According to www.dictionary.cambridge.org, one of the definitions of the noun renaissance is: “a new growth or interest in something, especially art, literature, or music.”
This word renaissance has stayed with me since the end of 2015 as I felt a shift taking place in many areas of my life. Sure, “midlife crisis” may be the term used to describe major changes that humans undergo in an attempt to find meaning and satisfaction in their lives. To me, though, I began to “choose the path of curiosity instead of the path of fear”, which were words used by author Elizabeth Gilbert to describe creative people in a recent On Being interview with Krista Tippett.
This meant doing new things through my anxiety and fear of the unknown. And I have a boatload of anxiety and fear. Some of my everyday anxiety includes when I have to talk on the phone–both calling and answering the phone, going to the bank or post office (I haven’t analyzed this, I just know it happens), going to large-ish parties or gatherings even if I know a good deal of the crowd, basically, introvert problems.
This week I was mulling all this over because I bumped into a girl I met at the Cob Therapy cob oven workshop at Hawk Meadow Farm that I took in June 2016. We stood in Greenstar and chatted. I asked her if she’d done anything with the knowledge we gained and she shook her head. Neither had I, I told her, but Alan has a pile of field stone that would be perfect for the base of a cob oven if we had a team of people and Matteo and Peaches from Cob Therapy to oversee the project.
On the other hand, that workshop taught me things I have carried into this last year and a half. I helped a team of people build a beautiful and useful cob oven with my own hands. We worked at least 7-8 hours in the summer heat making cob, hauling stone, lifting, stacking, mixing clay, straw and sand with our feet and hands yet we all were positive and downright happy from start to finish.
Although I respect and admire nature, I’m not inclined to get myself dirty, but it felt good and I won’t forget it. We worked together without jealousy or squabbling of any kind. We blended together and worked peacefully. It’s a cliché to say we felt like family for those four days, but there was that sense.
Since that class, so much has continued to change in my life and I’m still following curiosity’s path. I am trying new things: a craft business, NaNoWriMo, becoming pescatarian, writing more poetry, challenging myself to publish a blog post daily, attempting to learn about marketing on social media, trying watercolor, and figuring out what I want to do next. I’m still faced with anxiety, but I have the solid memories from the positive experiences I’ve had to spur me on new experiences. My personal renaissance will continue, hopefully throughout my life.
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
Where are you with your personal renaissance and with choosing curiosity over fear?