I began this year with a bit of a mantra rolling around in my mind.
I wanted to be more intentional about nearly every aspect of living. A lofty ideal, I know, but that’s what we do at the beginning of the year. It’s what I do. I set a big target. Even if I don’t hit the bulls eye, I will at least land somewhere in the neighborhood of my ideal.
Some key areas of focus were time/energy, resources/waste, and information/influence. It’s easy to imagine some general and practical applications to these categories. Less social media, less tv, less reliance on phone/internet. More interaction, more reading, more quiet. Less spending, less plastic, less accumulation. More re-purposing, more giving, more saving.
Just a few months in, and there are some tangible and measurable results. I feel like I accomplish more, and experience more. I find added value in things that once may have gone unnoticed, simply because I am more thoughtful in my choices. A good, albeit trivial, example is my newfound love for glass spaghetti jars… so many uses! Things seem to be a bit more organized in general and that makes life for the whole family go smoother. We’ve curbed spending and have reduced our debt. I feel a marked decrease in anxiety and guilt, and I feel better connected to my family (that one deserves a blog entry all its own).
A very specific practice that I have implemented is Sunday. For almost a year our family has had “No show Sunday”. We just don’t watch shows or movies or play on the tablet. This year I upped the ante and decided that on Sundays I would stay off the internet altogether. After the kids go to bed, I put on a cd or record and look ahead at the week, while reflecting on the week behind me. I set goals in several categories. One category is called “create”.
I create something every week. Whether it is a blog entry, a poem, or just a journal entry. On more ambitious weeks it may be a song or a story. Some weeks, it is a letter. See, I have embraced a thing that I have known longer than I’ve known just about anything…
I like to create. I need to create.
Usually it involves words and ideas, but a scribble or an inspired dinner will do. This new “mindful consumption”, among other things, has created space and time and room for me to do more of what I love. And, it isn’t so much because my schedule was SO busy before… I was just too busy, inside. Too disjointed and distracted. Too frazzled. And frankly… I just forgot. I forgot to do the thing I truly love.
I was still creating… but an idea or an inspiration had to barrel down on me and stop me in my tracks…Now, my ideas can be a little more subtle. I have that space, especially on Sunday nights, where I can reach for any number of ideas that have been gently tugging on me. I think I’m even beginning to train my ideas. Like a kid, who knows they will get 1 on 1 time with Mama. My ideas are learning a bit of patience, because they are seeing that I’m committed to them, that I’m going to take time for them. It isn’t only the loud, obnoxious, temper tantrum throwing ones that survive.
In the midst of all of this I’ve been having more conversations about creativity, and even reading about it (Big Magic, Liz Gilbert). In my reading, and conversations, I have not heard anything new… not at all… but I have heard truth that has long been ignored. It really is a wonderful thing. Rather than discover a new world, I am finding affirmation, that this thing I had a hunch about… it’s real, it’s true. I knew it all along! It provides a bit of permission, reassurance, even encouragement… to just go for it… make it… whatever it is.
Today’s “aha” idea concerning my creativity (and the inspiration behind this entry) is simply this… No more disclaimers. Just create.
With the exception of “Do not try this at home”, Spoiler Alerts, and other cautions required before continuing, a disclaimer can be a pretty ugly thing.
First, it presumes to know the mind of the recipient, and it presumes that the recipient will be critical and judgmental. Maybe they will be… is that my business? Am I in their brain? Do I know what they deem as good or true or tasty? No. I don’t, so why anticipate how someone else will view/interpret/value my creation.
Second, it can be pretty terrible disguise for what is really going on… Insecurity and/or control. My disclaimer will basically reveal what I’m truly afraid of… It will tell you, “Here… this is where I lack confidence, so please be gentle with me”. Or, it will say, “Here… let me guide you where I want my creation to take you, because I know what is best”.
The disclaimer says, “Let me beat you to it…. I know what you’re thinking, so I’ll go ahead and say it”. It says, “Lets cover a bit of ground before we even get started so I can put this thing out there without risking too much or trusting myself, or you, enough to just… take it for what it is”.
For me… what “it” is… is simple. It’s just an expression, of something within, that wants to live outside of this skin. And, ultimately…. and finally… I am ready to do it, not for what it will say about me or what it will do for me… Not for how it will change you or affect you… But just, for the joy of it.