Something sbout her being so perceptive recently and looking at everything with her specific point of view, has me feeling more than ever that I want to be living my life in a way that holds true to the things I tell her are worthwhile and noble pursuits. Perhaps most important, I want to like myself and I want her to see me liking myself. So I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be kind to myself, to nurture confidence and a sense of purpose, and what that is all coming down to for me is...creativity.
I'm mulling through (and have been for a while) all of this and I'm going to continue to journal about it here as I develop more thoughts and projects, but let me plop some stuff down here as a means of forming a thesis. I want to put it out there that for me right now, at age 33, as a wife and mother of two small children, working full time at an office, a homeowner, and ten other things I might list on here to describe my identity and responsibilities, being creative means something very different than what I thought it meant ten years ago, or even five years ago. The demands of daily life mean that I have to get creative (ah-ha!) with how I engage creatively with the world, and while it still means practicing the traditional means as much as I can - of writing, painting, playing music, decorating a home, planning parties and even open mic nights at our home (so very excited about this!), I want this kind of energy to run through all of my days, not just when I have time set aside.
I heard Rob Bell say in an interview something along the lines of: if you can pay attention in the valley, you will have no trouble paying attention on the mountain top. It hit a chord because, in essence, that is my life mantra that I had adopted several years ago when things got busy and mundane and I realized I didn't want to live the rest of my life for the weekends, exciting trips or events. I wanted to live my life for that day, and so began my quest for being still, being present, paying attention.
My theory is this - that the habit of paying attention is equal to excercising creativity...which breeds even more creativity. Is that too big of a leap? Are you with me?
The kind of attention I mean is the kind that requires stillness, mulling over details, inhaling the morning air, inhaling a baby's scent, listening to someone tell a story about a recent experience, listening to a podcast, noticing the sheen of a pepper, noticing your child play, playing pretend with your child, letting the smell of ripe fruit overwhelm you, enjoying a shower, watching your husband as if you are seeing him for the first time, being present in a conversation, and on and on...taking nothing for granted.
In my experience, paying attention feels creative for two reasons. One, it is inspirational. Because I am in the mindset that I am a creative being and that small things around me are meaningful, all of my senses are heightened and ready to find inspiration, and it prompts me to write, blog, reflect, take photos, make a home beautiful, find any reason to celebrate, and work to foster true community.
Second, it is invigorating (my other theory is that creativity is what invigorates) because this habit compels me to give thanks for every little thing. Once I get started, I am overwhelmed by gratitude, and feel accutely aware that one of the main reasons for existence is to do more that - give thanks, adore, exalt. Besides, I've found that gratitude drowns out almost all of the soul-sucking demons.
When I feel invigorated and inspired, I am not only filled with a sense of purpose, I am kinder and more generous to myself and those around me. I want that for myself, I want that for my daughters.
It feels so good to write this all out! I'll be back with more of this at some point. Don't be shy about sharing your thoughts.