This is the second article in a series on Death, Transmutation, and Rebirth for creative entrepreneurs. You can read the first article, Create Your Best World Outside Your Comfort Zone here.
The Great Work is, before all things, the creation of man by himself, that is to say, the full and entire conquest of his faculties and his future; it is especially the perfect emancipation of his will.
– Eliphas Levi
As artists and creatives, we are consciously pursuing the realization of our Great Work. This pursuit brings purpose and meaning to every single day. Using only the elements we find in front of us, we take in stimuli, work with the feelings they evoke, and then spin them into something beautiful for the rest of the world to experience. This is the process of transmutation, where heavy lead becomes shining gold.
What most people don’t realize is that our best work comes from throwing ourselves outside of our comfort zone and finding out what we’re really made of. After making huge changes that affect how your life is organized, you may find yourself in a dissolved darkness you’ve never known before.
This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff and creative warriors are molded from the dissolved matter of our former selves.
After I watched my business and ego die at the same time this year, there was a lot of this matter swimming around. I slogged through my days without real direction. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life, my livelihood, how I was going to contribute and help my people, or who I even was as an individual.
For so long I thought that simply “sitting” with my discomfort was enough. Like being able to look at what I was going through from an objective point of view was the key to being enlightened. I’m not a monk, though, and unless you’re reading this from a monastery, neither are you.
We are here to affect the world with our gifts.
This is the point of art and creativity. To channel raw, primal emotion into tangible existence that mirrors the soul of the viewer. The act of turning what you experience internally into beauty you share with the world is transmutation.
After leaving your comfort zone and saying goodbye to your former self, it’s time to let go, truly grieve for the past, and integrate what you’ve gone through. The tools you used to reach for won’t work anymore, and you have to create a new set of rules to live life by. These rules are not dictated by society. They come from within you.
Repeat after me: The rules you will live by are not dictated by society. They come from within YOU.
Creative transmutation is a delicate balance of blending the conscious ego with the collective source energy. Your work will benefit by realizing the boundless energy of us all and how you can best communicate what you uncover with the world.
Finding this muse again in your life is necessary for doing the work you were truly meant to do, and it won’t come overnight. You can’t snap your fingers and all of a sudden “be” the person you always knew you were.
From my own experience I’ve come up with some helpful guidelines that I practice daily. These are my rules and you are free to adopt or discard them as you see fit. That’s the fun of it all!
Rules of Transmutation
Listening to your intuition is your new normal
When you put yourself outside your previous comfort zone, there is a new set of rules to listen to. These won’t come from external sources like they did before. I recommend taking breaks from the outside world, including the news and social media to get a firm grasp on what direction your intuition has in store for you.
Your new set of rules are governed by a deep knowing within yourself that will not materialize from outside stimuli.
You will be building and regenerating your core self and learning who that actually is. It more than likely will have become muddled by day to day tasks and fear-based reactions that come from being a part of our society.
Listening to your intuition is your new normal.
Spending plenty of time getting used to this powerful way of listening is what will set you up for doing your best work. Put bluntly, don’t listen to everyone’s advice, listen to yourself above all else.
There are more ways to do this than there are people on the planet, so find what works for you. Our current society is set up to focus on outward expression and connection. This is great, but neglects the source itself. Through meditation, study, walks, experimentation or whatever form of self discovery works for you, do it and do it consistently.
I highly recommend tracking your findings with a journal or sketchbook if that’s your thing. This in and of itself is an act of transmuting that will give you a log of your thoughts to look back on. Some of my greatest inspiration has come from seeing how my thoughtforms transpired over a month. It also helps you discover patterns in your world you may not have noticed otherwise.
As you begin to learn more about yourself and develop your intuition, you’ll notice aspects of your character that you’ve developed as defense mechanisms over the years that are no longer serving you.
Recognize and purge what is holding you back. An excellent way to do this is through personal alchemy. You can get started with this transformational personal work with The Emerald Tablet: Alchemy for Personal Transformation. I seriously believe every person should get a copy.
Develop your own ritual or disciplined practice
Create the kind of structure that brings you into the present and gives some structure to your creative practice, whatever it may be. Letting emotion and untamed energy run free with no structure will result in it getting lost and not taking any form whatsoever.
I personally practice yoga most mornings and meditate on my intentions before starting my day. Other times I set the scene with incense and candles at my altar while I write or create art with my hands.
It’s all about creating a discipline around your personal work and having a stable, sacred space where you can check in with yourself and your ongoing work. Most of us fill our day with an endless list of to-do tasks and errands and take this for being what life is about.
Well it’s not. So slow down and remember to make your growth the biggest priority, no matter your other obligations. Whatever else you need to be doing will be enhanced by creating a ritual or disciplined practice anyway.
Create a time of day, area in your home, or ritual that will signal to your brain that it’s time to tap into the boundless energy available to us.
Know that you don’t own wisdom, you access it
We’re all familiar with the egotistical rock-star or spiritual guru that mistakes their gifts for being touched by the hand of god. They puff up and hold themselves in higher regard than the rest of us. You may have even believed this to be true about someone else like a celebrity or artist you deeply admire.
The truth is this hierarchy is false.
When you open yourself up to the creative energy and wisdom that is available to us all, there is a risk of thinking that you somehow acquired it and now own it for yourself. Don’t develop an ego or a holier than thou approach to your work because you’ve tapped into the essential essence that makes us deeply human.
The best way to remain humble and open is to let the creative energy you are accessing move through you. Hone it in your work and transmute the raw emotions you feel into something beautiful, then release it into the world. The most satisfying role we inhabit as creators is the ability to connect with others and show them a piece of their own soul, to remind us all that we’re not alone in this world.
So don’t become attached to any ideas you come up with. Work with them, share them in a creative way, then let them go into the aether. There’s plenty to go around.
Move the energy around
Going through the upheaval of death and change brings up intense feelings we are never prepared for. This is energy that needs to be moved around and channeled into other areas. Letting them sit within you in contemplation will only allow them to fester like a deep wound with no medical attention.
This is the culmination of all your hard work and how you share your gifts with the world. Any creative is familiar with the feeling of something begging to be set free from yourself. It’s just a matter of finding what way you want to move it around or transmute it into existence.
Find ways to move the energy through physical activity that intuitively feels right for you. Dance, martial arts, hiking, painting, photography, singing, writing. Do the things that you actually ENJOY and the energy will be moved properly. Hint: this is your GREAT WORK that you are wanting to do in the first place.
I’ve recently been doing this myself through drawing and writing poetry/what could be songs one day. Instead of sitting in contemplation more (as I’m wont to do), I started moving my hands and letting my subconscious take over. I haven’t really drawn in an abstract way since I was a kid and thought I wanted to be an artist.
Oh wait, I still am one, but I had to REMEMBER that I was. Look back and remember the things you loved to do as a kid to guide you into what form of expression is right for you. This will greatly enhance or contribute to the work you do now.
The act of remembering yourself is long and arduous. But the rewards for sticking it out will outweigh any uncomfortable feelings that you go through. This is what liberates you from conditioning and sets you free to find out what you’re truly capable of.
This process is not to be taken lightly. If you are wanting to go deeper with this work to uncover what makes you unique and how you can share that with the world, I’m here to provide sage guidance that will set you on the right path. Find out more about Collaborative Synergy sessions with me here.