A Quick Note on Creativity

When it comes to creativity — to being creative — so many people are unsure of where to start. They look at others’ work, and it paralyzes them.

A Quick Note on Creativity | A Daily Rhythm

Comparison is the thief of joy!” You need to stop worrying about whether or not your work will be “gorgeous” or “good enough”, or as “good as” so-and-so’s. Just start!

Only by starting can you find your own style, and gain the confidence to keep going. Art isn’t about doing things “perfectly”. It’s about creating … playing … putting YOUR unique spin on things!

And that is enough.

What Purging My “Stuff” Has Taught Me (Part 1)

As you know, I had been reading Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing“. I finished reading it last Sunday, and started to put it into practice on Tuesday.

The book suggests you follow a specific order in your decluttering: Clothes, then books, then paperwork, etc. And, since I had already purged my clothes, recently (before reading the book), I started with my book collection: All 1500+ books!

Purging My Stuff: Lessons (A Daily Rhythm)

My house is tiny, so a lot of my books have been in my bedroom (7 shelves), and the rest have been in Rubbermaid totes out in my garage. I decided to try and go through every book in my room, first — you’re supposed to pull everything from one category out, and put it in a pile on the floor (you can create sub-categories, but I didn’t). Here’s what my pile looked like:

book-purge

(…and that’s not even ALL of my books!)

My shelves were full, and double-stacked (books behind books). Here are the “before” pictures (and yes, I had a LOT of junk!)…

books1

 

And, after three days of cleaning — both books, and paperwork — I am happy to say I have discarded about 15 boxes of books, and 4 bags of paperwork and junk! Check it out!

book-purge5

This shelf (above) got emptied, and then given to my son.

desk-standing

…which made room for my new “standing” desk! I finally have a work-from-home “office” space! 😀

keeps-sorted

These are some of the books I kept (above).

bedroom1

And, these are the rest of them! 😀

Isn’t that cool? I can already feel the difference in my room… it has been a weight lifted, emotionally. I never knew that it was there, before reading this book. Yet, when I read that I should get rid of everything that doesn’t spark joy, I knew –intuitively– that this was going to be a life-changer for me (the book’s title is definitely fitting!). And sure enough, I most definitely feel better … and I’m not even done! I’ve only just started to declutter!

In the beginning of her book, Marie talks about how this needs to be a mindset shift … if you don’t take on a new mindset, you also aren’t going to have things stick, once you make these changes. So I’ve been praying for a resolve to be ruthless in my decluttering and purging… Books are particularly hard for me to let go of, usually — and yet… this time has been different. I’ve stopped lying to myself, I guess. I used to say that I was keeping them all because I want to someday have my own in-home library room. And that’s still true. However, I know (now) that my tastes will change before I get to that point, so there’s really no point in me holding onto these books. The guilt and emotional “clutter” they have been giving me was getting to be too much. I knew I’d never read most of them anyway — I had too many to ever get to them all in my lifetime. Blasphemous as that sounds, it’s the truth.

I still love books. But now, the difference is that, when I look at my shelves, I no longer feel so much of a burden over all the unread books. Now I can say that I could reasonably read everything that’s left… and, what I see, when I look at them, just brings me joy — truly!

One of the things I really love is that they’re no longer double-stacked — well, mostly. 😉 There aren’t many that are “hiding” behind other books… so I can see them! And, with the shelves not being so full, there’s space… which also adds to the “light” feeling in the room.

Add to that the fact that I got rid of some of the “height” in the room (removing a 5-shelf bookcase, taking down two shelves that were on top of other shelves), and it really is a drastic change! And that is exactly what Marie says you’re going for — a drastic enough change that you have something “click” in your emotions and your brain, which will help you to never revert to your clutter-keeping ways again (here’s hoping!)

So yeah… So far, I’ve learned that I like the simpler style. And, I’ve learned that I need to be more honest with myself about what I can reasonably –what I SHOULD reasonably– have on hand. I’ve also learned that I take a LOT of notes! LOL.

notebooks taking over my small shelf!

notebooks taking over my small shelf!

I went through each notebook, and cut the notes out of the spiral bindings… then put each book’s notes into their own sheet protector, and gathered them all into binders. Now, instead of a huge pile of notebooks (that pretty much took up its own full shelf unit!), I have just 4 binders. And those take up a lot less room. 😉

Will I stop taking notes? Probably not. 😉

Another added benefit of all of this cleaning is that I’ve probably lost a few pounds! LOL. I’ve been soooo tired and sore from all of this work! Yet, it’s a good feeling… I’ve slept more soundly, this week, than I have in a long time.

