Day 1, Dwelve 2005
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery everyday. Never lose a holy curiousity. - Albert Einstein
"Never lose a holy curiosity" - that's the mantra for the saturation phase. (Could be a life mantra too.)
It's a time to luxuriate in being a sponge: soak up inspiration and information and follow your intuition down new paths (hopefully from unlikely sources) of inspiration and information.
Don't pin down answers yet. Stay open to coming up with good questions and remaining curious above all else. Listen. Listen. Listen.
I may have misled you in yesterday's post. This particular creative process has never been framed around executing a concrete project. I usually had plenty of projects in various stages of undress and felt "blah" about them. Murky. Yep. Murky is how I felt. Murky is how they felt.
Lack of resolute clarity and commitment - nothing screams gasp-worthy, period - is the number one reason I embark on this journey...
So the entire process is framed around a question, not a specific project per se. The vision of and implementation of a gasp-worthy WOW! project (more nods to Tom) - in truth, usually an entire series of integrated projects - is the outcome. If I already had a remarkable WOW! project that resonated with me I'd be plowing into it right now no holds barred.
So the outcome is not necessarily a better project A or project B or project C. You'll come out with project Z that weaves elements of A, B, and C but in a gasp-worthy synthesis you have not an inkling of today. And it throws in a dash of now hidden elements Q and W as well.
For me, the question has some variation of: What do I really want to do now? What to do? What?!! Yes, it can be that vague (and, uh, desperate) and work. Works miraculously, in fact.
My very first time, I bought a journal (and I've been journaling since). Using the eight-week plan in the book, Clarity Quest, as my trusty guide, the process culminated in an "advance" (if you are new here that's my terminology for a special kind of retreat) in the red labyrinth canyons in southern Utah. As I sat on a boulder with marble striped rock chess pieces strewn about the expanse below, I was two months into a separation and a year into unemployment (and that after a bitter start-up implosion).
The second time, I had just moved to Silicon Valley in fall of 2002. I was feeling confused as what the heck possessed me to move straight to the heart of the tech slump.
The third time, I still had the wisps of memory of a magical two-month trip to Mexico and Guatemala in my mind. I felt unclear returning to the Bay Area. A year-long assignment with a European telco had also come to a close, and I wasn't exactly sure what I longed to do next.
Now, this is the fourth time...
Trust me. Do not seek answers yet.
Step 2: Ask your question.
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. -Chinese Proverb