Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Creativity Workshop in Dubai

Dubai hadn't been a place that I really wanted to spend much time. I had been to the airport a couple of times on layovers, and I felt that was enough. I wasn't really into the glitz and glamour or all the tall buildings or extravagant shopping malls. It just didn't seem like my kind of travel. Then something happened; I had a reason to go.

How I found The Creativity Workshop is not important, but why I decided to go is. Last spring, I quit my job and quit the profession that I worked for a decade in which to be successful. I found myself with no job and a scary sense of freedom. Since I had spent the last ten years not working during the summers, the fear really didn't hit until around September when I realized that I truly had nothing to do and no path to take. I had no passion, nothing to work toward. I was, to put it simply, lost. I was originally scheduled to take this workshop in July right after quitting my job, but plans changed, and I put it off. Then September happened, so I knew I had to take action. I registered for the workshop in Dubai hoping for a spark. Then I forgot about it.

I went to Wales and had all sorts of small adventures in the small university town of Aberystwyth. I went to London to visit two lovely people whom I had come to know during my time in Amsterdam, and I started to write. Things were going well. Then it was time for my seven hour flight.

I planned on spending most of the time I was in Dubai by myself, so I had a list of things that I wanted to see and a contact from my dad's company in case anything went wrong. I thought that it would be a trip similar to Istanbul where I found a couple tours but mostly wandered around alone. I was most definitely wrong. I believe there was some divine intervention that occurred when I decided to choose my seat on the first day of the workshop. I met Kate first. And while I didn't tell her this (she'll read it now), she will be a person I will cherish forever. Throughout the workshop and during dinners and a desert safari, she encouraged me in a truly sincere way to the point where I feel that I have gained a sense of direction for my life again. Then there was Zamin who came in late the first day and sat sort of behind me. We became instant friends, and I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard. We had inside jokes together before there were jokes. It was magical. To be totally ridiculous: he's my brother from another mother, truly.

So what did I learn? What did I do? In those four days in a place that I never would have thought to go, I found myself again. I found motivation again. I found humor again. The workshop, and our amazing leader Kirpal, taught three basic things: play, process and pleasure. If you do not have those three things, you do not have creativity. And creativity comes when you least expect it from the most unlikely places. So let your mind wander and enjoy the process of creating something. For me it has become writing. I have a renewed spirit and motivation for writing that I hope I can nurture in the weeks and months to come.

And while I don't know if I am a professional writer, I am something. I got more than a spark that week, I got a whole campfire.