is easy to end up with OVERWHELM. And overwhelm is certain to extract creativity faster than any dentist could.
Fear is a great creativity killer, so I’m pleased I’ve flexed my bravery muscle with the dentist. Unfortunately my dental phobia isn’t anywhere near as strong as my fear of being judged – I still have some gnashing and pulling of teeth to get over that one!
And I’m also attempting to ‘conquer’ overwhelm – the lovely Bron got the discussion going with this post last week.
I’m pretty sure I can’t cure overwhelm by doing more, so I’m aiming, for starters, to do less – in Fiji.
(Sorry to make you jealous but the alternative was dental photos)!
I’m hoping for a creativity injection in Fiji but in the meantime I’ll leave you with this simple equation.
Fear + Overwhelm = zero creativity. You can ponder that wherever you are, but a tropical island sure helps!