I’ve been writing and processing about life, meaning, and moving forward at https://storygarden.substack.com. It’s my attempt to inspire authentic living. I hope you will check it out. That writing collided with me personally and professionally in a beautiful way. This occurred during a time that is unclear to me, during which I am wondering how to move forward. Sometimes, I think about stepping away from training workshops altogether in order to focus my creative energy in other directions. Then, sometimes, I see how it all fits together and I experience there is enough energy for everything.
We often look for signs to tell us how to move forward in the future. We then spin “meant to be” stories around that as comfort. These may provide us with the courage to take steps toward the things we want. “It’s meant to be … here I go.” The downside is when we no longer want them because perhaps our desires have changed or maybe it simply wasn’t a good situation. Then, we have to face the fact that the narrative was wrong … or we decide the narrative was right and we force an undesirable situation to work. After all, who likes to be wrong? Especially when it comes to narratives regarding our sense of meaning and purpose.
I’ve shifted my thinking about such narratives. Now, I don’t know that anything is “meant to be.” Rather, I move forward and listen for confirmations.
Confirmations don’t tell us what we ought to do. They tell us when we are on the “right” path. Rather, they tell us when we are in a true expression of self in the here and now moment.
As I was putting together the slide presentation for the workshop, Exploring Religious and Spiritual Themes in Play Therapy, I experienced a confirmation.
I was putting together a slide about music as a way to explore religious and spiritual themes. Specifically, I was typing about the benefits of listening to composed music as well as the process of composing music. Meantime, my 7-year-old was “playing” guitar in the background. It was a nice soft tune so I paused my Spotify playlist. His music had accompanied me for much of the morning.
Then, he paused.
“Did you like the last song I wrote?”
“I enjoyed it very much. Did you?”
“Yes. It’s a song about two kids in the desert trying to go home. One of the kids was voting for going home and to stop looking for the dragon. The other kid said, ‘We should not give up and keep on looking.'”
“Ahhh, so they were looking for a dragon and both want to do different things now,” I reflected.
“Yes. They are looking for him because they found clues and know that he exists. They are getting closer, but they haven’t found him. You don’t know this, because I didn’t tell you but the music is them singing, “Come with me, plea, plea, please. I want to be surviving.”
“Who are they saying that to?” I asked.
“Each other,” he said.
“So they both want to survive. One wants to survive by returning home. The other wants to survive by finding the dragon.”
“Yes,” he affirmed that I was hearing what he was saying.
I was curious: “If you were in the story, which boy would you be?”
“Well, I am brave and curious, so I would be the boy who wants to find the dragon.”
Our conversation continued. Music is often associated with significant life events, strong emotions, and social connections (Avent, 2016). Our discussion was rather deep without seeming deep as we discussed the dragon metaphor and his own journey … in purely playful terms.
I’m glad he has access to play and creativity on his journey of discovering himself. Furthermore, I’m glad we have a relationship in which he engages me in the process.
Even though I was engaged in my own creative process, he entered the sacred (as in a separated space with the purpose of supporting my creative processes), overlapping (as in a space designed for right/light brain integration) space of my office and presence. He sat in my periphery. It was all the presence/overlapping space he needed. We came into contact, with and without eye contact, as he chose: First as musician/listener. Then as mother/son and co-explorers of his story.
Like many other people, perhaps even you, this pandemic has invited reflection. Consequently, I’ve continued to shift my priorities. I’ve been thinking about how to move forward with my creative endeavors. I’ve decided to do what feels right at the moment and listen to confirmations rather than making an action-oriented plan. I’ll discover where I end up when I get there. This is new for me.
I am grateful for this confirmation: It’s OK to be here, now, even though I don’t know where this path will lead. This is right where I am and I don’t need to change a thing at this moment.
Avent, J. R. (2016). This is my story, this is my song: Using a musical chronology and the emerging life song with African American clients in spiritual bypass. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 11(1), 39.