When considering our creativity, it’s helpful to think of it in this way: “Growth happens in the light, transformation in the darkness.”
Growth has to do with creative manifestation, our ability to use our resources, planning skills, and volition to turn our insights into reality.
Transformation, however, are those experiences that bring about creative insights in the first place: out of the darkness of confusion, uncertainty, and not knowing emerges the light of transformation, the spark of insight.
Here’s how I put it in The Shoreline of Wonder: On Being Creative, specifically in relation to the Cosmic Dark Ages, that time between the Big Bang and the emergence of the first stars, a span of total darkness, amazingly, of well over a hundred thousand years.
Out of this inconceivably hot, densely packed cosmic plasma there came a time when the conditions were finally favorable for a positively charged proton to capture in its orbit a negatively charged electron. The first atoms, primarily hydrogen and helium, were born, creating a whole new universe with unforeseen opportunities for further changes.
This atomic universe was a curious beast. In comparison to the chaos of the plasma universe, it was far more organized. And it grew colder and darker with each passing moment. Imagine the quality of the universe at that time, still expanding rapidly, full of newly formed hydrogen and helium atoms, and totally dark, prompting cosmologists to call this time “The Cosmic Dark Ages.”
Perhaps in your own creative pursuits you’ve experienced such a time, groping along in the darkness, unsure of what to do next. Such times are also part of the creative process and even though they can be uncomfortable, they sometimes lead to amazing things. As a friend of mine once told me on the eve of the fall equinox, ‘Growth happens in the light, transformation in the darkness.’
How have times of darkness, either the shorter days of the year or times of uncertainty and confusions, contributed to your own creative growth? I’d love to know in the comment section below.