Here’s to a changed lifestyle!

Considering Simplicity

I am currently reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo*, and it’s an excellent book. It’s about using Marie’s “KonMari Method” to only keep those things that you truly love, and to discard all the rest.

For a while now, I’ve been seriously considering simplicity… changing up several different aspects of my life in order to bring more peace, more order, and more joy to my life. I’m tired of living with the chaos.

Considering Simplicity :: A Daily Rhythm

I’ve read a lot about Minimalism, but feel that maybe that’s too extreme for my liking. However, Marie’s book is striking the right kind of chord with me… it’s just enough that I feel it might work.

In thinking about bringing more simplicity to my life, I’ve even thought about changing my dietary habits to go more Vegetarian. I don’t think I could go full-out veggies only, but I read a book, several years back, called “The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life” by Dawn Jackson Blatner* {my review}, and I like that it still kind of gives me the best of both worlds… I can eat a lot healthier, but still have meat 20% of the time.

But, back to the book I’m reading… I’m surprised to find myself actually considering parting with a lot of my book collection. For years, I’ve been collecting books, adding to my “library”, with the dream of one day having a room in my house that will be my “library”… with built-in shelves that go from floor-to-ceiling, and maybe even be two-stories high! It’s a dream that’s made me happy to think about. And yet, my current state of affairs is far from bringing that dream to reality — my 1000-sq-ft. home just isn’t big enough for my 1500+ book collection, so a lot of my books are in bins out in the garage. And, according to Marie’s book, they are therefore not being “cherished” as the “treasures” I say they are to me.

stockvault-books126841So, my thoughts have wandered to this: What if I let go of a good number of the books in my collection — only keeping those books that I truly have loved, read, and can’t part with, as well as those that are really important to me here & now — and wait for the day when I actually have my “library” to start re-building my collection? In all honesty, this scares me, and yet… I think it’d be freeing — there wouldn’t be so much guilt over all the books in my collection that I haven’t yet had a chance to read. Because I truly do have a ton of guilt about that — knowing that the majority of my collection contains books I haven’t yet read. It’s a weight on my soul, truth-be-told. And again, I’m tired of living with that.

I’m curious if any of you have ever tried to simplify your life. If so, did you succeed in keeping things that way?

Marie’s book promises that, once you do this “marathon tidying”, you will never revert to clutter again. I’m hopeful, to say the least! I’ve always been a pack-rat, so it’d be really awesome if I could learn to undo that habit and keep things simple.

Renewing My Creativity

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an Artist when I grew up. I loved to draw, to color, and to make up stories. My Dad was a sketch Artist for the local police department, and my Mom has always loved to do crafts, doodle, and design, too. So, I come by this creative spark naturally.

However, when I was in grade eleven, I took an independent learning course in graphic design. And, when I handed in the one drawing project, my teacher sent it back with the comment that I “draw like a 2 yr old”. Being insecure enough already, I took that comment to heart, and let it squash all dreams of pursuing a career in the arts.

RenewingMyCreativity-ADailyRhythm

I went on to take office administration in college, and then get married and have kids very shortly after college, and my art stayed mostly in the background. I still liked to doodle, but it wasn’t my focus any more. My kids basically took over my life. 😉

Now that my kids are getting older — both in their teens — I am finding more time for myself, and decided I should start seeking out others who love to be creative. So, when I saw a flyer at the local library, advertising an upcoming Art Journaling class for women, I decided that’d be a good place to start, and I signed up.

At first, I thought it was only going to be the one class — a 2-hour gathering. But, as it turns out, the class is a once-a-month event for the entire year! 😀

And so… my creativity is being renewed!

Through my Art Journaling class, I’ve discovered that I love sitting down to be creative… painting, drawing, doodling, and even Zentangling! I can lose myself for hours in my crafty messes. 😉

Here are some of the things I’ve done, to date…

circles-April2015  Courage-April2015

courage2  Courage-April2015c

mandala  Imagine-May2015a

TheKeytoFreedom

zentangle-spiral  Zentangles2

Each month, in our class, we have a “theme” word. For March, it was “Magical“… for April, “Courage“… and for May, “Imagine“.

I’m really enjoying the class, and I am loving getting to know the artsy ladies in the group, too! I even got invited, by one of those ladies, to go speak to a quilters’ group about creativity! So fun!

