We all have busy lives, some more so than others. I have the luxury of owning my time, being in preferment (retirement). Others have families and daily jobs that require undivided attention. However your day is carved out, we need to sleep and restore.
I ask myself this morning, what am I doing with my awake time? Life during the pandemic is different. I’m remembering several years ago teaching the fundamentals of Susan Jeffers’ theories of Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. This book changed my life over 25 years ago bringing me awareness and tools to manage my anxiety and fear.
One of the tools is creating a Life Grid where we map out a bird’s eye view the categories of our interests and what percentage we practice. For example, my grid consists of family, health, education, service, spiritual growth, playtime, career and travel. The general purpose of the grid helps demonstrate the balance of our interests. Not living our lives with eggs all in one or two baskets.
I realized I was missing creativity in my life. I started a journey searching for what would inspire my imagination to get my creative juices flowing. I experimented with wood carving, crocheting and knitting, drawing and sketching and finally found what feeds my soul and excites my imagination.
I also woke up my inner critic with a core belief that I’m not good at being creative because I believe nothing looks like it’s supposed to look. I felt vulnerable sharing what I created because it came from my insides. I worked through this block and one step at a time, my inner juices are now flowing. There’s something wonderful about creativity.
Gifting myself time to be creative helps my problem-solving skills, focuses my attention and I relax, and find a wonderful freedom of expression.
I’ve tweaked my life grid down to a day grid, and ask the same question. Within a 24-hour day what does my approximately 17 hours of awake time consist of? Mindfulness helps me find balance in my isolation.
As for my creative activity? Early last year while vacationing on the coast, I found prosperity hen garlands displayed in a shop, bought it and studied how to make one myself. Hens symbolize happiness and blessings. They also symbolize curiosity and courage. I sew and stuff the hens, decorate them so they twinkle with sequins and beads and then string them together with more beads. They hang as a decoration. They are delightful and make great gifts. I’ve created over a dozen at this point and will continue on this journey. Creativity is meditative, relaxing and pleases my senses. It’s a win-win activity.
All I want to do is delight—
Throw the mask off,
Not care and not worry,
Not explain what I mean nor
Define what I do.
Just be whatever I feel like being.
Just relish in the energy of this moment.
I want to be so alive that
I feel like the moon,
Throwing tides just for fun,
Creating because it’s what I’m
Here to do.
I want to love the color orange,
Just because it craves delight too.
I want to cry because
I’m so in love with the miracle of
I don’t want to feel like I’m
I want to try and feel like I’m
I want to write the poetry,
Read the poetry, and
Breathe the poetry.
I want my life to be a
Messy mosaic that even I
Can’t help but fall in love with.
I feel the winds of fury
Blowing through me.
Even my bones are smiling.
I hear my veins pulsing with
Desire, like branches
Dancing in the breezes.
Wildflowers are waving and
The ocean blossoms with a new idea.
Crazy and beautiful is
How I want my life to feel.
Let it be. Let it be.
I write to be free.
I read to tap in.
I absorb the poetry.
And so it shall be.
And now I am this energy.
I just love the term ‘preferment.’ I do what I prefer to do, which is really nice. Yesterday, I preferred to make a creative soul collage card. All the bright colors. I wear bright colors as part of my creativity. The card has a blue Buddha, a brightly-clothed gal riding on what looks like a magic carpet, a boy whose hands are covered in paint, two Macaws wearing bright colors. I love thinking of creativity as a flow, and the Buddha who is paying attention to the flow of creative energy.
I’m so excited about this topic today. A few things have been going on for me. I’m reading The Passion for the Possible by Jean Houston. If you’re feeling blocked or don’t have the skill, Houston says you can call on helpers to help you learn what you want to learn. Then you can own the ability. Yesterday, I ordered a sewing machine, one with a self-threader. The possibilities are endless.
For me, it’s been woodworking which I’ve always enjoyed. My spouse took a picture of me on the second day of having Covid. I was outside, in my pajamas, working on this deck that I have been building since last March. It was a healing thing to do.
What a wonderful topic. Thank you so much. One of the creative threads I’ve done in my life was writing good-bye songs for staff members who were moving or retiring. I haven’t done anything like that in a long time. Another creative thread in my life has been to work on a project and create one of them. Trying to make a second doesn’t happen. I was aware as you began the meditation I have not tapped into creativity in a while except sitting with my granddaughter. Then I realized that creativity has many forms. I was gifted with a small rosemary bush in a pot which will go in the ground when it warms up. My creativity right now is exploring where it will go. I am realizing the multi-lingual character of creativity and connecting it to multi-lingual love. It plays out in many ways. Thank you for getting the juices going. I see this reflection as absolutely an invitation to tap in again and see what happens.
