Craving Words, My Only Job is To Serve

Tiny Dancer by WickedNeuron, Flickr

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” ~ Martha Graham


I have been teaching creativity courses for over six years now. When I share the above quote from Martha Graham with my students, they sit mesmerized by the idea that there is a force that moves through them in such a way, and that their job is only to keep it theirs, clearly and directly. Their job is only ‘to keep the channel open’.

Now, I have experienced this life force moving through me many a time. Sometimes it is like fire. Sometimes it is fluid, like water. Sometimes, it feels more like a pressure that won’t rest until it is released through some physical form such as dance, yoga or sex. Sometimes this force simply wants to feel the warmth of the sun and the cool wash of a breeze. And, sometimes this force craves words. It just wants words.

I have understood Martha’s quote for sometime now. Over the last few days, though, I finally got it in my cells. I awoke during the night with the rush and clarity of this epiphany: my only job is to serve this force.

It’s not that I didn’t get this intellectually before. It’s what I teach. Up until this time, though, I have thought that my ego mind could outsmart this force. I have believed that the juicy ideas I come up with are somehow the fruits of this force. I could see that surrender was necessary, but somehow (and I know this is what the ego is so good at) I kept thinking I was surrendering.

My epiphany: I have no idea what is going to come out of this body as it writes, as it dances, as it does whatever it does when I do my job and serve this force. But, even though I don’t know, and this not knowing can scare the hell out of me, I now know that it is the only real love, the one truth. I only exist because this force has something to express and experience uniquely through this body.

When I write, and I have been experiencing this more and more as I blog each day, what comes comes. Words flow. They string together in unexpected ways, sometimes coming full circle in ways that delight me with their mysterious surprise.

I see images, sometimes. I write the words that express these images or I write the words that simply flow from my hands. As I write, feeling flows. It comes from someplace deep within. Sometimes it moves me to tears, as if I am reading something another has written. Sometimes, I don’t feel a thing. I hit publish. Others read. Some are moved. Sometimes I am surprised by this. Sometimes, I get it because I was moved. Sometimes, I am moved, but others don’t seem to be. I never know. It is a mystery.

I just know I must write. I just know I crave words. I just know there is beauty between the words.

I just know I crave music and an open floor to dance. I just know I must move. I just know that beauty flows from the dance. I just know the dance dances me, the writing writes me.

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Each day of December, I am moved by Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge:
Today is Day
26 Insight or aha! moment. What was your epiphany of the year?

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9 Replies to “Craving Words, My Only Job is To Serve”

  1. yes! yes! isn’t it amazing how once you get this rhythm of writing, once your muse knows that you’re serious about it, the words flow and once you’ve finished, you read back over it and wonder “did i write that?” there’s nothing better. nothing. and for the record, i am thoroughly enjoying your words.

  2. Jeanne, You are a delight to know. I love how I write this, and you know it. In the craving of words, the muse connects us. Beautiful. Thank you.

  3. This is beautiful – it reminds me of Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk on creativity – have you seen it? She asserts that the creative force is external, and visits us in maddeningly unpredictable ways – and your believe that your job is to serve that force echoes it (to me).
    Thank you!

  4. Lindsey, I do remember seeing her talk when it came out. For me, I can’t say if it is internal, external, or what. I just know it when it comes. When I saw your blog today, I was taken by that knowing again. It’s like a recognition when truth is heard, is read, is felt. Thank you!

  5. Julie, I could feel every word in my body and soul. Thank you for the opening, for the surrender. Truly exquisite, your words dance with the Goddess energy moving through the sacred vessel that you are!

    Thank you!


  6. I love this post. I love the Martha Graham quote too – it’s a while since I last read that. I had a similar epiphany this year and it changed so many things. Books I’ve read previously make much more sense now! Like you, I feel I have to be of service and this is part of my purpose. I think lots of magical things have happened in 2009 and many people out there have experienced their own epiphanies. Here’s to more magic in 2010!

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