365 Days Of Creativity Challenge, Collectivitea, Creatives+ Creative Entrepreneurs, Over a cup of tea.. (Online Journal)

The Way Out Of Vacillation

Vacillation/ CollectiviteaVacillation is my word for the first 5 months of this year. In fact, add procrastination to this, and you have a match made in indecision heaven. The two words together accurately describe my 2018 insofar as the first half of it.  In an argument worthy of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, I have taken 5 months to decide whether I should continue to blog or not to blog, to write a book or not write a book, to exclusively focus on some new work commitments or not, to be regular on social media or not, to take a break or … you get the idea. It’s just been one choice after another and I find myself in a peculiar position of hesitation and ambivalence that I haven’t experienced in decades. I have to admit that vacillation feels good, a vacation from decision-making. Like something from a Dr. Strange or some other superhero movie when someone throws all the balls are in the air and they use special effects to show them suspended in the air. You let that pause stretch indefinitely, everything is still up in the air, and you don’t have to commit to anything. A holding pattern. A safe zone. Do I/we need to get beyond this? (After all, Mark Twain has said, “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well”) In spite of Twain’s words, we all know it’s important to keep moving forward. But what if the next step isn’t clear or you think you aren’t partial to one way more than the other? My suggestion is if you are in need of a break, take time off. Relax and rest. Reflect on why we don’t want to commit to a decision- is there a barrier like a lack of time, changing priorities or interests, etc.? I took time away from the blog. I discovered I love writing and would like to continue doing so but the topics I was interested in writing about had changed from the time I started a blog. So I take the smallest baby step forward. I start writing again but on topics that matter to me. And then I set a small goal to write as often as I can. Wait. That sounds vague. How about at least 3 times this week? That sounds a little difficult but I can definitely try. 3 times. Putting a number on it is a concrete reminder of my writing goal. I think back to my goal of being creative for 365 days – I have definitely tried to meet it but it’s still a work in progress. However, I’ve learned two very important things – 1) that perfection harms creativity. The more I want to keep a perfect score of 365, the lesser creative ideas I have. 2) The more we seek to reach, the further away the destination moves. The goal then is to stay on the path, to show up, and enjoy the journey. So today I changed the tagline for the blog to “Living Creatively Ever After” because happily ever after is the biggest myth ever, leading us to believe that we are guaranteed happiness upon arrival at some destination; I’d rather live creatively ever after.  Here’s to bidding vacillation, procrastination, hesitation, and indecision a firm goodbye! In case you are still undecided about something, you can always toss a coin like the old parable says. When the coin is up in the air, you know what result you are hoping for! – Priya

 

Collectivitea, Over a cup of tea.. (Online Journal)

Read The Label (And Then…)

Read The Label/ Collectivitea

I have been thinking a lot about labels that are placed on us. Those that we place ourselves and those that are thrust upon us by others. Good. Bad. Large. Small. Smart. Pretty. Beautiful. Artist. Creative. Talented. Lucky. Employed. Amateur. Professional. Mom. Not any or all of the above. These are just a few of the thousands of examples. Some labels indicate that we belong somewhere, a place, a race, or a community. Others tell us where we don’t belong. Some serve as mere identification for demographics, others become part of our inner identity. Some of the labels we are happy to embrace because they may reinforce positive traits that we are proud of while others have been placed on us courtesy of current societal conditioning and standards. We wish we could disown some of those. We start collecting and carrying these labels from the time we are born and by the time we are adults, it’s a wonder that we aren’t drowning under the sheer weight of all of them.Read The Label/ Collectivitea

I have lately been examining all ‘my’ labels and I first discarded all those that felt dated, irrelevant,  or untrue. I also let go of any, and all hurtful, labels. If you want to know how I did it, I used a simple laywoman method! Every time someone called me something in the course of a conversation (some examples  kind, emotional, smart, so educated!, insecure, great photographer etc.) I was mindful that the description belonged to them, and not me. By calling me ‘kind’, they were defining who they thought a kind person should be like. By calling me ’emotional’ they were showing me how much emotion was acceptable to them.  Nobel laureate Toni Morrison wrote “Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined”. So in that moment that a label, good or bad, comes my way, I let it flow around me. I read the label, and then I let it go. It tells me more about the speaker than about myself. It probably will change because, after all, we are always changing and growing. Everything is constantly changing – those that label, those that are labelled, and the label itself. Why would we want to be slotted, made static, and stemming all growth when the alternative is that we continue to grow into our authentic selves, embracing our imperfect individuality? Nothing can beat that! After all, “what’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” (William Shakespeare)

