Sludge, Flow & Hallelujah


“What is the source of our first suffering?
It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak.
It was born the moment we accumulated silent things within us.”
~Gaston Bachelard


I’ve been a creativity catalyst now for seven years. At least, that is, professionally.

What’s a creativity catalyst, you ask? A sparker. An illuminator. A mirror. A container. A lover.

For my entire life, I’ve been creative. I’m not talking artistic. I’m talking creative. I’m talking the most basic ability of every living being – the ability to express the impulse that is life itself.  It’s just nature. Like the seed as it grows into what it is destined to become. The ability to express the unfathomable mystery into being. This is creativity. We all have it. We all are it. It’s our nature. It’s our design.

You are creative. It is your nature. Somewhere, within, a voice is sparking you on to grow, to express, to love, to risk, to voice.

Sometimes when people have been silent for too long, their inner plumbing is stopped up. Junk is in the pipes. The junk that adheres around those silent things we accumulate when we don’t trust our own impulse to express.

When expression begins to flow again, it can come out in fits and starts, belching and coughing along as the pipes are cleaned of all that was used to stop them up. You know what I’m talking about? All the crap you and I internalized about our inability to be ‘properly’ creative. To properly speak. To be proper in the act of creation. To NOT express what simply wanted to be said, done, written, painted, danced, loved. AND, to NOT express our own anger, sadness, sense of rejection, sense of futility, insert your feelings here ___________________, because we were told we must plug up the pipes.

So when we first begin to trust our impulse to express, the sludge just might come out first. And the flow might be bumpy and rocky, sort of like when the water is shut off for a bit, then turned back on. The pipes rattle. The water spits. Until the flow returns. The little self, the ego, wants to control the flow, so it can be very careful about what first appears out of the faucet (faucet being mouth, hands, feet, head, body) – all the parts of the body that the divine mystery uses to express through.

One little very important thing here – the sludge is an important part in turning on the flow again. It’s important to allow it through. You don’t have to stop to examine it in minute detail. You don’t have to create and sing another Hallelujah chorus in its name (save that for the Mystery). You don’t have to judge it as it appears. But, if you do, that’s part of the flow, too. You just might do all these things, ’cause you might just be really curious about the sludge, about what’s stopped up your pipes for so long.

I’m writing this today, because over the past few weeks, a number of women have approached me feeling ‘something’ within them wanting to express what’s inside. Specifically, they are wanting to blog with vulnerability. They want to begin to write from a more personal point of view, and at the same time, fear being too personal and vulnerable with their potential audience. They fear expressing their own unique expression.

If this reminds you of YOU, remember what Gaston Bachelard said, that our suffering comes from our hesitation to speak.

When I first began to write my websites and newsletters over eight years ago, each word I typed was so carefully crafted. I opened the pipes just a tiny, tiny bit. Maybe a trickle. Even though I created art, words that went into the cyberworld were very carefully crafted. And then, I began to find my voice. Oh, it’s been a long time coming. Not because my voice wasn’t ready. More because I thought I couldn’t find it. The pipes were rattling. The water was spitting. I kept putting my hand over the end of the hose, causing the water (voice) to spray all over, to go all cattywampus. All the while, that ‘something’ inside pushed to get out. That urge to sprout, to grow, to become was still doing its thing.

I know, deep in the marrow of my bones, this urge knows exactly what it’s doing. Trust it. It’s a lot more intelligent than the small self gives it credit for. It knows the imprint at the center of your seed. It just wants to become what it’s meant to grow into.

Oh, and by the way, I found a juciy bit-o-sludge just yesterday. I did check it out for a bit. Couldn’t resist.

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8 Replies to “Sludge, Flow & Hallelujah”

  1. once again, i read something birthed from your heart and as i read, i nod and smile, i relax and say aloud “true. true.” to unclog those pipes takes tenacity and resolve and sometimes, armor. the ensuing sludge is sometimes smelly and gucky, and as you say: you can examine it in minute detail or not. i think about it through a big lens – and was doing that very thing last night. thinking about how bumpy and erratic this road i’ve chosen has been for me and my family. also difficult, necessary, worthwhile, and rewarding. i love you, julie daley. i flat out love you. and i’m so glad you put on your tenacious britches and cleared your pipes so words and thoughts like these can flow because it is what comes from that personal place, it is the writing of authenticity and vulnerability and personal experience that is most redemptive for your self and for others, too.

  2. Oh, Julie! Oh! Oh! (lol…hear myself sounding like Sally in the Dick and Jane readers of my childhood)…this is EXACTLY what I needed to hear – tears are sliding down my face…

    for me, maybe a little different than the women who approached you recently, my sludge is around friendship speaking — I feel free enough in my blog/site – “outside” speaking (which WAS a long time coming and I SO relate to how you explain the process!!!) — but I keep feeling that pull to hold things inside – to keep those silent things – in friendships…sigh…

    well…the pipes are rattling, the water is spitting and I am grateful to you!

  3. I loved the pipe analogy Julie…it definitely isn’t easy putting yourself out there and letting it flow. Here’s to expression and taking risk 🙂

  4. The plumbing analogy is perfect — I know exactly the feeling when the clog comes out of the pipe and new insights start to flow. Thanks for the reminder of how good that feels.

  5. I always feel like what I read here is exactly what I need at the moment. I absorb, and absorb, and always leave with my heart feeling full to bursting. Thank you Julie for speaking to me 😉 And in the wise words of Our Lady Jeanne ~ i love you, julie daley. i flat out love you.

  6. “Creative catalyst” – I LOVE that! I’ve been trying to succinctly express to people what I want to be and do, the direction in which I’m heading, and you’ve just nailed it in two words. That’s exactly where I believe my talents thrive, and where I can best be of service. Thank you SO much for this insight, and for being such a beautiful creative catalyst for so many. xo

  7. Oh, Julie, I love the quote you begin the post with, and I love this post. Your point about the sludge coming out among the jewels is so important to remember! Thanks for more great inspiration.

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