“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how
they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really
do it, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while”
There's something about getting out in the fresh air that clears the mind and helps the clutter of responsibilities and stressers give way a bit and make room for.... something else. Perspective. Possibilities. And once the calm sets in, gradually you begin to feel that perspective give way to alternative ways of looking at a situation. Have you found this to be true? Whether the feeling comes from taking a walk or doing a little stretching or simply sitting in a quiet room, take this into your creative practice. When you think you do not have anything you want to get out on the page, yet something in you keeps pulling you towards the need to begin or complete something, take whatever activity clears your head a bit from being consumed by responsibility and bring it into your creative habits.
Life can be intense. The day to day responsibilities that so many of us carry can leave us too drained to even think about taking the time to do something creative.
But what if...
you allowed your creative activities to bring a bit of sparkle into your life. What if you decided that in the creative space you would allow yourself to play. Leave the expectations in the realm where you have little choice but to tackle and drive and endure and press on.
In the creative areas of our lives, we can have access to the lighter side of life... things do not have to be as intense. I find that I have much more stamina in the intense decisions I have to make and a greater ability to follow through in my responsibilities. I somehow 'find' the energy and have a deeper capacity to take care of business when I take just a few minutes to... play.
The other day I came across an assignment I completed while in school. For the assignment each person had to find a daily activity and work on it for 30 days. Some chose beginning an exercise regimen. Others chose having contemplation time. I chose being creative for 30 days.
At the time this type of assignment terrified me. I had not really thought of myself as a creative person. I liked to write but when I thought of creativity at that time, it had to do with people who were good at drawing or painting still life; pretty much anything in that realm felt closed off to me.
What I have learned over the years is that really any important change you make in your life starts with a first step. What each of us needs to get past is that the size of the step does not matter. The movement is what matters. And then a subsequent movement. And then another. And there may be times where you are at a stand still or that you feel like you are not making any headway at all. But the beauty of change it that you will always remember not simply the decision that started it all but the action you placed behind the decision.
Is there a change you have been wanting to make? To become more creative perhaps? What small step can you take today?
I have noticed that there is always something that needs to be done. Important things. Not so important things. For others or for yourself. Your home needs to be cleaned. Your budget needs to be handled. Working. Caring for family. Friendships. Where will you find time for your creative habit?
One place to look for time is in the down time. Look at what you are doing in the down moments. The ten minutes here, 15 minutes over there. Waiting in a doctor's office or sitting in your break room at work. What are you doing? Chatting about the latest gossip? Checking your phone for texts? Checking facebook?
These are the times EVEN IF YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE IT, that you take out your sketch pad, jot down new ideas for a story, take out your watercolor pencils and just do a little. Just a little. The little bits and spaces not only fuel your soul but they really do add up.
I actually started doing this a month ago. I carry my watercolor pencils with me and during my down time in between calls (I work in a call center) I bring a little bit of joy into my cubicle. By the end of the month I had completed over 15 pieces (like the one you see above.)
I have tackled quite a few things over the last 4 years in an effort to find my creative voice. Over the last two years these changes have caused me to take a look at some of closest friendships and tell the truth about them... and let them go. It has been a lonely and sobering year and a half. When you choose to change, that choice can't help but affect the relationships you maintain. These changes give them an opportunity to deepen... or not.
2013 feels like a year of taking what I know to be true about my identity as a woman and as a Jesus follower and be at peace with them. To love who I am more deeply. To stop apologizing for it. I believe the work and the art I create this year will hold that deepening. And I will look on it and say, "Oh! that's why the change was needed."