The Creativity Permission Slip.

The last section of the Creativity Workshop (I skipped over blogging about the two prior since they were short and involved charts) is about giving yourself a Creativity Permission Slip. That is, allowing yourself to be true to what kind of creator you want to be and why you want to pursue this work.

I’ve started to have more ideas about creating and somehow getting my story out there. While I have never been much into reading fiction and even less so into creating it, I have found myself brainstorming little storylines. Nothing solid yet, tossed around the idea of somehow loosely incorporating my life or how I had dreamed my life would be. I have had another book idea tucked inside my head for some time now and I have been trying to piece things together for it though not as actively as I would like.

I have always enjoyed non-fiction books as I love learning. But then I love the depth of a good poem and the way I can take flight in a really good (to me) novel. And from a young age I always knew I wanted to write in some capacity but I never quite found my niche. I always felt like a fraud, like I wasn’t good enough no matter how much praise I’d gotten, as though what I had to say about anything wouldn’t matter to anybody. I cut myself off before ever really giving myself a chance. Hell, even with blogging I have struggled to maintain consistency because I wasn’t always sure what I wanted to say would be received well by anybody. I never thought anyone would care. I’ve tried and stopped a million times in a million ways but something has always brought me back to the blank space.

So to create my own Creativity Permission Slip:

Who Am I?
I am a writer. I am honest. I am a caregiver, big hearted. I am a dreamer, a kid at heart. I love big. I am a part time runner. I am a hard worker. I am an independent, an individual, a creator, creative.

What kind of creator do I want to be?
I want to create connection. I want to use my words, my ideas, my fantasies to bridge the gap between others and a sense of belonging. I don’t want to create something grandiose. I want to create something that is meaningful, at least to myself. Something of a release. Sometimes I think I would like to create something so unlike me so I can break out of the comfort of my box.

Why do I want to pursue this work?
Connection. Both to others and to myself. I feel like somewhere deep inside there is a story to tell, whether my own or one I have dreamed up. I don’t think I was meant to wither away in the 9-5 rat race. I know there is more in this life for me but I have to be the one to *create* it.

What creative project will I give myself permission to do? How will I share it with the world?
I don’t know which idea will flourish first but I do know I want to write a book of some sort. I am going to focus more energy on brainstorming and time management and bringing into my life more of what brings me to life. And I will trust that the process will unfold as it should. Then someday I will be able to share it with the world in some capacity, whether a published book or an e-book. It doesn’t have to be great. It doesn’t even have to be good by other people’s standards. It just has to be authentic. It has to mean something to me.

And I really am going to try to blog here more. I always want to but I am just not sure what to say. I have been an avid blog reader for so many years and although I know they all had to start somewhere, just as I am, I feel like I am so out of my league. Story of my life!

But I’ve got a lot to say and I think it’s about time I start letting it out.

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Falling Down.

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The mind is an amazing thing. One day you feel so full of hope, optimistic, like you’re making headway. And then the next you wake up feeling out of sorts, feeling ill at ease in your own body, and having no idea what happened in those few short hours between falling asleep and rising.

This is life with depression.

While I may not hide my struggles, I don’t wear them like a badge of honor. I can be open to a point about the weight I carry around but I try to remain detached from it. I don’t want to feel it. I don’t want to wear it. I don’t want to be defined by it. It’s part of who I am but it’s not my whole story.

There are plenty of people who don’t understand it and plenty more who don’t even try. And this is why I tend to hide. It’s far easier to tuck myself away than to give into vulnerability. There are so many people lacking in basic compassion and in my state of being I don’t have the patience to explain it.

This is life with depression.

It isn’t always about a specific reason either. Depression doesn’t need a reason. And it sure as hell isn’t about anyone else but me. Can I not claim one thing in my life as my own?

There are circumstances beyond my control, and yes they lend themselves to the weight on my shoulders at the moment. So much of my life has been spent resisting, attempting to control that which is outside of my control. I made decisions long ago in order to be able to carry on my life in the way I wanted, and to have that compromised is a huge blow. My life is no longer about me, as selfish as that may sound, and it is an extremely hard pill to swallow.

I want my life back.

I don’t open up about this for attention. God knows that is the farthest thing from my mind at all times. I don’t want to be treated differently or like a fragile little bird. I want to be treated like a human being, maybe cared for a little extra in time of need, and always with love.

So if you don’t understand depression, if you can’t comprehend why I am the way I am, simply take the time to listen. Both to what I say and what I don’t.

I will always do my best to believe in tomorrow. And it would sure be nice if others believed in me.

xx

Hobbies, Jobs, Career, Vocation.

Section two of the Creativity Workshop is Structure Your Life for Creative Living, and while short I think it is going to have a big impact on opening my mind. This lesson is centered around distinguishing between these four categories:

  1. Hobbies – What you do purely for pleasure. Hobbies are for fun!
  2. Jobs – The must have, how you pay your bills. Understanding jobs don’t have to fulfill you. They are not your whole life but they are necessary for living.
  3. Career – A job with passion. Not a must have! If you don’t love your career you shouldn’t have one.
  4. Vocation – This is the voice of the Universe, a Divine invitation, a fire you keep going. It is something no one can give to you and no one can take it away from you.

I’ll admit I have jumbled up all four of these in search of something grand, a way in which to blend together everything I felt pulled toward. Only now I am learning they don’t have to overlap. They are not mutually exclusive. And they can exist and be pursued on an individual basis.

Elizabeth Gilbert has a great FB post on this (here).

Creative Notebook Prompt #2: Sorting through these elements in my life.

