Knowing creativity was coming up for this week working through Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet, I got excited. I thought, “Oh, yay! It will have me dipping into my art supplies, taking photos, writing and other such creative pursuits!” You know, the things one generally thinks of when one hears the word “creativity.”
Not so. It was more about creating one’s life. “Ugh, just what I don’t need. Like I don’t obsess about that enough?” I thought to myself.
Also, it was about coming up with creative ideas to fulfill the desires we found we had previously, supposing, of course, they weren’t illegal or morally reprehensible desires. I admit, I was frustrated by the first read through.
So, I wasn’t doing what Beck suggests, making a list of any and all ways–no matter how off-the-wall–to make your desires reality. I totally did not resonate, at all, with the suggestion to take on the viewpoint of the enemy, either. Being the perfectionist I am if I’m not being vigilant, I was about to throw in the towel halfway through the week, since I wasn’t doing much of anything the chapter suggests.
Then, Thursday, I decided to just take what worked for me and forget the rest, lest I spend all my time nursing frustration both with myself and the book. (This is what I intend to do for the remainder of the book, just for the record: Take what works for me, what resonates, and leave the rest.)
The truth is, getting at most of the desires I wrote about last week, making them a reality, is simply a matter of doing them.
So I want to spend more time in the Great Outdoors? The only way to do that is to go outside.
The only way to make art is to take the time, gather the supplies, get my hands dirty, and make it!
The only way to clean and declutter the parts of the house over which I have control is to dive in and do it. If there’s something I feel reticent about keeping, but feel I should anyway, I should stop and ask myself why. If it brings up a lot of emotions, I’ll stop and ask myself why. When it’s finished, I intend to do some energetic space-clearing. This point is the one instance that I came closest to following the rote instructions of the chapter.
If I want rest, I have to take the time to rest, and I have to let go of whatever is going on in my head that doesn’t want to let me rest.
If I want to publish a book, I have to write it. I have to figure out what sort of book it will be, and then I have to write it. If I want to write, I have to sit down and do it. After that book is written, then comes the editing process, and after the editing process, out go the query letters and writing samples or the whole manuscript, depending on the standard practice for that genre. The only way to do these things is just to do them.
And my Big Dream is pretty much the same. (I do feel protective of it at this point, so, for now, I’m keeping it to myself, but many of the elements of it I did write about in last week’s post.) It’s a matter of overcoming the fear that stands between me and just doing the necessary tasks to get me there.
Now, before anyone thinks I’m throwing the baby out with the figurative bathwater, there were parts of the chapter that helped, that did resonate with me.
First, was the continued assertion that failure is okay. Beck pointed out that the most successful people she has worked with or known also have a lot of failures under their belt because they took creative leaps and risks…They tried for what they wanted, even though sometimes it didn’t work out. As she put in all caps: “IF SOMETHING IS WORTH DOING, IT’S WORTH DOING BADLY.” I am always so afraid of failing, which causes me to get in my own way a lot of times. I’m beginning to think I should perhaps have that all-capped saying tattooed on my forehead. (Just kidding.) I need a constant reminder that, if something doesn’t work out, I need to take away what lessons I can from it and move on.
Second, I liked the exercise unifying false dichotomies. Life isn’t generally an “either/or” thing at the heart of it. It is generally a “both/and/all of the above” thing. I’m slowly deepening my study into the more philosophical and spiritual side of Yoga, and into Buddhist thought, and this dovetails nicely with what I’ve been reading on the subjects lately. Everything is all together, and “good” and “bad” are only our perceptions with the exception of things that harm others, like murder, for instance, obviously. Things like failure, for instance, can be both good and bad at the same time: good because you tried and you have the opportunity to learn from what did not work, and bad because, obviously, it didn’t work out as you’d have liked and you’re disappointed.
Third, doing one thing different is something that works for me. Even if it means doing something off the wall–in my case, stopping trying to live this book by the letter and, instead, taking what works and leaving the rest–doing one thing different has a way of breaking one out of whatever rut one finds oneself inhabiting.
Finally, it never hurts to be reminded that, to a great extent, we are the captains of our own destinies. Sure, we may not be in control of every single detail of our lives, but we are in charge of more than we think we are. We create more of our circumstances than, at first glance, it appears we do. For instance, I may have a job that doesn’t feed my spirit, but it is making me the money I will need to carry me toward my dreams, and I can do what I like in the time I’m not at the office instead of moping outside the office about the time I am at office.
Speaking of which, I think I may have figured out the timing of my departure as I explained in my post on Truth: Spring 2010. I feel like I’ve been pushing too hard to make things happen faster, instead of going with their natural course of development, and, I think, that’s part of the reason why I’ve been running around so scared and frustrated. I think this is a date that both sides of myself, the Logical One and the Emotional, Intuitive One, can live with. Plus, I have things I must make peace with before I leave, so I don’t carry those things with me and project them onto other jobs, people, and places.
How has creativity week been for you, fellow Joy Dieters?