Tag Archives: creative living

do nothing

One of the things that I have noticed as I get older is how much I value having simplicity in my life.  I value a quiet existence.

When I was younger and eager, I had grander plans for my career.  I set myself up for a workaholic lifestyle.  I was no stranger to this; my father did the same, and even now, he still continues to do so even though he should maybe be enjoying his retirement years.  I worked hard, worked extra on my own hours assuming that this is what life was supposed to be, and at some point I would be rewarded with all the fruits of my labor.

It took a couple of decades (plus some) to realize that this is not the life I wanted.  I did what I thought I was supposed to do, then at the end of every night I would crash into bed for a couple hours of sleep only to rise again early the next morning and do it all over again.  I was exhausted, fuelled by caffeine and deeply unsatisfied even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

It took a major life event to change all of that for me.  It took a complete upheaval in my personal and even professional life to realize that I was miserable with what I was doing, and looked at how I could change my life to enjoy what I had.  The key was simple.  The key was a simple life.

Your job or your career is only a means to an end.  It does not define you.  It finances your life but it is not who you are.  

Once I looked at it in this way, my personal life began to flourish in ways I never saw before.  I love my personal time now.  I choose what to do with it.  I take classes in what interests me, not what I think will give me more advantages for work.  I create.  I love.  And sometimes, I do nothing.  Doing nothing was a difficult concept to grasp, but now that I have released so many of the career-focused ideals I enforced upon myself, I can now see how wonderful and refreshing doing nothing really can be.  I highly recommend it to anyone.

Enjoy your life.  Relax.  Take time to appreciate things.  Do something for yourself.  You won’t regret it.

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authenticity

Be your authentic self.  Buzz words.  Everyone is saying things like this it seems these days.  But what does it truly mean?

I’m sure we all have our own take on what it means to be authentic.  But without spending time alone with yourself, how do you truly know if you are your own true authentic self, or if you are picking up on pieces of stronger personalities?  How do you know you aren’t just being what you are expected to be?

In this world, being authentic is hard.  There are expectations out there.  Go to University.  Get a high paying job.  Get married, have a family.  Don’t get divorced.  But where in all this does it fit to be truly authentic?

It doesn’t.

I have lived that life.  I was who everyone wanted me to be.  I did the education, I had great aspirations and hopes for a career.  I had the six figures.  I had the marriage and the family.  And all the illusions I had to maintain to keep up that façade.  I was miserable.

I got separated.  Parts of the false me started to fall away.  I opened up about the horrors of my relationship and people were shocked and stunned by what I had kept hidden.  But this is part of my story.  The true me.  I looked at my life and realized I wasn’t happy in that career.  I wasn’t truly interested in doing research or the other things I needed to do in order to be successful in that world.  I dropped it.  And I can tell you, it felt good.  It was a burden lifted off my shoulders that I didn’t realize I was carrying around.

I started exploring who I felt I was.  It was a redefining period of time.  I explored things that made be happy.  I sat.  I meditated.  I did yoga.  I went and spent time with just myself.  I was lost for over two decades, but somewhere in the silence, I found me.

Not everyone likes the me I am today, and I am ok with that.  I have been passed up for opportunities that I am more than qualified for simply because I no longer follow the corporate rules, and that is ok.  I forgive the people and the situation.  I thank the Universe for the experience and go forward knowing that I am exactly where I need to be, because where I am, is where I am accepted for who I truly am.  I am welcomed and encouraged to be my own authentic version of myself.  It has turned out better than anything I have ever expected or imagined.

That feels better than all those goals I had been chasing.  I wouldn’t say that I didn’t enjoy pieces of that time because there are many parts that I loved and would do again.  But knowing now what it is to be fully me, I will not sacrifice my authenticity for any of the chairpersons, department heads or managers that think they have control over my fate.  They don’t control anything.  I am free.

And I am very happily and authentically me.

chasing dreams

We all have desires that we hope to fulfill.  Perhaps it is a particular end goal, like finishing a graduate degree, or maybe it’s one that continues to evolve as time goes on.  Sometimes that dream gets modified as we grow and realize that the particular dream we had no longer suits us.

Over the last few months I have taken steps to work towards realizing my own dreams.  There are many of them actually.  Some of them are lumped together, and others stand alone.

Sometimes it takes courage and a leap of faith to take the next step.  That is something I discovered.  Sometimes it takes an external event that makes you realize you’re wasting time.  Other times it might be that internal fear of failure that stops you from realizing your dreams.  Don’t let it.  Life is too short to keep putting your dreams on the back burner.

