Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much she knows
~ from Space Oddity by David Bowie
Remember that film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? Walter Mitty is the classic example of people like you and me, who have dreams they’re not living out.
How did Mitty spend his time at the beginning of the film?
He worked in the archives room of an adventure magazine daydreaming his life away that he was out on adventures.
His abusive boss would cruelly call him back to reality by calling him Major Tom. You know, the one Bowie sang about in Space Oddity? The one who gets lost in space?
Here’s the thing.
Space Oddity is all about exploring your inner space. It’s not a sci-fi or an outer space song like some would think. Within your own mind, your truths lie and those are the things you must go after on your outer journey, what we project out to “real life”.
What’s the secret to exploring your inner space without getting lost in there? You should try to find out what you’re about if you wish to keep going on the creative journey and not run out of fuel and get lost in space. Anything that doesn’t form your foundations and doesn’t come from your very heart and core, you will abandon when things get tough. It’s important to find the true things, the true values to keep moving forward.
For Walter Mitty, his ultimate value was adventure. When he went out on an adventure to rescue the lost negatives including the photo that would make the cover of the magazine, he travelled to places where he had to stare down death. All along, it was the spirit of the adventure and not the fear of losing his job, which kept him moving forward and around obstacles to grab a hold of the life he wanted.
How do we make like Mitty, launch ourselves out of our comfort zones and get to a place where things start to flow?
And how do we get to a place where our spaceship, that is our outer body, knows where it’s going without getting lost in the space of critical thoughts that incapacitate us?
It’s hard. You have to explore your inner mind but not get lost in there and also find clarity despite the distractions of the outer journey.
I would recommend two things to find your balance between your inner and outer journeys.
Firstly, take the time to get familiar with who you are. Chances are if you haven’t had a chance to roam wild, be without a to-do list or a job for a while, you’ve lost touch with yourself. You’ve become a cog in the wheel, fulfilling your role as an employee, wife, mother or someone who merely serves others’ priorities.
To identify your core values, I’d recommend taking a look at a new website I found by Scott Jeffrey who coaches CEOs. Don’t think you’re a CEO? Think again. We are all running our own lives. We all assign roles to the people around us, make decisions and figure out the best places to spend our money and time. We are all chief executors of our own decisions.
Get to know yourself and this means getting down to your roots, your personal values.
The second thing is simple. Do the work. You’re a writer? Write. You’re a painter? Paint. Seek out others who are doing the work and keep yourself accountable on finishing your book, paintings or getting into a state where you’re putting out one creative piece of work out onto the universe every day.
It’s become easy to share your creativity. Take a photo of what you’ve made and send it to some friends.
As Seth Godin says, if you’ve finished a novel and are looking for a publisher, well try this out first.
Send the novel to ten people whose tastes you trust. Get them to read it. If they come back to you saying they liked it so much that they shared it with their friends, then you know you’re onto something. If that doesn’t happen, get back to the drawing board.
Write another novel.
Having a compass (not a map) to guide you is essential. Your values are that compass. Your work is the path you take and the more of it that you do, you will flow through the work until you get to obstacles. Self-doubt and uncertainty will reveal themselves.
Remember, what kills dreams according to Barbara Sher? It’s not negative thinking. By all means, acknowledge all of the negative shit you’re feeling. Curse at all the people you hate, vent out your frustrations to your heart’s content, go deep with the dark shit. As Barbara says Jazz is an art form found on acknowledging of “negative” emotions. But do this one thing. Have a support group around you.
Over to you…
What’s your gift that you’re expressing to the world? Are you stuck? How will you find a support group to help you get out of the stuck-ness?