Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Creativity: Different Chapters of our Life

Like you, I am a girl who is always growing. A woman who's soul is filled with curiosity and find inspiration in the ordinary. A creative spirit that is expressive and aware. But I noticed after my weekend retreat that my day to day life hasn't been balanced with my need for personal creative outlet. Curiosity getting the better of me, I asked fellow quilters, what they planned to do with the quilt they were making. Though all their answers were respectable, it was the one who exclaimed: "I have absolutely no idea. I just love making it." that struck a chord with me. I too enjoy making things. Could it be as simple as that? That sometimes a quilts only purpose can be as simple as giving our creative spirit wings? 
As I reviewed my library of creative books, I've noticed that creativity is defined differently in various chapters of our lives, evident in my stack of books below:
On top, my childhood journal (a hilarious read btw: June 28, 1977 "Dear Diary, Today I wrote to Barry Manilow, got my hair feathered and then had to get x-rays of my teeth. Braces soon!"  The next three books in the stack are journaling guides that helped nurture my soul-searching college self. Simple Abundance a wonderful daybook of comfort and joy that I devoured during my parenting stage of life and truthfully wouldn't mind reading again. Finally, at the bottom of the stack, four creative "workbooks" that launched me into my current empty nest phase of life. 

Our creativity often evolves as we do.

 Overtime my leisure college days of journaling creekside transformed into scrapbooking at the kitchen table while toddlers napped and on planned weekends with my sister.We had so much fun!
I have a library of memories created during this chapter of my life.  A library that has encapsulated our family's beginning. Our daughters' childhood. My husband and I as newlyweds and parents. Our first 25 years, creatively preserved. I remember treasuring every moment of this chapter for as the girls grew, with every milestone, my own role was constantly changing too. And then suddenly, (well not really, but it feels like that) they had begun lives away from home.

Soon creating scrapbook pages of Jackson playing in the water, though cute, only reminded me of my diminishing joy.  I began to realize that I had turned the page to a new chapter of life without even realizing it. It was time to challenge myself with something new.  I needed a new creative outlet that brought me joy once again. Thankfully, I knew immediately what I would do! It was something I had wanted to try for a long time...one that I had dabbled in but had previously no time to pursue. 
And thus, my life-long desire to quilt, began.
In the Fall of 2009 that I was able to sink my teeth into the hobby 
and take my first quilting class.  Now, many quilt tops later, 
I'm teaching myself the art of Long-Arm Quilting. I blog.
I volunteer as a quilter for Project Linus and 
absolutely enjoy quilting and consider it a true "work of "heart"!  
So what have I learned along the way? How do we find time, to nourish our creative spirit?

1. Acknowledge the chapter of life you are in. Perhaps you are a parent to small children, or taking care of elderly parents. Perhaps you are working full time, or you are retired. Whichever stage we are in, I've learned it's important to be gentle with ourselves. Life is lived in chapters and before you know it, you've turned the page and a new chapter has begun. So choose your creative outlet judiciously, but don't forego it. Do what gives you JOY. I loved scrapbooking. I cherish the albums my sister and I made side by side. The conventions that helped us escape mommyhood for one entire weekend as we happily adventured along the highway listening to Huey Lewis instead of children. Choose to do things that you truly love and that will motivate you. But be honest with what you have the time to do in your given chapter of life. Don't pack your schedule too tightly. 

2.Let go of perfectionism! One of my favorite people were at the retreat this past weekend. We are only acquaintances, but from afar I admire her as a mentor. She's a retired teacher. A happy, creative soul with multiple projects in the works. I loved watching as she transitioned between them. I'd ask her what she was working on and she'd respond: "Right now I'm enjoying this, but later I think I'll go back to that." I internally thought: What?! My projects don't always have to a purpose? I realized the perfectionist in me has been holding me back. Just enjoy the creative process Val. I'll end with the words of my secret mentor: "Oh posh, better done than perfect!"

