This is the fifth assignment in Jeff Goins’ blogging challenge – “Blog Like a Pro: 7-Day Challenge.” To read my manifesto from Assignment #1, click here. You can also check out the introductory post over at GoinsWriter.com to join the fun! Please enjoy today’s guest post by Lisa Avellan, who writes on minimalism, creativity, faith, and holistic health over at Creative Holistic Home.
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A few years ago, I traveled with my husband to Quito, Ecuador. This was my first time to Quito, though I’d been to Ecuador more times that I can count to visit my husband’s family and hometown. We planned a short getaway, a vacation from our vacation, and hopped aboard a small commuter plane for the 45-minute jaunt from Guayaquil to the capital city.
Quito, at 9,350 feet and surrounded by volcanoes, is nestled in the valley of volcanic warriors on guard with names like Pichincha, Chimborazo, and Cotopaxi. The rustic beauty rumbling with active intimidation is breathtaking and ominous. There, where the equator passes through the city and your feet can straddle the hemispheres of north and south, the ancient and present-day collide with palpable might and between the volcanic watchmen and the unassuming modern-day bustle, lies the overwhelming conflict of simplicity and chaos. Through the seemingly reckless (to the American eye) traffic customs and the remnant of the Incan empire, across the ancient rubble of ruins and family trees rooted down through early civilization, there is a portal that welcomes the deepest creative opportunity. The ghosts of primitive dynasties rise up in spirit as government officials rise in corruption and power. Through the windows of cement homes and up the ascending mountainside plumes of imagination and wonder, a new creative experience is birthed.
Beauty so robust and intense, complicated by history and politics and injustice and poverty, beckons the creative will to draw from deeper wells. We braved our fear of heights on the gondola cars, called the Teleferico, from the city’s floor to Pichincha’s summit of 13,000 feet. The warrior called to us, daring us to continue on foot, higher, deeper into the clouds–tempting us with fruits of untouched nature. The oxygen, which was already thin at the foot of the volcano, practically disappeared as we climbed on and rested every 15-20 paces, gasping in gratitude for the spectacle of this place and for the little air that filled our lungs. The pure air pierced our aching chests and crystal cascading waterfalls illustrated the scene where Heaven and Earth meet.
At this place, where I had to command my lungs to breath with intention and force my eyes to blink, for fear of missing a second of God’s grandeur, my soul reached beyond my body and nestled safely in the arms of the intentional and the creative.
Below and beyond, the protecting brother warriors were fields of ancient days living in the present. Livestock and grains provided sustenance, rivers quenched their thirst and tradition passes down from father to son, mother to daughter and multiple generations contributed to the families’ virtue. As an outsider, a city girl addicted to the digital era, I wrestled with the simplicity of their lives and the complexity of their history, how places still exist in untouched wonder and preservation. The stillness pricks the creative nerve to move. This simplicity of primitive agriculture and society, rooted in centuries old culture and language, challenged me to seek the depths of myself, my calling and my purpose. Thousands of miles from my home in California–and even farther from the person I left at sea level so early that morning–I learned that simplicity inspires the greatest creative inspiration.
Swirling above my head, a tornado of imagination and creativity threw me in and out of consciousness, as I let my fingers and soul touch the dust and rock of ancient rubble at Ingapilca, ruins of the Incan Empire. There, a tiny Andean Indian woman, hunch-backed with a walking stick as support, stumbled along the dirt road, donned with the typical fedora of her culture’s traditional garb. She stumbled her way into my memory, carrying with her a light of clarified purpose and direction–life blooms in simplicity, like the Ecuadorian roses of the volcanic warrior soil.
Simplicity and contradiction are the heartbeats of the creative process. Stillness where there was chaos, disrupt where there was routine, intention where there was apathy – this is the sacred space of divine creative inspiration.
Visit Lisa’s blog, Creative Holistic Home, to read more of her awe-inspired writing.