Friday, February 28, 2014

Develop An Exquisite Understanding Of Your Own Timing

Timing isn't everything, it's the only thing.

And the great creative discipline is simply knowing what season it is.

And that means much more than the changing of the leaves or the melting of the snow or setting your clocks back an hour. The word “season” actually comes from the French saison, which means, “the right moment, the appropriate time.”

And our job as communicators, people whose work involves creating something and then turning it loose in the world, is to develop an exquisite understanding of our own timing.

Let’s use breathing as an example.

From a respiratory perspective, there are three possible actions.

Inhaling, exhaling and pausing.

When we breathe in, our lungs inflate, sucking air in and pushing the ribs up and out, forcing the diaphragm down, inhaling fresh air. This action represents the season of inspiration. And when the air comes gusting in, it’s our duty to shit up and listen to what wants to be written.

When we breathe out, our lungs deflate, blowing air out and pushing the ribs down and in, pulling the diaphragm up, exhaling stale air. This action represents the season of creation. And when the air goes swirling out, it’s our duty to honor the flow and work until the vein is out.

When we pause, our lungs don’t really deflate or inflate, they just sort of relax and run idle and take a brief look around until the body decides what to do next. This action represents the season of intermission. And when the respiration goes on hold, it’s our duty to stay present enjoy the sacred space between.

Now, physiologically, each of these actions only lasts a few seconds.

Unless you’re a sea turtle who can hold his breath for seven hours.

But psychologically and emotionally and existentially, each of these actions can last anywhere from an hour to a week to a month to a year.

It all depends on what season it is in our creative life.

And since there’s not much we can do to control that, the best we can hope for is to hone that discipline and to creatively leverage the right moment and the appropriate time.

Are you inhaling, exhaling or pausing?