You only regret the things you didn’t do.  You’ll live with the what-ifs and never know if you would have been a great success.  Or if you found a way that didn’t work, because if you tried, there is no such thing as failure.

So, dream, yes by all means.  Keep dreaming.  But then take that dream and one step at a time, turn that dream into your reality.  What will you see when you look back after you did?

cultivating creativity

Creativity is a huge part of my world.  I see my world through the lens of a photographer, remember things with a writer’s pen, and dream with a painter’s brush.  My soul breathes creativity, and it warms my heart to know that my children have inherited that gene from me.  While it sometimes breeds frustration when we cannot achieve the product that we have dreamed of in our mind’s eye, the process is still very important.  As I watched my younger one crochet his own creations at the tender age of ten years old, he can see what he wants to create.  He has taken my guidance and moved beyond what I have given him and created more…turned it into his.

What comes with this territory is frustration, upset, sometimes a couple tears, but then it ends in pure joy.  The joy that you don’t get from buying an item, but one of soulful satisfaction for doing it yourself.  It may not be perfect.  It may not be the product envisioned, but it is a unique, one of a kind item that was created with love, determination, creativity, positive reinforcement, and joy.

what’s your story?

Everyone has a story inside of them just waiting to get out.  I truly believe that.  We may not all feel like authors, but we all have a story to tell.  The question is, how will you tell the world your tale?  Will it be a written novel? A short story?  Poetry?  Will it be through dance?  Or do you tell a story with painting or other forms of visual art?  Perhaps your story gets told traditionally, being passed down through generations by word of mouth until someone commits the verbal word to text.

No matter how you choose to tell your story, take the opportunity to do it your way.  Every story is worth hearing.

the concept of happiness

I think we all struggle with being happy from time to time.  The ebbs and flows of the emotional sea don’t stay constant in an euphoric state.  There are a myriad of quotes that attempt to explain why it’s ok.  

Without the rain, there would never be rainbows.

Insert your favourite quote here…

Sometimes I think happiness is a choice.  Sometimes I struggle with the hand I’ve been dealt in life and wonder why I’ve been given what I have, then wallow in self pity because of it.  I think it safe to assume we have all been there.  

So here I am, contemplating this concept of happiness.  As I read more and more about those who have less and less, it really does appear to be a conscious decision on whether or not we choose to be happy.  Interesting concept.  I’ve been reading how we can only have enough energy to make so many decisions in one day, so paring down to necessary items can reduce the number of unnecessary decisions being made in a day which leaves you with the energy to focus on the more important  decisions.  Maybe there’s something to that.  Less trivial decisions mean you can devote time to the meaningful stuff. By not putting off the meaningful stuff means less stress of knowing there is a weight on your shoulders waiting for you to address it…that looming dark cloud of problems needing to be tackled.

Happiness as a choice means you choose to let some things go. Like in meditation, we notice those thoughts entering in, acknowledge them, and mentally sweep them away.  Perhaps unhappiness can be something like that in our consciousness.

What if happiness truly is independent of our possessions?

There are a lot of people who would argue against this statement.  Any business who depends on consumerism. If the concept of happiness independent of material goods caught on, many of these businesspeople would no longer be making their millions of dollars a year. My materialistic ex would never agree with this statement, particularly when he bought four brand-spanking-new vehicles in a span of two years.  But there are many, many people in our first world countries who choose to subscribe to this concept of minimalism and the decision to be happy.  This happiness seems to resonate on a higher frequency. This is something I have experienced. It is incredibly satisfying. Then to find the consumerism re-enter my life, slowly at first, it has made a negative impact on my life.  Decisions to clean and declutter make me depressed. It’s like a punishment that keeps me from doing what I love.  I want to create. I want to write, paint, be creative in my post production for my photography, but it all gets put aside because how do I justify doing things that bring me joy when I have a mess everywhere, no space to work, and have problems finding the things I would need to accomplish my creative product?

So, here.  This is the concept of happiness.  I am choosing to be happy. I am tackling the evils of consumerism and materialistic ways.  I am removing these unnecessary things from my space and allowing happiness to move in.  Happiness is a much better housemate. 

