Snapshots: Jump Start Your Creative Career

New beginnings

No matter how we approach New Year’s Eve–with dazzling exuberance, quiet reserve or indifference–it’s hard to escape the sense that another cycle of life has ended. We navigate the portal to a new year catching our collective breath. Sometimes the passage seems clogged with the air of uncertainty. Whether it be radical or milder, endings test our acumen and ingenuity. We are full-term pregnant with stakes that require evaluation and decision.

Turbulent endings may ultimately lead to powerful breakthroughs and renewal.

Cultural evolution bears this out, as do our personal histories if we are aligned with growth. In face of challenges, the passage demands particular attention to the inner level of creating. In order to resolve issues that appear to exist outside, we need to look within. These snapshots contain a distillation of optimistic perspectives about endings, toward renewal:

The outer view can grip us too strongly.

In vulnerable times, outer circumstances can grip the mind’s attention too firmly. In this state, the outer level can appear daunting—a phenomenon that exists beyond us and beyond our direct influence. We feel out of control, and emotional discomfort sets in.

The aerial view brings more subjectivity.

The discomfort we feel is in truth a “call” that signals new opportunity. To decipher the signal, we need to pull our perceptions back from outer circumstances. This is not related to denial. Rather, by observing present challenges from the broader perspective of our personal histories, the obstacles are brought down to size. From the “aerial view” we recall past endings survived, wisdom and confidence gained–from circumstances which, a the time, felt even more dramatic than these. Past evidence reveals that we, ourselves, are larger than circumstances that are fleeting.

The inner view is highly productive.

Recognition is required to understand and benefit from the call. Noticing that we are larger than they, circumstances can no longer hold us hostage. They might look like captors, but they are only reflections. When we experience tension, lack and frustration, it’s tempting to panic or blame an outer condition. We forget that looking within is most often the wisest response. Circumstances, people and events often cannot be controlled. But going within to shift an attitude or belief is where we do have control. Doing so will lead to new actions, and the shifting will be revealed in the reflection of events.

The long view requires patience.

No matter how much value we have instilled in our work, it might be time to further enhance the value of our services. To aim for more income or celebrity is missing the mark. In contrast, striving to create more value in service to others is building trust and attracting income. Most likely, you are now seeking more value for the dollars you are willing to spend. By extension, other are too. We need to glance away from nervous preoccupation with the ephemeral, and re-focus. It might take time to navigate through this year’s endings. To create more value for the people we serve may be challenging. But patience and a long-view focus will lead to improved conditions.

Endings will lead to renewal.

Endings lead to new beginnings: easily stated. But this year’s end seems to call for something especially new on the inner level, where the most significant questions are asked. I remember reading once a phrase that struck home: ‘The inner subjective is primary.’ We might call this little pearl one of nature’s laws. It suggests that what we create in our minds and hearts is the primary generator for creating outcomes in the law of probability. The inner being primary, by extension, outer results are secondary. During stressful times, it’s reassuring to recall the inward realm as our refuge and primary place of power. Reflecting and sorting there awhile is the most powerful response to rough endings, and the first key to life-giving renewal.

Subscribe above: and receive a free podcast on the creative process.

Do you need content? You may use these essays at your website, or in your newsletter. The only requirement is inclusion of the following plus active links:

*Essay by Barbara Bowen of - the definitive source for artists and creative careers in transition. Contact Barbara to empower your creative process and for help with your career goals. She would love to hear from you.*