Just as eating, drinking, and breathing are basic physical needs, creative expression is a basic psychological and spiritual need of human beings. It has been so throughout millennia and in every culture, but only in recent history has it been consigned to the back pages of our syllabus as an elective activity. If we have ignored the need for creative expression out of the idea that it is impractical or unnecessary, we can liken the experience to living an oxygen-deprived existence, with all of its accompanying symptoms. For the sake of our topic, and to highlight this very real problem, we’ll call this Genius Deprivation Syndrome.
If we look at what happens to the human brain from oxygen deprivation, we know that in most cases, brain cells begin to die after 1 minute of no oxygen supply, and after 3 minutes of not breathing, our bodies usually die altogether. This is a very small window of time to be without an essential life-sustaining element before some kind of permanent damage is done. This also suggests that we are environmentally dependent beings that count on a myriad of conditions continuously happening for us in just the right way and in the correct proportions. These conditions are provided for us so consistently that they go generally unnoticed and unappreciated. Air, water, light, darkness, bodily functions and the immune system, all freely provided and sustaining us perfectly without taking any credit or demanding our acknowledgement.
As soulful beings, we also have the need for meaning and purpose. We can fool ourselves into thinking that these two needs are merely electives or low level priorities since their absence doesn’t kill brain cells or lead to physical death. But meaning and purpose, which are the naturally occurring by-products of our making space for our Genius expression are intrinsic to our inner lives. Fortunately, if we genuinely discover that we have been Genius-deprived and that a part of our interiority has died, we can activate the phoenix-like nature of consciousness that resurrects itself from the ashes of our previous identities. We may carry the experience of our pre-midlife personality having metaphorically died from a lack of creativity and personal expression. Luckily however, we are born and live again regardless of how dark and deep our graves have been when we acknowledge our Genius spirit and give it room to move.
Symptoms of Genius Deprivation Syndrome may include:
Weak libido or life force
Feeling stuck in an unrewarding job or career
Feeling that something important is missing from your life
Feelings of purposelessness and lack of life meaning
The need for Genius expression is never greater than at midlife. Our genuine callings are still seeking expression through us, and if we continue to deprive ourselves of them or to confuse their signals to us as some sort of unrelated illness, we will continue to suffer. Since it is natural for us to want to do something to alleviate our suffering, we can thank the uncomfortable feelings associated with Genius Deprivation Syndrome for being a wake- up call and motivating force for initiating a lasting personal change.