Have you ever not known how badly you needed something, until you finally got it? I had that kind of weekend, a lot of gratitude tears were shed. I’ve always been a make-do sort of girl, ’cause life doesn’t always throw you what you want. It took me a long time to make friends with my needs. I had a mentor, used to always say to me: how’s your neediness today? When I stopped getting angry when she asked that I knew I was finally okay with the part of me that knew I couldn’t do it alone.
Funny thing owning up to your needs, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll automatically get them met. So THAT pissed me off for a while.
And then I figured out how to need unconditionally, the same way I can love unconditionally. To love without expectation is a freeing kind of love; to admit to your needs, even if they aren’t getting met, is part of honouring yourself, even if the rest of the world is letting you down. Think about it, a Sudanese refuge is very much in need of some personal security, stability, and sheesh! probably a sandwich. Circumstances may be such they don’t get that, but for them to say: Yeah… no this homelessness and turmoil is fine, I’m good. Really. would be utterly absurd. But how often do we do that to ourselves?
The not-crazy thing to do is to say: Hey this is what I need… and once you know that, you can go about getting it. Sometimes you cobble it together from bits and pieces, make the best you can for yourself, until something else comes along to more fully fill that space. My spiritual life has been much like that. For a long time now I’ve known I needed a community, that to go deeper I couldn’t go alone. Because I have a foot in Christianity and a foot in the history of all my learning leading up to “picking a path” I’ve been feeling a discord in both my communities. Individual gems and treasures that each meet a part of what I need, but always wandering, making sure the other pieces got fed too. And never finding “community” in its entirety.
This weekend that changed. For the first time ever, how I saw the world and the language used to describe that world were in accord with an entire room full of people. What I felt was utter relief. Any part of myself I had to wall off to relate to others was blown wide open. Surrounded by a critical mass of people who quite simply weren’t afraid to love or be loved allowed me to relax and fully open to everything I needed at the deepest level imaginable. The risk of that, the fear of hoping, was frightful, but the reward astounding.
So yeah, pretty wild, and I’m still processing, but how this ties into creativity and my latest 100 days project (see, if you ride the tangent train long enough I eventually pull into the station) is the freaky way creative expression is tangled up in our dreaming and intuition. Art, in all its forms, gives voice to things we don’t have words for, whether they be wounds, needs, wishes, fears, dreams. Sometimes it isn’t until we’ve taken those indefinable things out to play for a while that we can see: oh yeah, THAT’S what that’s about.
Day 8 of my creativity project was celebrating Equinox with setting fire to all last year’s crap to let it go (on slips of paper, thus very cleverly NOT burning the house down) followed by making collage mandalas of what you’d like to bring in for the new year. Which basically is a little of owning up to what you need and what you wish for. The cool thing about the collages is it’s mostly images rather than words so your right brain can cue up all sorts of stuff you may not have realized you needed, and dare I say, your Spidey-sense might even tell you some stuff you may not have know was coming. I was more than a little floored to see a whole corner of my little collage come to life within days of its creation. Even as I made it I knew it was a little cluster for my spiritual life, hands grazing grass at sunset is a common meditation visual for me, but now I see all sorts of other layers of meaning that make a new kind of sense now.
Life can sometimes surprise you. And sometimes it surprises you by giving you exactly what you need. I’m astounded to find something I thought I would just always have to make-do fulfilled so utterly and completely. I fished my wish, as the kids say. It didn’t come on MY timeline, and it didn’t come where I was trying to make it happen, and I absolutely had to pull my head out of my ass and say Hellz ya when the unexpected fell in my lap, but I got exactly what I’d known I’d needed, without compromise, or having to tuck a wee little bit of my soul away.
Now that I know this is possible, I am super jazzed about some of the other images nested in this collage. In particular a major feature is a couple playing scrabble barefoot on a lush green carpet. I can already detect some subliminal needs in there. A relationship that’s companionable, a fella that’s clever, grounded, comfortable in his own skin. A fella, incidentally, edged by that spiritual corner. In the dating I’ve done I’ve always felt I’ve had to tuck away some corner of who I am, a different part for different guys, but some piece of me always felt left out. I’ve taken a time-out on the dating, I think in part because that spiritual side needed a lot more attention lately, but in part because I was just fed up, tucking away part of who I was all the time. I’d rather be all out, all by myself.
