A few years ago I had a perspective-pivoting dream that gave me a 180-degree shift in how I perceive the creative journey. Here’s the story.
I dream I’m a passenger in a van which gets trapped between two chain link fences. I am utterly frustrated and I get out of the van and walk down to the cove to calm down. There, I watch an elderly fisherman park his car and slowly walk down the hill to his awaiting boat. It’s just him, a pair of old boots and his bait.
The scene intrigues me, and on some level I’m envious that his path is so clear; his life so directed. His work so intentional, even in its uncertainty. And in a flash I have a revelation: I’m not meant to be driving in a van on some road. The creative path is the sea, not a road. And we creative ones are the fishermen searching for treasure just beneath the surface.
So there I was, standing metaphorically on the edge of my own creative shore. Afraid of going out deeper. Worried that I wouldn’t catch what I so desired. But as I watched the fisherman head further out, his boat disappearing on the horizon, I knew I had to ditch the car keys, cast aside fears and join my people out on the water.
All of us reflect on where we are trying to get to, but sometimes and in the case of that dream, it pays to reflect not just on the where, but also on how you are navigating the way. If you come from a family of map-followers, it can be really hard to grasp another way of being and traveling.
But anyone traveling a journey of creativity isn’t going to get there by a road constructed by someone else. Your mode of travel is free floating. You’re part of a tribe that has to be good with knowing that their catch isn’t always going to be easy to find and capture. You’ll have to trust your instincts and go where the wind takes you.
Like the fisherman, you don’t need a map – as long as you have your compass in hand and pointed to your personal true north. It’s taken me a long time to excavate that compass and see where it wants me to go. But it has pointed me here. Back to a creative life as a writer and musician, and here to The Living Room.
My journey began in fully realized form when I woke up from that dream and ditched an outdated mode of travel. It liberated me to trust the process. To imagine my own creative dreams, and begin this Living Room pop up conversation. Along the way, I’ve learned how many other people are also searching for new ways of traveling. And how finding a tribe to travel with can give you the courage to leave the safety of the old shore behind to chase new pursuits.
So next Sunday, a small tribe of us will get together and talk about living life as the hero of our story. I’m pretty sure that means living life as a fisherman of sorts. I’ll share my fisherman dream story and encourage people to stop waiting at the water’s edge hoping something big will come in for you.
I wish the same for you. Throw away the car keys. Get out there and cast your line with fierce expectation and creative patience. Even if you don’t catch a big shiny one today, you will have spent a day being true to yourself, and in good company.
Go long and go deep. And enjoy your adventure out on the seas of possibility.