Hello everyone! How are you doing? How is 2018 so far? It may be too early to pass a verdict but judging by how the first week has been, 2018 is off to a slow start. By that I mean that I am finding that it may be a year that asks me to take well-thought out, measured steps forward – no careening, no skipping, and definitely, no impulsive leaps and jumps. It’s asking me to really think if this is the life I want and am I brave enough to venture out of the cave where I am hiding. Who would think that 8-9 days could convey all that?! Which makes 2018 a powerful year! What are your thoughts on 2018?
I’ve finished 69 days of the 365-day Creativity Challenge; today is Day 70. On most days, it’s been easy to carve out time to write here and it feels cathartic, much like writing in a journal. I’ve learned one big lesson from this exercise, that being there is no destination in life. No place where we arrive and no happily-ever-afters. I don’t mean that in a pessimistic way but instead, it’s a discovery accompanied by a kind of relief. Happiness is not a destination; it’s not a place we arrive at, and where upon arrival, we are declared to now be happy. Forever. Just like we don’t expect to have exercised enough to have reached a perpetual state of good health, so also with happiness. We work at it for the rest of our lives. And so also with creativity. When you take time to be creative every day, it becomes easier to tap into this well of ideas. In fact, it replenishes itself the more we draw from it. Whatever we do, we must keep at it. It’s not a means to an end and the time spent on it is itself the first reward.
I spent part of 2016, and all of 2017 on a journey of self-discovery. I think we all have years where we are busy going through the motions of life, and suddenly life slows down as if in a slow-motion clip and we become aware of our every thought and movement. What am I doing and why do I want to do it? What patterns of behavior am I repeating? What cultural conditioning do I carry around and how does it influence my views? Am I carrying baggage from an old wound? Why am I not putting it down or throwing it away? I read a lot of books and I took some courses. At first, it felt indulgent and well, self-centered. Was this just that old cliché, midlife crisis? But the more I read and learned, the wider my perspective got. There were stale patterns of behavior. There were conditioned responses. There was also the fear of being less than perfect, all the while knowing deep within that I’d never been perfect. And it was all okay.
Having seen and heard these new perspectives, I can never unsee, un-hear or un-know them. My perspective has been widened, changed, and extended for ever. Like the over-stretched rubber band metaphor but the only difference being that the over-stretch is the state we want to be. I am the better for all the teachers and writers sharing their views with me.
For Day 70’s creative exercise, I would like to suggest a visit to your local library or bookstore. Find an author that you normally would not read. Non-fiction worked better for me, but fiction can do the job too. Find someone whose experiences and perspective are different from yours and see what they have to say. Except for extreme situations, the supposed good and bad are multi-dimensional, and layered. Read someone else’s truth and let it widen your perspective.
Just last week, I read Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle. I’ve read her earlier book but this one, Love Warrior, will stay with me forever. When I read her first book, I thought I didn’t have much in common with the author in terms of life experiences. But I deeply admired her courage and willingness to be vulnerable, and started Love Warrior. I listened to it as an audio book when I went for my daily walk, and every day that I listened, I found myself stopping often to take in the sheer power of her words. How true, how vulnerable, and how courageous. Love warrior indeed. There is so much we have to learn from one another. What would we do if not for these vanguard force of writers and teachers who drive us to examine our own vulnerabilities? If you haven’t already, I greatly recommend it as the perfect way to kick 2018 into gear. Have a wonderful rest of the day, and I’ll see you tomorrow. -Priya
Background: Welcome! We are now at Day 70 of the 365 Day Creativity Challenge, and I am excited and happy to have you here! I use the terms ‘creative’, ‘creativity’ or ‘creative exercise’ very loosely. While they have very specific meanings within the art or business worlds, I define it as any activity that allows us to access an inner stillness. Where the mind’s incessant chatter decreases, and for that short period of time, we are in the presence of a magnificent quietude. Where we feel joyful and recharged as if accessing a powerful, bountiful source of imagination and ideas. It makes what we do- draw, write, paint, work in a science lab, dance, sing, play music, photography etc. etc.- a spiritual experience. It has nothing to do with talent and skill level, and everything to do with joy. Whether you take part in all 365 days, or 7, 21, or 30 days, or join us when you can, I hope you will take the time to relax, slow down, and be your joyous self! Want more details? You may want to read this introduction to the 365-Day Creativity Challenge. Have a wonderful day! Just as a reminder, it really helps to have a dedicated journal or notebook because you will see a continuous record of your creativity expanding and changing as you devote time to it every day. You will also be creating a year’s worth of creative work. As you work through the prompts, write down other things that strike you because you may want to revisit these ideas. Have a wonderful day and I will see you tomorrow! To share what you are doing, please use the hashtag #ctea365 on social media and /or leave me a comment below. – Priya
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