|Day 4, AtriaII, Toronto|
[This post covers Days 8 + 9; wrote the draft on one day and edited the next.]
I’m writing this post on the go. I’m sitting here in the Treats cafeteria on the ground floor of the AtriaII, having left the Intro to the Canadian Mortgage Industry class a bit earlier. I stepped out fifteen minutes before break time so I can write at least a quick draft to this post.
Choices, creative choices. I’ve said it many times and I will say it again : Creativity is a choice. It isn’t easy. It never is. Like right now. The more obvious choice, at best, is to study for tomorrow’s exam. Or at my lazy worse, watch Louis CK or Bill Burr on Netflix. But as with the most vital things in our lives – where to live, who to love, how to feel, I get to choose.
This habit of choosing to create may come easier to some, not because they were born that way but because it has become a way of life. It’s always a battle for me. If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, you’ll notice this by now. The act of making the choice to create is also a muscle. It is a muscle that I choose to strengthen, thus this 30 Day Journey and this blog and the 100songs and so on and so forth.
If I know one of the most basic truths of being human, it is this: Everybody is creative. For the very purpose of this post, I’ll assume that we agree 100% on this premise. Also, I’ll assume that you have made the choice, The Choice to live like the creative being that you are.
Now the big question: What now?
As I’ve once declared my life mission: To help show, mainly by my example, that one can always live creative, here I am about to share my personal practice once again. Some of the reason why I LOVE the practice / way of life is because 1) It has literally saved my sanity countless times. 2) It brings so much true JOY in my life and some of the happiest people I know in this world are the ones who create from their hearts and 3) It’s simply so stinkin fun to create! That is, after you’ve gotten over the gremlins of resistance and you’re unstoppable.
For simplicity, I’ll be referring to both my writing/singing practice. But it can very well apply to anything that has to do with making something out of nothing.
So you’ve chosen to practice creativity. What am I to do in the day to day of it? Here are seven things I personally swear by. They are my tried and tested. They are backed by years of wisdom from other wise teachers, gurus, coaches who have done it in their lives, too. They work for me. Try them out and adjust accordingly.
1) Keep it moving.
In writing, no matter where, how, when; on your desk during lunch break, on a long or short bus/subway/car ride, in the cafeteria mid-course as I’m doing right now, just keep it moving. In singing, do it daily. Pop songs, classics, rock, it doesn’t matter. The mix of songs on my SoundCloud are so eclectic. I don’t care. I do it for the practice. Not to market to a particular musical group. Worry not about how good, bad, appropriate, inappropriate. This is The Practice. As Teacher Nat always says: Athletes seem to have no problem with this concept of regular practice. Neither should we creatives.
If regular practice is the first rule, this is a close second for me. The energy that one can create with the right person is priceless. I have walking buddies, singing buddies, writing buddies here and all over the world. They push and pull you when you need it the most. Then you return the favor when they need it, too, always in the spirit of keeping it moving.
3) Ship and share!
This one’s a tough one. Especially for us shy, introverted types. It’s hard to press the “Return/Enter” button, to mail the envelope, to post the photo, share the recipe because we are sensitive beings and feel so connected to our work. But we hear it all the time: sharing is caring. It’s not only for the one at the receiving end. It’s more for the one giving. At my age and with my experience of being wife and mom, I’ve come to realize that this old concept of “It’s better to give than receive.” is actually true. In sharing your work, you strengthen the creative muscle, you let it breathe, get alive,grow in the world. This is valuable. As Seth Godin says, art isn’t art if it is festering, hiding-in-the-baül work. Art needs to ship, be seen, connect.
4) Say ‘Yes’ more.
Resist letting out the skeptic, suspicious, snob gremlin living within. I’ve learned that we can’t kill these monsters altogether. We can only choose to quiet them. So as soon as they rear their slimy, ugly heads, push them back down. Consciously, willfully, with full conviction. Then open your eyes and look at new ideas, fresh concepts, ways of being that are different from yours with an open mind. At the very least, consider them.
5) Get the body-mind thing in gear.
For a very long time I thought it was all about the mind-soul connection. Creativity is mostly soul-centered, that much is true. But my soul still resides in a body so when my body feels like crap, my soul’s trapped in there and has nowhere to go. While I am here on this physical plane, I need to make friend with this amazing vehicle that I have been given. I enrolled in the gym. I took up running. I started choosing better foods, more greens, less meat, more fluids. I choose to take the best care of my body, learn the best ways to nourish and fuel it, continue educating myself in the study of managing this vessel of Energy because without energy, The Work suffers, too.
6) Set short term goals for the practice.
I remember being a swimmer when I was a young kid. My mom started us young, bless her heart, and we would go to our coach, Tita Ressie after school, three times a week, twice on weekdays after school and once on the weekends. Coach Ressie would make us do laps, twenty minutes, non-stop to start. Then bubbles. Then another twenty, this time sprint. I hated these laps. They made my lungs feel like they’d burst. We moved from the pool at the resort to the olympic sized one in the sports arena. I was given well-measured goals and very gradually got stronger and stronger. One of the experiences of my young life as it taught me discipline and showed me that measured pain was necessary to make progress possible. This experience got me the discipline to learn golf where I excelled and was able to join non-professional tournaments, some which I actually won and the confidence to become a licensed scuba diver (PADI).
7) Get out there!
Get some air, sunshine, new information, new friends, new trends. Infuse your body and mind with moving, flowing, light-infused energy.
So there you go, creative folks! Not bad for an on-the-go post. I smile inwardly and give myself a pat on the shoulder. It didn’t take me that long after all. And this after I already gave my “Excuse Slip” to miss today’s post to which she ever so kindly gave me the permission to do so. I love your gentle persuasion, Wruddy. Your subtle ‘reverse psychology’ tactic, which I suspect you didn’t even know you were doing, worked its magic!
7:02PM. Time to study…and go! See you tomorrow for the update on the exam! Angels of study, be with me, thank yous and AMEN.
As always, in the spirit of imperfect shipping and sharing,