At the end of October last I was in need of some serious recharging, my batteries were totally flat and I longed for some time off.
As they say, the universe promptly delivered. A couple of projects that were in the pipeline didn’t materialize and so I was left with a lot of time in my hands.
Instead of rejoicing I panicked. I blamed it on the recession, my discomfort fuelled by too much radio news listening. Feeling myself being dragged down into the general doom and gloom I finally accepted that I had been given the much desired time for renewal and so I threw myself into it. I signed up for a series of lectures where I could sit and receive rather than deliver, and there I made new friends. I made plans and invented new projects for the year ahead.
Over the winter holidays I slept a great deal, my nights filled with vivid dreams that made me want to delay waking up. I went for long restorative walks, my head full of ideas that I needed to work out. I watched lots of movies and let those stories do their work, replenishing my imagination which is the number one tool I need for my work.
Early in January I prepared and ran a workshop for children carefully creating an indoor winter wonderland with branches, rocks, driftwood and fake snow made of wool. As the children arrived and settled into the space I asked if they had had any dreams the night before but they could not remember.
“I had a dream …” I ventured, and gradually as silence came down and every face turned towards me I felt the power of storytelling raising as I started to pull in all the elements of a winter tale: a snowy owl, a white bear and the old reliable Ice Queen.
I was making up the story as I went along until I felt carried by it and it worked. My time out was paying off.
At the end of the story the children started to work, absorbed in their task with the total concentration that only children are capable of. After the break, having eaten a large amount of biscuits and full of energy, the children asked if they could build a winter wonderland themselves. So they ran out into the field and came back with stones, branches and moss and worked until a landscape of hidden caves, huts and cottages made of shells and leaves covered the big table, while another group were making snow fairies.
At the end of the day I felt physically tired but also rejuvinated by the children’s own energies.
I feel great now in the year of the Dragon having also learned three valuable lessons:
– listen to the news but keep your cool
– make new plans and keep creating
– keep dreaming, it is good for you.