This realization that yes, sometimes you get to have your deepest needs answered, Fully, Completely, makes me want to dream bigger, believe harder, and risk more. And say Bugger That! to what society says a relationship should look like, and what is possible. It took me 20 years to find a spiritual community that fit my needs, it may take 20 more to find a fella (though God I hope not!), and I may not find it at all. But I will be damned if I’m gonna tuck away a piece of my soul and make-do on this one. The dreaming is in motion, we’ll just have to see what comes up.
Oh, and my mandala has some bahdonkadonk dancing. I’m gonna go manifest that reality Right Now. Join me? (sorry about the embedded commercial, alas! the internet is not perfect).
10 thoughts on “Creativity as Dreaming – wisdom on needing, and a rant about dating”
Oh my. Inspiring. I am not friends with my needs. I assume that my needs will destroy me. Needing unconditionally is something to try. I don’t know how to deal with needs I can’t satisfy. Maybe you have found a way to resist instant gratification.
When I am hungry, I hurry to eat. I am okay with my hunger but I make it a priority. Same with other physical needs. It’s hard for me to picture any other kind.
I have learned not to feel forced to fill other people’s needs. Useful, but maybe that’s also how I started denying all our needs.
Great thinking Val. I’ll just add that in our society of wants and haves, it is sometimes very difficult to realize what your true needs are. Thus taking us a long time to sort out through the mass mumbo jumbo of our over materialized modern society. A friend, an acquaintance, a professional can point out many times to what your needs are because their view is so much clearer where they stand, but until you see and recognize them yourself, you set yourself on the path of self denial.
Thank you for opening my eyes so many times and helping me find my own path to my own needs. It took me awhile to be at peace with myself too. But it is liberating.
Sounds like true needs are close to true priority, or even true dreams? Yay liberation. :o) jyanti
Really good comments guys. Figuring out out what you “really” need can be tricky for sure. Completely devoid of class, I mostly recognize my deepest needs when I find myself flameraging in situations – when I step back, I see what I’m really angry about is a need that is REALLY not getting met. That helps me shift to getting that need met rather than trying to “fix” the situation that’s making me angry.
I think it’s a huge risk, the vulnerability of admitted to what you need, especially when you’re in a state of not getting it. It’s really hard to do, but I think not doing it ends up worse.
Yup, class, grace, and dignity sound so good, they look good in the stories, but really life, intimacy, and turning points are messy, awkward, clumsy, to the extreme. Not sure about class, but there is a special kind of dignity in honest struggle.
And maybe the guy you would love to share your life with is waiting for you in your new spiritual group? Manifest him! ;-)
Sounds to me like some of the guys you actually have tried loving were pretty good, but they came along at the wrong time in their own lives. Ouch, mon amie, collateral damage. Though I don’t think I actually met any of them…
Maybe in permitting myself to need, I will start with needs that I might become able to meet all by myself. Underneath some of what we need from other people is a deeper essence that is what we can give to ourselves, often. Oops, some needs and not others is… conditional.
Also when we turn inward, the people that we have been clutching at relax, and everyone around becomes less afraid to offer. Maybe when we need unconditionally, we become less tensed, less afraid of ourselves, freeing our own wisdom channels.
Interesting, Valerie. For me, unheeded needing leads to despair, depression, desperation, rather than flame rage. I’ve always wondered about the saying that depression is anger turned inward. Does anyone have proof?
I used to volunteer facilitate healing circles. (I made tea, passed kleenex, and listened for red flags.) It amazed me how most women with the talking stone answered their own questions, moved forward with their coping plans. Yet a minority did not, instead digging in deeper, mostly the same people from week to week. Were they not hearing themselves talk? Or were they hearing themselves, yet had too little to work with?
Yeah, I don’t know. I always felt anger was a self defensive reaction to being hurt. Depression seems more like not even having the chuff to kick back against pain. Both are responses to not getting what you need, I guess. Maybe when you’re angry you still believe you should get it.
Hmm, thanks for the thought. Of course depression hurts. My depressions are very chemical, like freight train coming through don’t bother putting a million dollars on the train track chemical. I am angry when I’m depressed, but it’s probably a secondary response – angry at losing all hope and pleasure, angry at the depression chemicals and my helplessness versus suffering them. I still believe I should get my hope and pleasure, not because I am deserving (depression low self esteem) but because most people get theirs (depression envy.) I need better brain chemicals! I need chemical improvement! Though I know I have survived.