Read The Label/ Collectivitea

365 Days Of Creativity Challenge, Collectivitea, Creative Exercises And Prompts, Over a cup of tea.. (Online Journal)

Finding Not Seeking

On most days, I set out on an hour-long morning walk. My path takes me on roads lined with houses with small, lovely gardens. It’s as if the owners’ personalities are expressed through their landscaping. Restrained lawns. Drought-resistant and seemingly wild gardens with aloe vera, lavender, and rosemary. Vibrant colorful daisies bursting out of their borders. Right now early summer roses  are in many gardens and the air is heavy with their perfume and with the sound of bees at work. The roads are gently dusted with fallen petals, leaves, and twigs. Sometimes, I bring back a petal, a tiny leaf, or flower back as souvenirs of that day’s walk. And today, I got to thinking about what we seek and what we find. About finding not seeking.Finding Not Seeking/ 365 Creative Exercises And Prompts/ Collectivitea

For so long all my creative journeys were about seeking something, a validation or a destination. It’s only after having been on this path for nearly 10 years that I think I’m beginning to understand what Herman Hesse said in his book Siddhartha, “And when someone seeks,” said Siddhartha, “then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”

Finding Not Seeking/ 365 Creative Exercises And Prompts/ Collectivitea

For Day 114 of the 365 day creativity challenge, find something in nature and let it inspire your creativity. (Obviously, with regard to found objects (leaves, petals, etc.) don’t pick up anything unsafe or something that you may be allergic to!) You can use it to compose a photograph which is what I did or you can use what nature you see in your daily path to inspire your writing, prose or poetry. If you are an artist, you may capture the beauty of the bright green of fallen leaves against the road in a drawing. It always reminds me of a starry night. Use the nature you see in your surroundings to inspire Day 114. And while you are expressing yourself creatively, mull over Hesse’s profound words of wisdom. You may also want to read his writings on his reverence for trees. Have a wonderful day! – Priya

Books, Collectivitea, Over a cup of tea.. (Online Journal)

Why Do We Read Nonfiction?

What kind of books are you drawn to? Do you prefer fiction over non fiction or vice versa? If you’d asked me a few years ago, I would’ve told you that the only books I read were works of fiction and I loved them all the more if they also had a happy ending! It’s hard to imagine now but I’d read very few non-fiction works until I reached my early forties. Story books have always been a portal into a more exciting world and a way to read about people in diverse life situations. We read to be entertained, mystified, happy, sad, horrified, jubilant, and/or devastated. We get to experience a range of emotions with the added bonus of a safe distance. Why do we read nonfiction? I have a theory about that…

Why Do We Read Nonfiction/Collectivitea

A recent conversation with a friend got me thinking about why I started reading nonfiction and why I read it almost exclusively now. At some point in my forties, I started reading nonfiction books that fall into the self-help category. So not all kinds of nonfiction, just those that would provide answers.  How can I tap into my inner goddess? What is feminine power and can I access it? I also read entrepreneur-authors for business advice. Then just over a year ago, I started a regular volunteering practice at a local, non-profit health organization. It was to support a cause but also a way to for me to practice a more mindful and healthful lifestyle. How can I be more healthy? Who needs sleep? (Answer: All of us and preferably 7-8 hours!) How can I be less stressed? How can I be more productive? And so on.

My theory is that, given a choice, we read those books that will most help us where we are, either by providing an escape from a dreary or stressful situation, a respite from reality if you will, or we read to learn. I have found this to be true for myself but is it too much of an oversimplification? These are the books I am currently reading and as you can see, chronobiology has me in its thrall. The idea of synchronizing our daily routine with the body’s circadian rhythm to optimize our lives has all my self-help antennae jangling! I would love to hear your thoughts! -Priya


 

365 Days Of Creativity Challenge, Collectivitea, Creative Exercises And Prompts, Over a cup of tea.. (Online Journal)

Valuing Ourselves

I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind a lot and that is the word ‘value’. What we value. What we don’t. What we value in people. The people we value. And most importantly, the value we assign to ourselves. Initially, when I thought about my value, I thought about the value conferred on me by my family. The value assigned to me by my education or job. My material possessions. My accomplishments. Successes and failures that purportedly add or detract value. All of this is assigned to us by external sources and can change with circumstances. Now what if I assigned my own value to myself, something that would come from within me and not be subject to changing circumstances? What if we valued ourselves and treated ourselves with love and compassion regardless of circumstances? Rumi said “The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already are.” He also said “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.” And lastly this quote whose source I was not able to find, “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” You Are Enough/Valuing Ourselves/CollectiviteaJust being our authentic selves and valuing our strengths and vulnerabilities is something we can all develop. In any given situation, check to see if you are extending love and compassion towards yourself as well as to others. For today’s creative exercise, what kind of artwork, poetry, or creative expression is inspired in you by these words? (Day 113 prompt) I am not an artist but I was thinking of the figure of a person and multitudes of stars shining from within them.  Let me know what you think and what creative expression this inspired in you. -Priya