Friday, June 29, 2007

Meditative Activities

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Most people don't think of mowing the lawn as a creative encounter. However, I've noticed a meditative quality to the time spent with my mower. For example, there is no hard thinking involved, I can do the work by habit. We live on an acre, so it takes more than a few minutes to finish the job. The loud motor dulls all other sounds. Very few people bother me while I'm mowing. For entertainment, I'm forced to chew thoughts from my own brain. That's almost always a good thing.

Several times I've come in from mowing with ideas bursting to get on paper. That's fun! A couple of times, I've come in knowing how I'm going to handle a specific situation or challenge. Sometimes I even figure out what we are going to have for supper.

There are times I forget to shut off the noise and activity in my life. In the case of mowing, I'm simply drowning out everything else. Add to that a healthy helping of sunshine and fresh air and I have good recipe for stewing creative thoughts.

Anything bubbling or brewing in your head? Can you do something mundane and repetitive to help it ferment more?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


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How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. Annie Dillard

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that the stuff life is made of. Benjamin Franklin

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven...
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Just this week I was chatting with some friends. Both were complaining of a malady common to many people. Not enough time. Demands of job, demands of family, the stuff of life was interfering in who they wanted to be and what they wanted to accomplish creatively. I've felt that way myself recently. As if life's responsibilities were erasing me.

The answer, of course, when life is pushing you around is to shove back. But we are too nice to shove sometimes. Ask yourself is my (insert creative endeavor) important to *me*? If it is, push!

Carve an hour or two out of the twenty-four at your disposal. Want to write, paint, or quilt? Make an appointment with yourself. Put it on your calendar. Don't let anyone or anything come between you and your appointment. (Common sense note here: sick children always come first. Nothing, no matter how brillant, is worth losing my children or marriage over.)

A speaker, whose name I'm not sure I remember, said at a writer's conference that between her full time job, her marriage, and her children, she thought she never had time to write. Until she realized she could live on less sleep. She began to write between 2am and 4am each morning. Yikes! However, it worked for her. She has a number of novels published.

I've done the four a.m. thing when I've been under a writing deadline. It works. One thing about it is that the house is pretty darn quiet that time of morning. No one interrupts my train of thought.

Daily, mundane activities pile up on us. Schedule those things, too. Clean the kitchen for a set amount of time daily. When that time is up, walk away and do something else. In the past, I've had one day a week that I worried about how the house looked. On that day, I cleaned like a mad woman, music blaring, and mop aswingin'. Lately, I've let the nagging house chores creep into to every part of my life. Starting today, I'm ignoring them except for half days on Friday and Monday.

Learn to enjoy saying no. "No, I can't be there at that time, I have another appointment." And you do. It is right there on your calendar.

Take a knife to your schedule and carve out a piece of time just for you and your creative endeavors. Go ahead, do it now. It will get easier with practice.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What's a Creative Soul?

A creative soul is one who loves to experience the world in a fresh way. They see the beauty and potential in everyday objects or scenes. Whether you paint, cook, scrapbook, write, craft, dance, photograph, garden, quilt, dream or any of a thousand different pursuits, you are creating joy in your own life and in the lives of others.

A creative life is not always an easy one. A creative soul is often more sensitive to stimuli than other souls. We feel hurts more deeply, but, thankfully, we also experience joy to the fullest. Our greatest pleasure in life comes from our desire to bring life to our dreams. Our greatest frustrations happen when we can't quite make our dreams reality.

Welcome to my blog. Walk with me as we explore the challenges and joys of living creatively.