I never considered myself to be a creative child. I had little-to-no drawing ability, I didn’t color inside the lines (what fun is that anyway?) and I was woefully inept at cute block lettering. It took a solid thirty years for me to discover my creative side. It’s not that it didn’t exist, it just took that long to see these traits for what they are. For me, being creative involves writing and redecorating. The writing was probably obvious. But, the decorating still catches me by surprise sometimes. The most important part was realizing how important being creative is to my emotional and mental health. In a couple of recent posts, my friends Laurel and Carlie have talked about what self-care looks like. So much of this resonated with me because if I’m tired, I do NOT need a nap; I need 20 minutes to rearrange a bookshelf (or even move a piece of furniture.)
I’m convinced the need to be creative expression is crucial for all women (and men). We all do it differently, though and the trick is finding the way that’s authentically ours. In her book, BIG MAGIC, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how human beings are born to create. In fact, she considers calling someone a “creative person” redundant, because, by our human nature, we all have strong creative instincts. One thing that I have discovered in the past five years, is that creativity begets creativity. The more creative I am, the more inspired and energized I feel.
Find the loose end.
I don’t mean to add anything burdensome to your plate. For most women working for others, whether from inside or outside of the home, teaching, designing, promoting, planning, accounting or nursing, means you’re spinning your creative wheels all day every day… for someone else’s benefit. (Trust me, I get it.). For the part-time/full-time stay-at-home-moms of the world, I know (also from experience) that your days are spent spewing creativity in and around the confines of your home. But again, it’s not for your sake, it’s for theirs. (Which reminds me, it seems like a good time to learn how to knit.)
It’s there. I’m convinced of this and I feel certain it’s more important than ever before. I don’t mean an actual loose end, but a metaphorical one. When you feel the nudge of inspiration for something that’s creatively expressive and fun for you, it’s like the universe is sending you a piece of string. Go ahead, tug on it, it’s insanely satisfying. Whether it’s organizing a drawer, painting your nails, repurposing a picture frame, writing a poem, or editing a photo, the moments of creativity you indulge in, will give you life. It will also reveal just a little more of that string.
And hold on tight.
Now the most important part is don’t let go. It’s just a tiny thread, it’ll fit in your hands with the 15 other things you’re holding. Continue to pull, ever so gently, coaxing it from it’s hiding spot. Sometimes it’ll be buried in the mess, other times it’ll be glaringly obvious. But the farther you follow it, the more you’ll find yourself drawn to creative opportunities. I bet there’s room for more than you can imagine, and because it’s so organically YOU, it’ll find a way to fit seamlessly into your already full life.
So, regardless of where you spend your day, and who you spend it with, for the love of all that is good and quiet in the world, give yourself five minutes of creative energy. You don’t have to paint a masterpiece, but maybe the vase that’s been calling for a fresh coat of paint. There’s no telling what a small facelift will do for the walls of your home, or more importantly, your heart. I’ll close with one of my favorite quotes, from another one of my favorite books, (SIMPLE ABUNDANCE by Sarah Ban Brannach).
Trust your instincts.
Believe your yearnings are blessings.
Respect your creative urges.