If you are an avid reader of wildly imaginative children’s fiction, you may remember The BFG by Roald Dahl. There’s a wonderful scene near the end of the book: the military, equipped with helicopters, are chasing down giants and reach the edge of their navigation charts. “Where are we?” hollers the pilot. “We’re on the blank pages at the back!” replies his baffled navigator.
Any form of creative activity that we are actively committed to and practice often (whether it be artistic endeavours, business creation, yoga etc) will eventually lead us to the edges of the map, the places we have not explored before, the murky realms of the unknown! You can only draw for so long in pencil before the desire to expand into colour will arise. Writing every day about penguins (to use a random example) will eventually lead to a desire to write about other topics. We are creatures with an inbuilt drive to expand our consciousness, especially if we are committed and persistent.
If only my education had alerted me to the fact that when I reached the edges of the map, I would get excited for about five minutes and then have a massive freak out / anxiety attack / mood swings / rush to the cupboard for chocolate etc. Extraordinarily, our dual nature both longs for expansion and freezes in terror at the prospect of uncharted waters. Ah the fresh shores beckoning, but what if there are sharks? Oh the riches to be found in those bright lands, but perhaps the natives are unfriendly, the food poisonous and the ants severely bitey.
Every blank page has a sharp edge that may result in nasty paper cuts. Many of us give up at this point, teetering on the brink of new territory, giving in to the freak-out, anxiety or disparaging inner (and sometimes outer) voice that declares the chosen path unwise, boring, stupid, unsuitable or simply impossible. We stay where life is comfortable, known and manageable. The end result of turning round and cruising the known oceans?
Boredom, frustration, numbing out, vagueness and, for some of us, excessive consumption of sugary treats! You might be telling yourself that in truth, you didn’t want to sail into uncharted waters and that you’re much happier pottering around in the tepid pools near home, but it’s a con! Underneath that self-talk is a frustrated creator busting to take the road less travelled, to discover, explore and receive the amazing possibilities of life.
The blank pages are where giants roam, magical lands that expand and stimulate the mind and body. You may get stung, bitten and grubby, you might taste berries that turn your tongue blue or wander accidentally into the woolly lair of a sabre-tooth witchety grub, but you’ll know that you’re alive and creating!
The simple truth is that there are far greater dangers on the pages we have already drawn in, safe though they might seem. If you have a secret (or public) desire to create something, whether it’s a relationship, a painting, a novel, a business, or an overseas holiday, just do it. Accept the possibility of paper cuts, ride the freak-out wave and point the prow of your vessel straight at your prize.
Sail with a strong heart through uncharted waters and know that the rewards are many and great. You will be astonished both at your bravery and the discoveries you make, but by far the greatest prize is the deep, abiding satisfaction of following your natural desire to expand and create, a treasure that can’t be bought, imagined or faked.
© 2011 Pollyanna Darling
Foray into the blank pages, take the 120 Day Do What You Love Challenge! It’s free, simple and is an extraordinary journey of discovery.