What activities do I currently participate in on a daily basis?
I work. I take care of the kids. I interact with friends. I listen to music and podcasts. I write. Most days I do some form of exercise. I cook. I play Words With Friends. I read when I can.

Now label each activity accordingly:

Hobbies
Listening to music and podcasts. Playing Words With Friends. Cooking. Caring for the kids and nurturing friendships are necessities but will fall under this category for the sake of labeling them. Writing. Exercising. Reading.

Jobs
My job is my job. It is definitely not a career. Just a means to generate an income and pay the bills.

Career
n/a

Vocation
Writing. It doesn’t make me any money (yet?) but it is something I have always felt called to do. As a creative outlet, a stress reliever, as something I always loved and needed in my life.

Reflecting on these categories:

Can any of the hobbies be moved toward the career category? What will it take? What are the risks and rewards involved?
The only hobby that could become a career is exercising since I am a certified personal trainer and health coach. I fell in love with coaching during my schooling but allowed my fears and insecurities to hold me back. I vowed to get back to it but so far have continued making excuses. It would take time and a whole lot of effort to relearn and get reacquainted with that path. My time for some things would diminish and sacrifices would have to be made. I would also have to overcome my fear of failure. Worth it? Of course.

Is it necessary to keep my day job, are there ways I could carve out adequate time to pursue my creative hobbies on the side? What trade offs might that require?
I need a steady income so quitting my job is not an option, and right now picking up another second job isn’t either. I can make more time for my hobbies outside of work by prioritizing my time and attention. I can also make better use of my breaks at work in order to write or research creative projects. I have to say Yes to myself more instead of giving into what other people want from me or my time.

What is my vocation? What do I need to keep making time for in my life even if no one will ever pay me for it or I will never earn recognition?
Easily writing in a more creative form. Getting back into writing poetry and ditching the notion that it has to be formatted a certain way in order to ‘qualify’ as poetry. I need to uncensor myself, get out what I am feeling, write from my core instead of wasting my time just getting words onto a blank canvas. Also, sharing it more. Stop fearing what other people may think. Stop caring if no one even reads it. Just put it out there into the Universe in an effort to get it out of me. If it happens to connect to someone else, all the better. But that shouldn’t even concern me.


 

I got out more with that one than I had actually anticipated. Let’s see where it leads me…

Creativity Workshop.

I’m not typically one to pay attention to Facebook ads but when this one came across my timeline at 6:00 am I knew it was some sort of sign.

I’ve felt as though I’ve been lacking in creativity for a while. I have trouble finding inspiration these days yet my drive to create something – anything! – is overwhelming. So seeing a Creativity Workshop presented by Elizabeth Gilbert was like a flashing neon sign from the Universe. I need this and I love her. I bought in.

My hope in taking this course is to find inspiration in everyday life. I want to be able to tap into how the outside world makes me feel and bring it to life from within.

Section one, which I am completing now, is called ‘Uncover Your Creative Life.’ In it is a lesson in finding joy and finding what makes you feel alive. Liz says it doesn’t have to make sense and it doesn’t have to advance you. It simply needs to make you feel ‘purposeful,’ ‘joyful,’ and ‘effervescent.’

Creativity Notebook Prompt #1 is doing a Curiosity Cat Scan and writing on any of the given questions that spark an interest for 20 minutes. It is encouraged that we share our ideas if comfortable enough, and while I’m not fully comfortable with this I am trying to live beyond my fears so here goes…

What was the last thing you really wondered about?
Honestly, my purpose in life. Why am I not living a bigger life? Ever since I was a kid I had big dreams. I never wanted for materialistic possessions. I wanted grand experiences. Yes, even as a child I felt I was destined for greatness, to succeed, to see the world, to make something of myself. I knew I wanted a life I didn’t know beyond my current circumstances, and I knew I had to work hard at it. As an adult I miss that wonder. I miss dreaming big and believing it could all come true. And I have far too often wondered how I can get back some of that curiosity and thirst for life.

What are you doing when you feel most beautiful?
Laughing, being authentic, stepping outside of what I think I should be and being exactly who I am, not having a care in the world, taking care of myself.

What would you do for a living if you were not afraid of anything?
I would write. I would just write about anything and everything that interested me. I wouldn’t hold back because in that moment I don’t have all the knowledge or experience. I would go get it, and then I would creative something from it. Also, it has been a dream of mine to own a little coffee shop. With more of a lounge feel. Where people could come and enjoy one another, sit in silence and creative something of their own, where they could feel like they belong.

What did you love to do most of all when you were 8 years old?
Even as a child I loved to write. About anything. Poetry. I had a recycling club because I wanted to save the world. I never cared what anyone thought about me. I knew there was good to do in the world and it was my job to do it. So I thought up ways. I was in the Young Astronauts club in school. I loved books and Barbies and my dolls. I wasn’t bothered if my clothes didn’t particularly match, and I had the best darn pair of bright teal Keds that I’d gotten in New Hampshire.

–>>Part 2: What themes do I see? What is exciting to me? What do I want to use this course to start pursuing or start creating?

The common theme throughout all of these answers is basically living fearlessly and authentically, not attempting to fit into a mold, and doing something as big as I can imagine. These are all things I think about frequently. How do I live more with that childlike mentality about creating a colorful life and not feel stuck in the 9-5 rat race.

I want to use this course to create ideas. To find better ways of self expression. Written word has always been my preferred method but I’d like to think outside of that box. To allow ideas to flow through my veins and out of my fingertips in any way that feels fitting.


 

Anyone interested in this program, I got it from Udemy – Click here

Also, I highly recommend reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic.