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🦋 What The Personal Creative Workspace Needs
The Creative Workspace
Whatever nook, desk, or room that you use to do your creative work is a very important space. Obviously, this area needs adequate lighting, the tools of your work (a computer, musical instrument, canvas, notebook, sketchbook, etc.), and reasonable comfort and privacy so that you can write, draw, dance, think, or act creatively in some way. In addition, if you have other requirements specific to your individual situation, you’ll have to make arrangements that best fit both your budget and needs.
There’s one more thing your creative workspace needs: threshold guardians.
I’ve spent the last five years reading books on the creative process and on world myths, fairy tales, and cultural iconography. From these readings, I have understood that important spaces have guardians, actual or figurative. These guardians usually stand at the threshold or the doorway and serve a protective function. For example, the dvarapalas (or dvarapalikas) seen in temples in India and Southeast Asia are elaborately carved stone guardians that flank doorways. They are fierce figures who protect the temple deity from intruders.
In stories, and in life, the threshold guardian principle stands between the old world or familiar, known way of being and the new, unknown, and possibly dangerous world. They perform a testing function to see if you are worthy of entering the new space.
“With the personifications of his destiny to guide him, the hero goes forward in his adventure until he comes to the ‘threshold guardian’ at the entrance to the zone of magnified power…. Beyond [the guardian] is darkness, the unknown, and danger…”
-Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces
In our lives, threshold guardians can show up as actual people who try to hinder or stop us from accomplishing a goal or as difficult situations that we have to solve before we can proceed further. They can also show up as internal struggles such as fear, resistance, procrastination, and other forms of self-sabotage that have to be overcome before we actualize to the next level.
“At each gateway to a new world, there are powerful guardians at the threshold, placed to keep the unworthy from entering. They present a menacing face to the hero, but if properly understood, they can be overcome, bypassed or even turned into allies.”
- Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey, Mythic Structure For Writers.
Threshold Guardians And The Creative Workspace
It makes perfect sense. After all, the creative workspace is an important space, one where you go to meet a muse. Choosing art or objects that convey the guardian principle to you and placing them at the threshold of your creative workspace evokes a protective function.
But the reason why I suggest them is they are a reminder to you that the work you do in this space is important and serious. It is soul-affirming work. The writing, painting, poetry, journaling, music-making, or ideas birthed here do not need to be validated by the world as good or great before you treat them as worthy of time and effort. The threshold guardian(s) is there to remind you that you are entering a sacred space where creating is honored and your attempts to self-sabotage (it’s not going anywhere, I’m not that talented, I’m too old, I’ll start tomorrow when I am feeling fresh, more motivated, etc.) will not be tolerated.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.