Creative Expulsion

Restless. I find it to be a difficult state to exist in. It is not exactly anxiety, but it feels like a close cousin to it. I carries some of the same characteristic apprehension of future uncertainty, and it is not directly connected to a specific activity level. When it shows up, I am overdue to start writing.

My past habit for dealing with a sense of restlessness has been activity. One of the most effective has been exercise. Its been an effective means of burning up the negative energy in me. I can start out on a hike, snowshoe or bike ride with my mind agitated, and once I get about 20 minutes in it starts to settle down. Maybe its the trails, trees, and chickadees, or the simple fact that my body starts to work hard to burn the energy – or that my mind is now more attentive to my body’s discomfort. Whatever the reason (likely all of these), it works — most of the time.

My next goto activity has been creativity.  Similar to physical exercise, there has been a benefit in being creative. As my mind shifts to the task at hand, it becomes more focussed and less prone to wonder through the subconscious myriad of what-if’s, and it works — most of the time.

This article that you are currently reading is one of  several that I have written during a writing retreat. I took 4 days/3 nights to get away, spending the vast majority of this time alone in a hotel room staring at a computer screen – and I learned something by doing it. I need to write. It’s creative expression to be sure, but its more than that. It’s also creative expulsion.

I had some fun researching the word expulsion. Consider these:

  1. the bum’s rush The forcible removal or expulsion of a person, usually from a public place, especially by lifting him by the shirt collar and the seat of his pants to a walking position and propelling him toward the door; an abrupt dismissal; the sack. The image evoked is of the way a bum, having had too much to drink, is unceremoniously “escorted” to the door of a bar.
  2. fire To discharge someone from a job, usually suddenly and unexpectedly. This expression derives from fire in the ballistic sense of ejecting violently and forcefully just as a bullet is fired from a gun.
  3. get (or give [someone]) the sack To be dismissed, fired, or expelled. This expression may have originated from the ancient Roman custom of eliminating undesirables by drowning them in sacks. Figuratively, the phrase often implies that the grounds for a person’s dismissal are justifiable.
  4. give [someone] running shoes To discharge an employee; to end a business association; to jilt a suitor. The figurative use of this expression implies that the dismissed person should make a speedy departure.
  5. go fly a kite Go away; get lost; buzz off. Similar to other trite insults (such as go jump in the lake, go play in traffic, and dry up and blow away), go fly a kite is used as a command, usually issued with disdain, ordering someone to leave. Whereas the contemptuous element of the other phrases is transparent, precisely why flying a kite should carry the same scorn remains puzzling.
  6. go peddle your papers Get lost, scram, don’t bother me. This imperative put-down implies that the person addressed, suited only for trifling pursuits, is interfering in matters of greater moment.
  7. send to the showers To reject; to send away or expel; also, knock out of the box. This expression originated in baseball, where a player, removed from the game because of poor performance or rudeness to the umpires, is sent to the locker-room for a shower. (DW Note: You have to know I am fond of this one !)
  8. go to Jericho Begone; get out of here. The Biblical origin (II Samuel 10:5) of this obsolete expression concerns a group of David’s servants who, having had half their beards shaved off, were banished to Jericho until their beards were presentable. Figuratively, go to Jericho implies a command to go elsewhere and not return until physical or mental growth has occurred, or, more simply, to get lost.

On this last note – this is what I did! A writing retreat serves precisely to “go elsewhere and not return until…mental growth has occurred“! It’s about a reset. It’s kind of like going through that spare bedroom closet that has become the dumping ground for all of the things that you don’t know where to put otherwise. You have not seen or used much of it, yet it hangs around adding bulk. Whenever you do go to that closet your heart sinks a bit; overwhelmed by the mess. It takes you longer to find what you are looking for because a landslide of suitcases has it buried beneath. When you do take the time to sort, organize and toss the excess you instantly feel much better – and the closet now serves you better as well.

So to it goes with the mind – and heart. This writing retreat has served to help me remember what is true, process what had become lodged over time, to reorganize the inventory — and to expel the garbage!

A writing retreat may or may not be for everyone – but periodic expulsion of some form is a must.

What works for you? How do you reorganize your “closet”?