I choose happiness.

ode to my grandfather

My grandfather was a very special person in my life.  Both my grandmother and my grandfather were key people in my early years.  I loved both my grandparents dearly.  My grandfather was quite an individual though.  Things I had not known about him I have been finding out so many years later.  My grandfather passed away ten years ago, and I thought I knew so much about him then.  He was an avid model train enthusiast.  He liked to garden.  He tried out new things, and even in his elder years, bought himself a computer and tried learning how to use it.  He did quite well at keeping up with lifelong learning.  An inspiration for me.

It wasn’t until recently when I went home to visit my parents that my mother told me how much my grandfather also enjoyed photography.  She told me about how he had his own darkroom set up in their tiny post-war house, and how he was always to be found with his camera.  Why hadn’t I known this when I was 15 and spending days in the school darkroom developing roll after roll of film?  I would have had something else to ask my grandfather about when we had those summerlong stays at their house.  Oh how much could I have learned from him then!

Still, knowing these things about him post mortem is so keenly interesting.  To know that somewhere in the genes, there was the key to that hidden door.  The one that opens up to the passions I have in life.

And I like to think my grandfather is watching me.  My spirit guide, watching over me.  I am sure he is smiling.  My grandfather was nicknamed ‘Bear’, I think by my father.  It is one of the ways I fondly remember him.  While out on the Worldwide Photo Walk yesterday, I happened upon this stone bear statue.  I have seen it before, but yesterday it seemed to take on a whole different presence.  It needed to be photographed.  And as I have been thinking of my grandfather so much over these past few weeks, the image spoke to me so very much.

So, The Stone Bear, the image featured this week, is dedicated to one of the absolute most important men in my life.  My grandfather.

make your heart happy

Everyone needs to take time to do what makes their heart sing.  Whatever that may be for you, do it.

My heart sings when I do what is authentic to my being.  Maybe I’m creating something..painting, writing, or photographing.  Maybe I’m roadtripping with the two most special young men in my world.

Whatever it is, don’t wait.

Don’t wait for tomorrow.  Don’t wait for next week.  Don’t wait until the ‘time is right’.  Tomorrow never hits.  Next week always gets pushed back.  The time is never right.  Make the time.  We live this life once, and none of us are getting out alive.  Create happiness. Live love.  Sing and dance in the rain.  Go hunting dinosaurs.  Look for stars and chase rainbows.  Leave a legacy that people can look at your live and know that you’ve lived it well.

Namaste

recognize what’s important

Life pulls us in so many directions.  There are endless avenues we can take, and someone or something pulling or pushing us into so many of them.  So, what is important? Which of these paths are the ones that mean the most to you?  Which ones do you travel down?

Tough call.

One may lead you down a successful career path.  Another may lead to a family centred life.  Yet another may be a life of travel and exotic locations.  Some may have children, others may leave you single and free of ties.

So, how do we know what is most important for us, each as individuals?

I think what we need to do is really listen…pay attention to what makes sense in our lives.  What we want, what we need, and who else we want involved.

No easy task.

Some things are laid out for us before getting to the point of asking these questions.  So we work with what we have.  But happiness should never be the cost.  There are always ways to find another path to that particular avenue that our souls so desperately want to be walking down.

What if you wanted to be an artist, but you were pushed into accounting?  There you are, working at a desk, crunching numbers all day.  Doing this without allowing yourself the freedom to do what you truly love is a slow and painful demise.  Maybe your evenings are spent painting or sculpting.  Maybe you take classes to develop your artistic skills.  Just because your career describes you as an accountant, that does not define who you are.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

I do what I do, professionally.  But personally, I am an artist, a writer, a photographer, an adventurer.

What’s not as important is how clean my floors are, how many dust bunnies live in the corners behind the sofa, how many weeds are growing in my garden, or how big the pile of laundry is.

We live this life but once.  None of us are getting out alive.  So do what makes you happy.  Recognize, and make time for what is most important for you.

growth 

I have spent this past week in an intensive course with strangers from many different backgrounds and disciplines. I have connected with a number of individuals that I likely would not have met if it were not for this course. 

I cannot tell you how incredibly grateful I am for this opportunity. 

I walked in completely unsure as to what to expect. I had an open mind, but still wondered what would they tell me that I didn’t already know. Turns out, there was quite a bit, and it was amazing!  This course carries on for one more week, and I am looking forward to the rest of it. 

Behind the learning, I am looking forward to seeing the others in my cohort. And I am hoping to be able to forge some long term friendships with many of them. 

Keeping an open mind is a start to growing as a person. I am enjoying the journey and I hope it never ends.