Last Sunday I came to Kripalu, the main center for yoga and spiritual healing in the Northeast. Aka a place secretly tucked in-between the magic Berkshire Mountains and the white, puffy, 3-D clouds of the summer sky.
I came for a creative writing workshop, and the setting could’ve not be more conducive to producing free-flowing, juicy, extraordinary ideas. Creativity was practically an additional air element here, still to be discovered by a chemist.
It was hard to get out of my head. From the moment I walked through the Center’s door, I’ve been analyzing, dissecting, questioning everything that came across my eyes or ears. Like a computer that is never turned off. Like a computer that doesn’t even get into a sleep mode.
In our Sunday evening class (the first out of six), own writing teacher Karen, a tall brunette with a highly expressive face, asked us to come up with one adjective that captured the essence of our childhoods. Then, we had to run (literally) around the room and find people who described their own childhoods in a similar way.
Adventurous. Lonely. Poised. Boring. World’s best. Painful. Brave….
I listened closely to other people’s descriptors, thinking, noticing, classifying the great diversity of answers. I wasn’t moving around the room freely. I couldn’t! My energy was spent on creating the Periodic Table of Elements about childhoods, not directing my body to move for the sake of movement.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy intellectual stimulation, a good conversation, an astute observation, but even then in the midst of a fun activity I was trying to analyze how my analytical mind works and why it wasn’t doing things differently. Ha!
Karen talked about our inner critics, and at some point she suggested to imagine them as characters in a play. She said, “Give them a personality, a body, an outfit. Make them real.”
So I asked myself, “How would mine look like?”
Holy cow! This is scary! She would look nearly exactly like me!
But I do have other parts of self, including those that are sentimental, creative, spontaneous, funny, actually really funny, but during the exercises only the analytical and serious me came through.
It was hard to connect with the other parts in that moment. We talked earlier in the class about what we forgot to pack. Maybe that’s what I left at home. I forgot to pack the creative me together with a bikini, shorts, and flip-flops.
I came for a workshop to work on how to be a creative writer after all. So the fun Janna can take a break, right?
Wrong! I needed to FedEx my creative self overnight, just in time for our 8:30 AM session. Or even better, I could run barefoot through the tall green grass, use scissors to turn my jeans into Daisy Dukes, or to go skinny dipping in the lake at night. Perhaps, I’d even start a trend. Seriously, who needs the bikini when your vivid imagination is back?
In fact, mine was never left behind. It just got carried away by counting the blades of uncut grass, dancing among wild daisies, and finding shapes in the clouds.
What’s the shape of your imagination?