I’ve just come out of it. This time a little more worse for wear. A few kilos heavier, some residual brain fog, a fierce desire to claw my way up and out.
The void. I had never given it that label until last week. I met a wise woman, actually I had been searching for her for a while, and she named it.
That space that exists in between.
When she spoke those two words. “The Void” I felt the weight of it physically press against me as I held back tears just listening to her voice. She was describing her experience having been in it and through it before.
I have become accustomed to it but I never quite know how long it will last or what long-term effects it might have on me. I do know that it passes. I do know not to fight it.
I fully recognized the depth of its existence after I launched my first online teacher training. I had gone so deep into the zone of creating what I felt was my life’s greatest work, every cell of my body was invested in the creation. Once it was birthed and raised by the village that chose to carry it forward, a strange thing happened.
The void. A hole that felt like it existed within me, all around me. Like I had spent all of my creativity tokens and withdrawn all my vision funds. Like I had nothing left.
No, it’s not exhaustion. The void is not burnout. It is nothingness.
So I asked other creatives about it. Did they feel empty after working on a huge project? Did they feel like part of their being had been sucked out and only time and the next wave of creativity would bring it back?
Many of them mildly resonated. But maybe they just got over it and moved on, maybe their lives were so busy and they didn’t live by the tides of inspiration like I do. Maybe they never met the void.
So I thought I could get void-savvy. I thought I could outsmart it. I booked “vacations” after big projects, I thought if I couldn’t beat the nothingness I would do nothing and simply be on post-project holiday. It kinda, sorta worked. But I always felt like I “should” be doing something.
Then I just learned not to fight it, not to need to know when the next project would come to me, just trust that it would.
I learned I have to ride the waves exactly as they come, not a minute sooner or later. Like right now, I am writing this slumped over my kitchen bench tapping away on my phone, this thought about “the void” came to me while I was washing the dishes and I know for certain if I don’t write it down immediately then the wave will wash over me never to return. So I get it out while I can. So far this email is flowing along pretty smoothly. No editing required. Big wave, good wave, just the right size, lucky I had my board…I mean, phone right beside me.
Then the Biggest Hoop Workout came along. It was one of the greatest hoop related things I had created, in person, an event. It had a lot of moving parts and consumed much of my energy and thoughts from August to November last year. I was so in the flow of creation and all things leading up to it that I forgot the void was coming, or maybe I chose just to ignore it. Life was good, busy, creative, full, exciting, I was consumed with doing what I loved.
The event was a brilliant success, people came from all around, everyone left smiling with hearts full and hoops on their shoulders. Mission accomplished.
Monday after the event came and went, no void. Tuesday, Wednesday still flying high. Then without me really noticing the tide started to wash out. I took shelter on my couch and rekindled my love affair with ice cream. It felt like balance. Until it didn’t. Until it felt like nothingness.
This time I didn’t move. I didn’t feel like sharing. I didn’t stay connected to all of the things that kept me afloat. I think this void had expanded a little, a few extra rooms in the house, grief, the aging process and weight gain. All part of the physical experience but I probably could have avoided that last one if I had chosen vegetables instead of sugar. I started to sink. But I’m a really good swimmer (for reals) I could be washed out to sea and you wouldn’t realize I was drowning. I know how to keep myself just above the water. And then I wait. For the waves.
This time though I called for help. Lifelines. Flotation devices. Ice cream wasn’t giving me the answers. I needed a team this time round. I reached out to a wise woman. A mentor. A healer. A Reiki master. And an Angel disguised as an acupuncturist.
See I can’t do it on my own anymore and I stubbornly thought I could in the past. But the truth is I was never truly alone, none of us ever are. We are surrounded by lifeguards. All we have to do is raise our hands and they will come running, even if we can’t see them on the shore.
Oh and p.s. I have you to thank too, for the helping hand up you gave me. These Sunday Sessions were born out of the void, as a way to reach out. You answered. Thank you for seeing me waving my hand, thank you for throwing me this towel as I dragged myself back to shore. I hope I can repay you.