I think there’s a small but very real chance that Becca and I are connected psychically. Here’s what she posted this week for Write on Wednesday.
How about you? How do you cultivate creativity in your life? Have you found the things that make you come alive? Are you doing them? Shouldnâ€™t you be?
I have been thinking about this very thing a great deal these days as I get into a firm writing practice, as I try to be more true to what I want to do not what I feel I need to do, and as I try to plan this place that I’m building in North Carolina (talked to my real estate agent here about putting my current house on the market – things are moving folks). . . . so this series of questions hits home for me, hard.
When I was just out of college, the pastor of my church, an amazing man and the best preacher I ever heard, Woody Dalton said in a sermon that we should “love God and do what we want.” I wrote this on a notecard and hung it on the inside of my door so that I saw it every time I left my apartment. To me, both parts of this statement are important, the first being more so, but the second being only a slight second. For if we love God – truly love God (or the universe or creation or whatever you call that thing sits beyond ourselves) we will try our best to do the right things, these things will become what we want. And if we do what we want in this context, then we will be happy and fulfilled and gloriously becoming who we were created to be.
So it is in this context that I think of the creative life. What I want, more than anything, is to be a writer. And so I know that even on days when I don’t feel like it, like today when I awoke with a blazing headache, I will get up and write. And that is a reward for the whole day, carrying me forward into the things I also want to do – like get my syllabi together for the fall semester and meet with marketing about our speakers series materials and work on some business stuff for my writing. If I get that first thing, that most important thing done, then I am okay and all the rest of my day is food for that most important thing.
But then, I come to deeper questions here about what it means to live a good life. For me, soon, that will mean living a life where I have more “free” time – and by that I mean discretionary time that isn’t locked up in a schedule. For me, that creative life also means a life full of art and mystery and nature. It means a life of sustainability, both in terms of the resources I use but also in terms of my own psychological, emotional, intellectual, and creative health. These are the important things because they are the things that let me serve others and serve my writing.
I was taught these lessons early by parents who have, with rare exception, chosen to do what they love with their lives. They have never been people who have taken the high-paying job just because it is high-paying or lived somewhere because the “lifestyle” was the image they wanted. They love God and do what they want, and I hope they always will. My mom is a wonderful piano teacher who adores each and every one of her students – all 20-something of them each year. My dad is a tree farmer – Woody, the tree farmer – who is tiring of his work in the business but is planning to retire soon – being true again to where he is at the moment.
And that’s the secret of this creative life, I think – to know ourselves and what we value to be able to choose the right thing for the moment. What a gift . . . and one I try to live more into every day. To revel in who I am created to be instead of trying to become something else – there’s true peace and glory in that.
I come alive in and through words, through music, in great food, in wonderful time with friends, and in those moments when I’m not thinking about the “next” thing or even “this” thing – but where I am just there, breathing in the moment and then breathing it back out.
“Alive” by Renata Baiao