Many people dislike endings, especially if they’ve been enjoying a great play, a bottle of wine, the best week of summer camp, a movie or a book that was so engrossing they didn’t want it to end!
Other people can’t wait for something to be over, especially if the experience is really bad. Think of a 3 hour movie with sub-titles, a song (99 bottles of beer on the wall) or a project (sponge painting the walls in your entire house in the 90’s). And still others LOVE a GREAT ending, you know, where the beginning and middle are so rich that it leads to a climax and a surprising ending, that matches the quality of the entire screenplay. Or, because you end up with a great online product after all that campaigning and marketing!
Does a great ending leave you with something to inspire you for a long time after, whereby simply recalling it, gives you pleasure or inspiration over and over again?
Or is there something else? When it comes to the end of your project, song, painting, does it even have an end? Does it ever truly complete? What is the end of your song… your project? How would you know if it were done? All of these creations then go out and encounter other beings. Is it complete after one person sees it or hears or reads it? Two? Ten? Ten thousand? Ten million?
Are you waiting for perfection before anyone else sees it? Is it the end when you’ve perfected something about it? Is it the end when you decide it to be so?
Some folks are unwilling to end something.
One of the biggest oopses I’ve made and see others making is not knowing when something is over. In relationships, in a painting, in a story. Please allow yourself to know when your project, song, relationship or poem is dead and either let it die all the way, or move on to something else. If you’re not sure if it’s dead, ask: Is my project dead, my relationship over, or is it in the middle, incubating and creating itself? Asking this question will open doors to the awareness you’re looking for. And if you’ve got blinders on, ask a trusted friend for a second opinion. They will tell you, if you are willing to hear it! Make sure you ask someone who doesn’t have any attachments to what you are creating, or to your success or failure.
All is not lost if your creations DIE (Destroying Itself Entirely) or you behead them. Recall the old movie scenes where writers crumpled typewritten sheets into balls and tossed them into the trashcan as they compulsively smoked, wrinkled their foreheads and sweated over a “dead” line? You could say that all those ideas and crumpled papers were a “waste” but are they a waste if you have killed them and you don’t go back over them? It’s just one less thing you have to think about or write about! Picasso said something like “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.”
Creating Beyond 3 Stages
As we have been exploring beginnings, middles and ends, in the last three weeks, I’ve been watching myself enjoy writing this blog triptych. I easily enjoyed the beginning of this blog. But when I started writing about the middle and transitioned to the end, it got kind of sticky. It lacked the flow that the beginning had. And now that I’m talking about the ends of things, I feel that familiar sense of panic:
Am I done yet?
Is this winding down now?
Is there something I’m forgetting to say? Could I be dragging this on beyond your attention span?
So, while we’re both waiting for the end, let me give you a brief illustration about a totally different way of being with the creative process. And besides, it will give me some time to come up with a great ending!
Going beyond the 3 stages of creation.
I’ve travelled a lot in my work since 2004, and I love to sneak in some outdoor adventures when I can. Once when I was in Costa Rica, a nature guide informed us that the vegetation is very unique in that the gardens simultaneously have all 3 stages of creation going on. When you look around, dying and dead plants are intermingled with sprouting new leaves as well as the robust full blossoming of brilliant flowers! All at the same time!
What if it were that way with all of your creations?
What if in your relationships, there were the beginnings of something new every day as well as the sloughing off of old hurts and memories? Instead of trying to create just one poem, one project, one painting, have several on the go and then you can ask each day what does each project require of you? Knowing what stage each project is in can be very helpful, in order to direct your energy and attention. If your painting is in the beginning phase, it requires different attention than when it is in its incubation phase or ready to “show” phase.
And if you had several creations, destructions and middles on the go simultaneously, what could that add to your living art? The art of your living?
What I’m saying is that while all of these stages of creation can have their bumps, and we may enjoy some of them more than others, the truth is we have the ability to create….beyond anything! We have the capacity to contribute our energy, to enjoy the different aspects and ask our creations some powerful questions about what, when and where THEY desire to be in the world.
Do you get that? We get to enjoy every moment of our creations!
Even this one: The End