For most of my life, I have believed that my creative self was lived out exclusively by being crafty. I was only valuable because of my ability to cut and hot glue and pick just the right acrylic paint color for whatever job my brain had cooked up (or let’s be honest whatever picture I had recently seen in a home magazine). Long before Pinterest stepped onto the scene, I enjoyed a good day of crafting. This is in large part to my momma who has all the craft genes pumping through her veins and brain at all times.
But as I live more of these days, I am realizing more and more that creativity is a rhythm that pulses through so many of my daily movements. It shows up in the way I work and build relationship and respond to others and even recently in how I take care of my heart and mind. At the very least, the opportunity is there to think creatively about all my normal moments if I just have eyes to see it. I would venture if you stop to think about it, you could say the same.
Our very full lives of moving and building and making decision after decision exude and offer us creative opportunity at every turn.
And from pure observation, it seems that most of us are choosing to simply go through the motions of our days; refuting that the minutia could be met with anything more than mere survival. I know that has been my choice most often and never has that been truer than these past 2ish years. Can I get an amen?
So often we are just making it through.
But our brains and hearts and lives are made to work in deeper and more meaningful ways than that. There is such connection in thinking creatively about our normal, everyday life. We are able to access that part of ourselves daily and I am just betting it could open up some really beautiful ways of living if we let it.
Emily P. Freeman mentions in her book, The Next Right Thing, that creativity requires space. That could not hold truer weight in my world and so I have been setting aside more time here of late for noticing and reflecting. What is working? What isn’t at all? What matters to me? What could use some more thought or intention?*
And I am finding so much room for creativity in my days.
Some questions I am finding myself asking are things such as:
How can I think differently about:
-My work and how I plan and make decisions
-My home and how we move and live within it
-My family relationships
-How I care for my mental health and well-being
-The time I give to things I really love or want to try
-Moving toward those I disagree with and finding common ground
-Connecting with people when things are still unsure
And I am noticing that there is much room for thinking outside the box in all of those spaces; there is even necessity for it. They all matter in my world and therefore require more of me than simple survival. Thriving won’t come by simply making it through. There are seasons that call for just putting one foot in front of the other, no doubt. And there is no shame in doing what it takes to bear through impossible. But other seasons, even difficult ones, call for rethinking how we have always done it. Sometimes we find our best way by carving out new and more creative paths for ourselves, different from those we have always known. And I am finding that those new and hard-fought trails of creative living can move us closer to each other and to ourselves than we might have thought possible. And I am so up for that.
While I walk the road of this sort of living, I am finding success in a few simple practices. Maybe they can help you find spaces in your world that could use a little creative redirect. There is such potential in our normal for the creative to step in.
This week try the following and see what makes its way*:
1. Make space and time for noticing & reflection.
2. Jot down what you notice.
3. Pause or take time to think through how you might think differently or more creatively about what you notice.
4. Talk about it with a trusted friend or partner.
5. Repeat as often as feels helpful.
*Emily P. Freeman’s journal version of The Next Right Thing is incredibly helpful in these sort of reflections if you need a starting place.