That’s a question I hope you ask yourself often. If you haven’t done so recently, why not stop to do that now, and to remember the feeling that comes up with that creative process. Really remember it and sit with it for just a minute.
Do you lose your sense of time?
Do you lose your sense of self?
Do you forget to eat?
Can you work at it for hours on end and not get tired?
Can you feel the state they call a state of flow?
Lessons from Day 2
“What do I utterly lose myself in while creating?” is the question I came to after distilling the events of Day 2. It proved to be one that I hope will recalibrate my career. While it may not bring about a 180 degree change, it’ll nudge me in the direction the needle needs to move if I’m to live fully. So, high five for me for hitting on at least one paradigm shift in just two short days!
Here’s what kicked the shift into gear.
The day started with an unexpected reminder to look at What I Do rather than Who I Think I am. This prompt came from my mother. Moms excel at catalyzing a life reframe because despite who it is you believe yourself to have become, they tend to shatter false self images by handing you impromptu reminders about the details of your long forgotten past. This knack comes with the benefit of unconditionally loving you, so you’ve got to take the bad with the good. That’s the price to be paid for being loved. Unconditionally.
Unboxing the Past
When mom emerged from the garage yesterday morning holding items she’d rescued from storage, her hands held a few of my old sketchbooks I’d forgotten existed. Mom hadn’t. She’d cleverly dug them up to remind me of a life path I once prized but discarded. Bending over the living room table with all 85 years of herself poised as if displaying precious documents, she patiently flipped through each drawing, all the while complimenting me on small details I hadn’t realized I’d captured. The images were mostly portraits drawn 24 years ago when I was fresh out of college, bursting with ideas and creativity. So immersed in artistic expression, I kept a too-large drafting table nudged against the side of my bed and regularly bruised myself on its edges.
“Why did you stop drawing, Delma?”
Why did I stop drawing? Why did I stop capturing light by taking photos? Why did I stop dancing? Why did I stop writing that book? I had no answer, really. It seemed to be a progression that started when within a year of graduating from college, I “settled down”. One month later, we’d bought our first house. And because the job I absolutely loved- Public Relations/Graphic Artist for a nonprofit- was just a part time gig, I became fearful and impatient. The “need” to make money became greater than the need to do what I loved. That line of thinking was my first tragic mistake! And then life’s demands became even more sobering. My husband Scott lost his eyesight 18 months after the wedding. Three years later his sight was restored, but by six years after that, he’d experienced three strokes.
I stopped creating.
It’s probably a good idea for me to just sit with that for a bit but not to dwell on them as though they were a hardship. Because those circumstances and conditions? They gave us the start of an amazing bond doctors would later take note of and cheer. We became Team McConnell.
Besides, none of those conditions now exist. Scott has 20/20 vision. He’s fully recovered his speech and all motor skills and within three months of starting physical therapy, had no residual effects of the strokes. That was just the beginning of the miracles.
Scott’s journey is my own, and it’s an absolutely and ridiculously full one. The turnarounds we’ve experienced make up the story we’d hoped for, and I’m not yet living in a way which celebrates that nearly enough.
The best way to begin is to go back to the things I lose myself in creating.
And the best way to celebrate life is to let it do what it seems to love to do.
Create. Change. Evolve.
It’s said that life is nothing BUT change, and when I take a good look, I find this to be more than true. Life loves moving. Morphing. Expanding. The only thing that wants to arrest it is the ego, the self. It’ll never win. There’s no stopping life in it’s tracks. As Byron Katie says, “Every time I fight it, I lose”.
Apparently, the “I” should get out of my own way!
Answers from yesterday’s end notes: Yes, the morning beach visits may indeed become a new routine. And with that, I am just fine.
Notes for Day 3: Breathe. Smile. Repeat.