I’ll be sharing more of my artwork here, as time goes on. But, I’d love to know…

Do you make time for YOUR creativity? How so? What’s your favorite medium, so far?

We Are All Students

 

Today, author Elizabeth Gilbert shared this on Facebook, and it was so good, I just had to pass it along to all of you! She wrote:

student

Dear Ones –

My friend Pastor Rob Bell once gave me this beautiful piece of advice, which I will now pass along to you.

He said that whenever he starts to beat himself up for not being good enough at life, he simply writes this word on his hand — STUDENT — and reminds himself to look at that word several times a day, and to meditate upon it.

He said that this one word — STUDENT — is his best defense against self-abuse, shame, perfectionism, failure, and regret. Whenever he fails himself, or falls short of his ideals, or doesn’t know how to handle a complicated situation, he just looks at that word — STUDENT — and then gently allows for self-forgiveness. Because we are all just students, after all.

We are all new at this.

We’ve never been here before — in these bodies, in this lifetime, in this world. We don’t always know how to handle things in the best way. We don’t want to suffer, but we don’t always know how to avoid it. We long for closeness and peace in our relationships, but we haven’t necessarily learned yet how to find it. We want meaning, but lose sight of it. We want revelation and transcendence, but don’t always know how to reach for it.

But we are learning.

We are always in the process of learning — and it’s not fair to expect that people who are in the process of learning should automatically always get things right. Nobody always gets things right during the learning process.

That’s OK.

We are merely students, after all, and students — by definition — are not masters. We will be students for as long as we live. We wake up every day and take a deep breath  and back go to school in the world all over again. That’s what dedicated students do. Every. Single. Day.

This morning, I felt like I REALLY needed the reminder.

So I got out a sharpie, and wrote the word across on my palm of my right hand — my stronger hand — which I can then lay across my heart throughout the day, with hopes that the message will sink in: “It’s OK. You’re doing your best. You’re still learning.”

ONWARD,
LG

Isn’t that fabulous? And it ties in nicely with what I just learned from Julia Cameron, while reading “The Artist’s Way“: We all need to give ourselves permission to be beginners.

That’s so important.

So, yeah… I think I’m going to try Rob Bell’s little trick. I think I could use that reminder. 😉

The Illusion of Control (Mar.25)

We like to think we’re in control.

Have you noticed, though, how the world seems to be getting crazier and crazier? People are making up the stupidest rules! And I just feel I need to vent, if you’ll allow me, for a minute.

istockphoto-yelling

One example is the fact that certain areas have taken playground equipment out of school yards. People are afraid that parents will sue the school if their child gets injured, so the “fix” is to remove things that could lead to injury. They’ve also removed all balls (basketballs, baseballs, volleyballs, etc) from the playgrounds, too.

At my kids’ school, the children were not allowed to make and/or throw snowballs because they could contain ice, and someone could get hurt.

Then there’s this article that I found today… Teachers aren’t allowed to have bathroom breaks? Really? The same article also mentions that the teachers aren’t allowed to talk to other staff in the hallways or the schoolyard, and that staff are charged $60/year for tea or coffee, regardless of whether they even drink it!

I could go on and on about various “silly rules” I’ve heard people coming up with in the last couple of years. But, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about and have your own examples.

Needless to say, people are becoming more and more fearful, and are looking to control things that they really don’t have any control over.

I loved –and agreed with– this article, which talks about how we’re no longer just “helicopter” parents, but a “helicopter society”… hovering over others, and trying to control every aspect of their lives. It’s getting ridiculous, if you ask me.

From the above article…

“Raising our kids in a culture of fear is counter-productive to bringing up healthy and happy adults. We are letting our anxiety trump common sense.

What are your thoughts on all of this? Share your thoughts in the comments!

REVIEW: “Paid To Be You” by Adam Rico

Now, here is a book I can really recommend!

I really enjoyed this short, Kindle eBook! Adam outlines how to figure out what you love to do (with action steps included), and how to use that knowledge to get yourself into a career or job you’ll love.

I love that Adam recommended using personality quizzes (especially the MBTI) as a first step. I’ve believed this to be important since I did this myself, intuitively, about four years ago [find your own personality -fr*e- here… takes about 8-9 minutes].

Adam also suggested knowing your core values. This is another thing I often promote as a way to go about finding your “dream job”. 😉

Basically, Adam has written the book I would have written, myself, were I to have beat him to it! LOL.

I highly recommend this book! 😉

*affiliate link in use