Have you thought of yourself as a creative person yet realized that you feel like you have too much to do to take the time to be creative? That has been me. I keep my calendar pretty simplistic to keep stress low. (In my opinion, that’s a MUST when you have either a chronic health challenge [for me currently it’s the hormone and digestion/food intolerances issues mainly] or a high-support-needs child or two). Navigating life’s challenges while trying to stay sane AND keep the house from becoming a complete disaster while also maintaining some semblance of a social life left me feeling like my schedule was pretty crowded. So I’d say I didn’t have time for anything else. I believed that, too.
And the truth is, I DON’T have time for things that cause more stress and drain me. I’m in a season where I do not volunteer much unless it doesn’t stress me out, because I can love my family and others better when I’m not a cranky ball of angst. I also recently stopped attending a moms’ group that has been so meaningful to me EVEN THOUGH I love it! Why? I need to give my “best yes,” and right now there isn’t enough capacity in me to attend that and also build the relationships I’ve been feeling led to grow more in my community.
Yet I realized something. You know the crazy thing about productive, resilient, remarkable people? They don’t have any more hours in the day than you or I yet somehow they MAKE time for exceptional activities. So I thought, Well, I want to be resilient and not settle for merely surviving! I need to make time for things that energize me, give me a zest for life, which in turn helps me be a better version of myself for the world!
I value art and consider myself a creative person, yet that was one area I had let go to the wayside. I’m not sure how to express it, but doing art (or a garden, etc.) awakens something in a person, at least in me, that invigorates the soul. I wanted more of that along my journey out of survival mode.
In learning about goal-setting and knowing the fact that 40% more of our goals are accomplished when we write them down, I committed to doing more artwork. My friend was the catalyst for action when she saw one of my smaller pieces of art I did 10 years ago and challenged me to do more. I’ve done maybe one painting a year to give as a gift the past 10 years, if that. So when she said, “Will you do one for me?” I felt like that was confirmation and the reason to get to it!
As an aside, realistically, artists cannot do art upon request to give to people for free very often, if at all in some cases (especially if that is their livelihood). Not to be too woo-woo, but artists put some of their heart into every piece of art. I personally have to consider the pull on my time taking me away from more focused attention on my family, or say, re-organizing that disaster of a basement, if I’m doing art for someone else. But her genuine enthusiasm and encouragement for something that was already stirring in my heart before she even spoke it just made me want to say yes, kind of as a thank-you for being the impetus.
Saying a goal out loud to another person and putting a time frame on it helps light your fire. Also, doing my Youtube channel with the idea of living creatively and intentionally also was something that motivated me. If I’m hoping to share my love for intentionality and creativity to encourage others to be creative…well, I kind of have to be actively and intentionally creative.
Doing the painting was not only an exercise in goal-setting, reigniting a passion, and connecting with my friend, it was also just about being. What do I mean? I had to stop all the commotion of my life and just be in order to do that, to be still with paint and a paintbrush and a blank canvas. I had to be an artist who knew what her subject was.
So I did a portrait of my friend and her two cultures. I wanted to capture what matters to her and who she is as a person–someone with a big heart. The world is better and more beautiful with her and her perspective, which is the sentiment behind my painting. The validation of that, the whole process of goal-setting and creating art, and growing along the way makes it worthwhile to me.