For me, sometimes creativity is doing something I really think I can’t do and want to do it but don’t have the confidence. With tutorials on Youtube, we can do many things that we couldn’t before without someone showing us. My dryer stopped working and I went online and found out how to fix it. I ordered the part and fixed it. That was creative. I also thought that, were it not for your creativity, this group wouldn’t be. Thank you for that. After yesterday’s meditation, I was left thinking how this group is so much my ‘church’. And how different this group is from the church I grew up with. I got creatively writing afterwards, was having fun and laughing. To give into those little thoughts that come and to live in preferment is really fun.
Love the reading. Creativity is something I’ve believed in from a young child. I heard from my mother that I was creative. It has gotten me through life. Over and over again, when I experience self-doubt and going through hard times, not feeling smart enough or strong enough, knowing I am creative. I can figure out how to move through this. One of my first jobs when my children were small, I ran creative play groups. Children are naturally creative and I worked with 2-4 year-olds. Lots of opportunities for them to express themselves. It was very rewarding. In the last two days, I’ve been working on a painting. I don’t think of myself as a painter but I am exploring lots of things. I have neuropathy in my right arm from chemotherapy so I am looking for ways I can still be creative. It’s a work in progress. I’m going to paint today and add a layer and play with it. I make it a priority to express myself. It’s important to my journey.
Thank you. That was a wonderful reading. I’ve learned over the years that my true skill is seeing the big picture. Taking something really complex and simplifying it so people can understand it. I’ve done that in writing where I am trained. I love being creative making videos that capture something even though I am not trained in it. I made a video yesterday for a memorial service and the best part of my creation was watching the person’s daughter experience her mother in this tribute. I love that my creativity can give joy. I also do work with a climate activist group. I’m not a graphic artist but I need to create a graphic that explains what we are doing. I love the challenge. It’s another way to be creative and use my skill to do something I’m not trained in, but I am determined to do it. I love that I can help other people with my creativity and that I can touch their hearts.
I’ve been thinking about how I miss not being able to make bouquets of flowers and giving them to people. I’ve cut them from the garden, added antique doilies or ribbon. I live on the second floor and it’s been getting too hard to lug water jugs up the stairs. A young man has helped me. I made him a card to go with a gift card, drawing water bottles with color pencils. I added a picture of my cat on the bottles. Everything was out of proportion and it looked so funny. He said it made his day. It’s good to be creative.
Thank you so much for that reading. You talked about feeling the joy in your bones and letting the love and joy bubble up. It felt like a bath over me. I needed it this morning. This week is a time of transition for me. One door closing and I’m not sure about the next door. When I first came to this group, I was really shut down and broken. I feel like my wings have come out a little bit. I’m in a place of letting go and getting ready to transition, and when I was looking at the colors and hearing people talking about creativity, I was thinking well, yeah, maybe that will come. But then I had a thought. After the last snowstorm, my friend and I went out went to the graveyard and we took pictures. There were some really interesting ones. I realized, that’s creative. It hit me like a bright light. That’s what it feels like. It can look like anything. It can be cleaning the house. It’s just making that connection to my heart and what I am doing in the moment. I can let all that judgment go and life can be that creative place where I drop into the groove. I appreciate the process I took to get there. It’s flinging that door, not narrowly defining things.
I tap into creativity when I select a poem. I know what I feel with what I wrote and I have a plethora of poems. I gaze down and something pops out. It’s amazing. It’s flinging that door open and feeling the freedom and the flow.
For me, it’s plants and nature. I’ve never thought of myself as a creative person. I connect it with art and I’m not an artist. I was never good with houseplants. I was good with outdoor plants. But during the pandemic, I needed to bring nature in. I have about 125 houseplants now. It’s like an indoor jungle but I love it. It started with the question whether I can keep these alive, can I meet the plants humidity needs. Now I am experimenting different potting materials, with trellises, with arrangements. The plants bring me joy and one can be creative with them, how they look, moving them around, choosing pots. It’s easy to be creative when it’s something you are passionate about. It just flows.
I think that’s the definition of creativity. Otherwise, it’s just work.
I do my own snow shoveling. After the last snowstorm, I made a big pile of snow which sort of looked like a toad. So I started sculpting. I made the head. The body part was going to be difficult. So it’s a sculpture of a toad coming out of the snow pile. Then I made another one. It’s fun to play outside.
Thank you everyone. I am grateful for creativity. It’s brought out a lot of smiles. Thank you for spending time with yourselves, honoring yourselves. Having the courage to sit in silence with yourselves. It goes a long way. I hope you all have a gentle day, in your transitions, in your creativity, in your journey forward.