On Being Creative

When I close my eyes and consider my life, the forty years I have been alive, I can feel and recognize the deepest parts of me that have always been there.

Writing poetry as a kid in a notebook with “DO NOT READ” on the front cover, hoping one of my siblings or parents would be like, “ohhhhh… what is this top secret notebook?” and peer into my world, consider my genius and applaud my poetic prowess on beaches, summer and band concerts. This tendency is self-publishing work now, directly asking people to read. Trusting the work.

My whole growing up, I have always been ok speaking in front of people, willing to volunteer yet perhaps a little too eccentric for teachers and operetta leaders to trust with main roles: a little too energetic for them to trust I would listen.

Plus, I have always been a visionary – leaders putting me in leadership roles inherently came with a prerequisite of a willingness to be open to ideas, perhaps even challenged by innovation.

Not that I’m obstinate. If I feel remotely responsible for people’s experiences, I think about the future. I want the coolest way. Raised by a resourceful person, cool futuristic thinking builds on what is as old as time, is influenced by wisdom, it’s rooted in love.

Love.

This weekend, I am teaching a workshop on the heart’s connection to divinity which I have studied to be primarily recognizable via sensations of love, peace and joy. The workshop intends to ground these three sensations into the body, into the home, into a present acceptance that allows a person to live, move, breathe with relative ease. Or at least remember ease is a thing when things are hard, thus (hopefully) – making it easier.

Part of preparing for this workshop means coming to terms with what disrupts my own sense of rootedness when it comes to the deepest parts of me that have always been there. I think it is important to know what you have always liked about yourself. What you think you’re good at. I have met people before with wildly low self esteem yet they make amazing loaves of bread, craft intricate crocheted items, read super fast and apply loads of intellectual content. I always wonder if they know these things to be clues, keys, into esteem. Into who they are. Into roots.

What if the practice of rooting and trusting who you are wasn’t about identifying what to establish and growing roots but about closing your eyes and visualizing your full root system: deep, healthy, thriving? What if a practice of allowing ourselves our full self gave us the foundation from which to operate? Operetta cuts and sitting in the back of the class and all?

One of the things I hope for my teaching – special workshops, regular yoga classes, writings, spiritual direction – is the same thing I hope for myself in my own life: that the whole self is allowed. That I assume access to all of my might, all of the time.

I’m reading this year’s story, A Christmas Tree Story, to an intimate group of friends this evening. Mailing all the orders out, teaching tomorrow and leading workshop Saturday and reading again Sunday. After these things are said and done, next week will be all about 2023 Yoga Planning and wrapping gifts, making cookies, slowing down. It will take the next ten days to feel all the aspects of myself, is my point – but I will be my whole self within each fraction of life. Does that make sense?

In this process, I realize I am now the Operetta Director, the Sixth Grade teacher, the Executive. It is only up to me to decide whether or not I make the cut, whether I am good enough – a good enough listener, able to focus my energy. By saying I am, I am allowing the whole self.

People in your life, I think, are there to teach you the voices you need most.

Positive validation received from people teaches how to validate, critical thought received from people teaches you how to identify the opposite, positive thought – the next step – the action.

My hope for you is that you trust who you have always been and spend your days enjoying yourself. Enjoy your gifts, talents and abilities.

Seeing even tendencies like to tidy up as a gift, allows us to appreciate the moments we use them: in our own kitchen on a cozy weekday morning or in a hospital waiting room in the middle of a sleepless night.

In a way, this makes everything then more enjoyable bc it is an honor of our divine design, our connection to source energy.

And it makes risk taking feel courageous and it makes times we are wrong feel right.

Out from a Whole Layer of Saran Wrap

When I decided to retire from corporate life back last fall 2020, there were so many obvious factors (COVID, New Marriage, Blended Family, 5 Kids, Virtual School, etc) that I didn’t ever really get pushed on the personal.

For a couple of mentors and close colleagues, I would offer “I need to peel the saran wrap off of my brain” and they got it, cheered me on.

But what did that really mean? Why did people seem to understand exactly what I meant?

It’s August 2021 and I have been out of the practice of being somewhere at or by a certain time and to others’ expectations for just over half of a year. Even my once weekly yoga class at a local studio is out of the mix as I’m off the regular schedule for a bit. It’s in this sea of clarity (nobody needing me outside of those destined to me (my husband, my kids)) that I can really see my own ideas versus my old ideas.

I do not think it is entirely fair to say that a particular group, organization, school, community traps you or makes you think a certain way if the dynamic started with a personal choice to be a part of it.

I do think it is fair to say that a group, org, school, or community brings to your life expectations. Your personal choice to be a part of and adhere to those expectations seals a little bit of your deal… drives your actions and interactions… and ultimately does or does not align with your values.

One of the hardest parts of my decision to retire from corporate life was that I value teamwork, hard work, being a part of something and helping others. But these things didn’t plug and play at home. I felt this distinct pull to value my time differently, understand my skills differently, see myself interact with life differently.

Who was I without my role at Enterprise? What do I do that is impressive outside of what I was known for? How will my creativity play out?

Would my migraines go away? How would I take better care of myself?

What would my brain be thinking about in the background of my life if I wasn’t trying to understand other people’s motivations… why they did that thing… why they didn’t… can you believe this… but I thought we had decided… there is a meeting tomorrow… I need to talk to… Remind me…

Respond to email… I’ll get up early to…

At first that mental train filled with ingredients needed for Thanksgiving dinner, herb gardens and soy sauce… sprinkled in there was teenage mental health… an obsession with Scottish accents and how to make bread… use salt… use acid… use heat.

In the spring? It became puppy training, essentials to raising baby dogs, rain-scaping… and now?

When not managing details at home or relaxing with husband or working on book, the engine is less thinking and more entertained by:

<drumroll>

My purpose.

Yes, my purpose.

My who I am when I feel that lighting up a room feeling. My confidence in specific talents I recognize from my childhood self.

The purpose that when lived out comes with a beloved intrinsic quality of freedom in everything I do.

The purpose that paints… creativity that shows up in the kitchen… on my walls…

via Apple Pen and Sharpies…

I get an occasional migraine still from the sun. And I take better care of myself via walking every day. Questions are answered. I have grown.

The tickle of expectation and butterflies of performance reviews, now a speck back behind me when before they towered ahead of me like a mountain range. More like driving east out of Denver, less like driving west.

The past couple of days / weeks, I have resurrected my LinkedIn. I like the freedom I feel to share my perspectives and random posts without my role as somebody’s subordinate, as somebody’s resource, as a company’s representation.

I get the tickle and butterflies but get to completely ignore it, as my own CEO.

I have always tried for this level of authenticity in the past but am just now getting to where the beauty of TRUST and the smile of KNOWING that even if a person you respect calls you up and says “you have to think about how this looks to other people” or “you should keep yourself squeaky clean” or “I just wouldn’t do that knowing that some day I might want to…” that you would still love what you wrote, how you wrote it because it’s YOU.

It’s your intention.

The underlying motivation of purpose that drives your actions and interactions is yours.

Nobody else’s. Just yours…