3. Make the Ordinary, EXTRAordinary! While watching my "secret Mentor" I realized that more often than not lately, I've let myself get caught up in "getting a project done" and admittedly
 have forgetten to enjoy the creative process. I've realized I need to be less product and more creative orientated. Creativity comes in many forms. Give ourselves permission to just play sometimes.
My retreat gave opportunity for me to reflect. I was able to examine my own thoughts and heart. I discovered I've let perfectionism block some original creative ideas I have. I've let sad situations take up too much of my heart causing me to diddle my free time away. I can resolve this.

This week I encourage you to "pause" and acknowledge and embrace your chapter of life. Be evaluative of yourself as well. Choose your creative outlet judiciously, but please don't forego it. 
I hope you'll return next week for part two of my upcoming summer series of  "Creativity" posts: Next week: Be Prepared. Followed sequentially by Making Time and Remembering Your Why!

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15 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post, and so true!! I have Simple Abundance too!! I get it out from time to time just to have a thought for the day, and funny thing (great minds think alike here) I was thinking of doing a post on my Discovery Journal that I did some time ago and how it relates to my life today.

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  2. Such a great message in your post. just sewing & quilting for the pleasure of it is satisfying at this stage of my life. I can relate to the scrapbooking stage :)

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  3. Excellent post Val! I have been retired for awhile now-we bought a major fixer up home
    so I am always feeling guilty about creating instead of working on the house-we are at a standstill at the moment waiting for a couple to do some things so I can then continue.
    I have realized that I never thought of getting old-a senior-with limited time ahead-none of us know how much time we have here on earth but as a senior now this year I have thought about it allot-so I am working on doing what makes me happy and not worrying about all the rest of it.

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  4. Very well done, Val! I love this post...everything about it. I can't select one favorite point because it is all so relative. Thanks for this series, I'm looking forward to reading and learning more.

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  5. Lovely thoughtful posting Val...I love my scrapbooks of my grandchildren growing up...return to happy memories a whole lot...hugs, Julierose

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  6. Yup, I hear you. I am trying to find joy, while feeling a bit trapped by all the shoulds. I am trying new things, but even the pressure of feeling I have to finish because I paid money for the class takes away joy in the process. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

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  7. Excellent post sweet thing! My 'life' has evolved many times and there were occassions I forgot about 'me' to give souly to others - not my happy times.

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  8. Done IS better than perfect! SEW glad that you were able to enjoy some retreat time.

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  9. lots to think about here and you are a Barry Manilow fan too! Have never done paper craft as no good at all with a pencil drawing etc . I would be lost without some form of stitching though and spend most of my time doing it, Living on my own it helps fill the day and I can forget how sad I can feel when stitching stitching helps to keep me sane.

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  10. A legendary post! I can define stages of my life in decades generally, but you are spot on in acknowledging and letting go. Looking forward to your series.

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  11. Well said, Val! It's good to be reminded that we need to be gentle with ourselves, to let ourselves be where we need to be. Thank you.

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  12. Great reflections. On a daily basis lately in my studio I have had to remind myself to do something just for the joy. I'm so hell bent on clearing clutter in my studio and finishing WIPs that I have to remind myself that playing with scraps or starting a new project are okay too. So far I'm managing to find that balance but it's a daily consideration.

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  13. This is so well said and so important to embrace! I'm really looking forward to your next posts in this series, they sound equally interesting. Thank you!

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  14. I enjoyed reading your post. I have been purging some things I haven't used in years. Makes me think about your statement to acknowledge (embrace) the chapter of life you are in. I know I can't store all the materials and craft tools I have from years past. I know my girls don't want to deal with them. So I give or offer some on a sales site. I have been a quilter for so long, that I know it is my passion. And I make quilts just because I like to....they will never pay the bills.
    Thanks.

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  15. It is great to stop and reflect. I especially liked your childhood journal. Mine usually started well for a week or so, then ended up with blank pages.

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I have to admit, your comments make me smile! Thanks for sharing and for letting me know you stopped by. I Hope your day is awesome!

Val:)

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